Tag Archives: Political action committee

Department Of Justice Joins Growing List Of State And Federal Agencies Investigating Michele Bachmann

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

Addicting Info

Michele Bachmann has found herself the subject of a  US Department of Justice investigation. This is on top of already underway investigations by the House Ethics Committee, the FBI and the Iowa State Elections Committee for actions taken during her 2012 failed Presidential campaign. On September 5th, 2013, the New York Times reported that they had reviewed a DOJ subpoena requesting financial documents and a detailed list of communications from a Republican Super PAC. The Subpoena names not only Bachmann, but her husband Marcus and two additional members of Michele Bachmann’s campaign staff.

According to the New York Times report, the Department Of Justice subpoena appears to be related to complaints made to the Federal Elections Commission and The FBI, by a former Bachmann campaign staff member. Those allegations concern Bachmann’s campaign staff coordinating with the unnamed Super PAC, which, if true, would be a clear violation of federal election laws.

Other allegations against the Bachmann campaign include improper payments made to an Iowa State Senator, in exchange for his support of her campaign. The Iowa State Ethics Committee is currently investigating those claims, which also came from a source within the Bachmann campaign. On May 1st, 2013 Minnesota Public Radio reported that the committee had appointed an independent investigator to look into allegations against Bachmann and Iowa Republican Senator Kent Sorenson. Additionally:

“Bachmann’s former chief of staff and presidential campaign adviser. Andy Parrish earlier provided the ethics committee with an affidavit saying that Sorenson sought and received payment for his work with the Bachmann campaign.”

On September 6th, 2013 the Associated Press reported that the House Ethics Committee was extending it’s own investigation into additional Ethics violations, after a receiving a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics. Then on May 17th, the FBI also joined in the investigation.

According to the Minnesota Post:

The entry of the FBI into the investigation raises the possibility that there were potential criminal violations.  In addition to the alleged theft of the home-school list, the FBI is said to be looking into the campaign’s demand that certain former employees, whose pay was withheld at the end of the campaign, sign non-disclosure agreements before receiving their compensation. 

The number of agencies investigating Bachmann just keeps growing, as do the number of allegations made against her. While not criminal in nature, members of Bachmann’s staff also reported that she had an “unnatural relationship” with Brett O’Donnell, her debate coach. Former campaign staffer Peter Waldron co-authored a new book “Bachmannistan; Behind the Lines” which according to Addicting Info’s T. Steelman, highlights Bachmann’s “Un-Christian behavior, blind ambition and stunning incompetence” on the campaign trail.

 

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Revealed: A progressive super PAC was reportedly behind the secret McConnell taping

Sen. McConnell called the tactics “Nixonian.”

I’ll admit I was way off base on this one.

My early take-away from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s call for an FBI investigation was that it was a smoke and mirrors ploy to take the focus off the content of the tape which emerged on Mother Jones earlier this week.  Apparently, there may have been a serious criminal breach that is still being investigated by the FBI.

The Week

Members of a Democratic super PAC, Progress Kentucky, made the secret recording of a strategy meeting between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his top advisers, according to a local Democratic Party official.

The secret recording — in which McConnell and his staff were caught discussing how to handle a potential campaign against actress Ashley Judd — sparked an enormous backlash from the right, prompting endless comparisons to Watergate and accusations of “Gestapo” tactics from a McConnell campaign manager.

Jefferson County Democratic official Jacob Conway told local news outlets on Thursday that two members of Progress Kentucky had bragged to him about making the tape. According to Conway, the two said they were “just hanging around” McConnell’s new campaign office when they heard the conversation and decided to record it.

From local public radio station WFPL:

“‘They were in the hallway after the, I guess after the celebration and hoopla ended, apparently these people broke for lunch and had a strategy meeting, which is, in every campaign I’ve been affiliated with, makes perfect sense,’ says Conway. ‘One of them held the elevator, the other one did the recording and they left. That was what they told to me from them directly.’” [WFPL]

The station added that other unnamed sources had since corroborated the story.

In a subsequent interview with NBC on Thursday, Conway said he came forward to dissociate the state party from the unaffiliated super PAC. He added that he did not think they had any “sinister motives,” but that they were “inexperienced, and got excited.”

At the same time, Progress Kentucky’s former treasurer, who resigned right when the tape was published, is staying mum about why he left.

