Saturday, June 17, 2006

Now you see it. Now you don't.

Hyprocrisy among the current crop of GOP candidates on the subject of campaign fundraising is nothing new. Bob Corker attacking Harold Ford Jr. for accepting contributions from people outside Tennessee while Corker himself hustles for $$ on Washington's K Street to fund his race here is yesterday's news.
But this week another verse to the GOP hypocrisy chorus was revealed by Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Bob Tuke. Seems yet another outside GOP political fund is doing business on behalf of the GOP here, playing an even higher stakes game of hide and go seek.
You can go to go4truth.com to read all the necessary supporting documentation, but here's the story in a nutshell.
Two political entities have been set up called the Tennessee Leader Victory Fund and the Tennessee U.S. Senate Victory Fund. The Tennessee Leader Victory Fund is a joint venture with Saint Frist's Volunteer PAC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and a fund called the Tennessee Republican Senate Nominee General Election Committee. The objective of all these entities is to sell influence, access and a piece of the political action to conservative-minded donors, regardless of where they hail from.
The game is played this way:
Donor X from outside Tennessee contributes to the various entites. The entities transfer the $$ to the NRSC, which in turn targets the $$ to be spent in support of the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate race here in Tennessee.
(It is worth noting from a previous post that the NRSC has undergone a recent personnel shakeup due to the fact that its previous political director has been convicted of ties to an illegal phone jamming scam involving former TN GOP chair Tommy Hopper. Can you say tangled web?)
To date over $400,000 has already been transferred from one of these two "Tennessee" entities to the NRSC and you can bet it every penny will be spent here in Tennessee supporting the GOP U.S. Senate nominee.
Why would the GOP playing this game? Simple. Making it hard to follow the $$ gives donors protection from watchful eyes.
Is it really legal? Apparently. After all the treasurer of the "Tennessee" Leader Victory Fund is Thomas Maxwell III, an east coaster identified in a NYT story in 2003 as the "compliance officer" for the NRSC. Maxwell is also the tied to the Tennessee U.S. Senate Victory Fund.
Is it transparent to most voters? Anything but.
Will the shell game really play out here in Tennessee between now and November? Count on it.
The real question though (that remains unanswered) is whether or not Tennessee media covering the races here will call the GOP's bluff when they accuse Tennessee Democratic candidates of raising and spending $$ from people outside our state.

3 Comments:

Blogger Milton said...

Isn't this the same Bill Frist that has been fined twice now by the Federal Election Commission for not reporting millions of dollars in campaign contributions and loans?

Why, yes, I do believe it is.

And isn't this the same Tennessee Republican Party that has Marsha Blackburn as a member? And didn't Marsha also get fined by the FEC for campaign finance irregularities? And didn't I read something about Marsha funnelling over $100,000 in campaign contributions to her son-in-law.

Why, yes, I do believe that is all correct.

Do I sense a pattern here?

6:36 AM  
Blogger Wintermute said...

Good piece.

11:38 AM  
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1:22 PM  

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