“At this time based on advice of both friends and counsel, I will be not be making a public statement available until everything has been reviewed by an attorney at this time,” the treasurer, Douglas L. Davis, told NBC News. “I have resigned my position as treasurer and did not and do not condone any allegations of illegal activity that might have taken place.”

The audio recording reveals McConnell and his staff discussing whether to use Judd’s past history of mental illness against her. Mother Jones published the audio earlier this week, leading McConnell to denounce “Nixonian” tactics and call for an FBI investigation to find out who’d made the recording.

The two Progress Kentucky members linked to the recording are Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, the group’s founders. As of Thursday evening, neither had responded to multiple reporters’ requests for comment. Mother Jones’ David Corn, who first published the tape earlier this week, has so far also declined to comment.

“It’s a confidential source, until the source comes forward, we don’t comment,” he told Politico.

Launched last December, Progress Kentucky has one single mission: Unseat McConnell. Prior to the taping dustup, the group had already caught flak for a tweet attacking the senator’s wife, former labor secretary Elaine Chao, an incident which the McConnell campaign spun into its first ad of the 2014 elections. When news of the tape broke, the senator seemed initially to claim that Progress Kentucky had bugged his office, though he later backtracked, saying he’d only accused “the left in general.”

Some have questioned whether the recording constitutes a federal crime.

Again, from WFPL:

Kentucky law says it is a felony “to overhear, record amplify or transmit any part of a wire or oral communication of others without the consent of at least one party thereto by means of any electric, mechanical or other device.” [WFPL]

According to Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, who spoke with the Washington Post, criminal charges would depend on whether there was “a reasonable expectation of privacy during the taping and whether physical trespassing was involved.” He added that as long as Mother Jones had no hand in making the recording, the liberal news outfit should be safe.

But Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer questioned on Twitter whether Mother Jones could still face legal action for publishing the tape’s contents, pointing to a misdemeanor statute prohibiting the publication of illegally obtained information. The Weekly Standards’ Daniel Halper posed a similar argument, saying that if Mother Jones or Corn knew the tape had been made illegally, “then Corn’s publishing of that illegally obtained information might also be a violation of the law.”

The FBI has launched an investigation into the incident, sweeping McConnell’s office, pulling surveillance video and, now that he’s come forward, contacting Conway for more information.

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Gun Safety Advocates Force NRA Backed Democrat Out Of Congressional Race

Debbie Halvorson, one of the two women mentioned in this article, has implied that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the “Nanny State Mayor”.  I have a feeling this woman will be tougher for Bloomberg’s PAC to get rid of than State Senator Toi Hutchinson.

Mayor Bloomberg’s PAC is going after both Democratic candidates (running to replace Jesse Jackson’s vacant seat in Congress) because they both support the NRA and have an “A” rating with the gun-rights organization.

Think Progress

Illinois State Sen. Toi Hutchinson dropped her bid to fill the Congressional seat of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on Sunday after her moderate views on gun safety made her a target of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political action committee, Independence USA.

Toi Hutchinson

In what will be the first election since the shooting in Newton, Connecticut, the $2 million ad buy criticized Hutchison and another candidate for receiving an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). “In the race for Congress, the big issue? Fighting gun violence. Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson both earned an A from the NRA, they can’t be trusted,” the ad began before endorsing former state Rep. Robin Kelly who supports background checks and banning assault weapons.

Guns have become a central issue in the primary, as Kelly attacked her opponents’ views on gun safety and “pointed out that Hutchinson received a 92 percent rating from the NRA” and does not support a statewide concealed carry ban. She also urged all candidates to “sign on to a five-point pledge to reduce gun violence: banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, closing the gun show loophole, supporting Illinois’ conceal carry ban, and refusing support from ‘organizations that oppose reasonable gun safety legislation.’”

Neither Hutchison nor Halvorson signed on to the document, though the former sought to bolster her credentials on gun safety by releasing a video in which she highlighted her support for “the assault weapons ban and the ban on high capacity magazines favored by Gov. Pat Quinn.”

“I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at time a when we need unity more than ever,” Hutchinson said Sunday in a statement announcing her resignation. “In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence.”

Hutchinson’s announcement also comes after reports detailing “alleged payments to her mother as a campaign consultant.”

A special primary will be held on February 26 and the general election is scheduled for April 9.

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Rachel Maddow: Conservatism Riddled With Scams And Rackets (video)

Rachel Maddow reviews the many ways the conservative movement is rife with scammers who are more interested in making a buck off the fear and paranoia of conservative media audiences than they are in crafting a cogent political arguments.

 

 

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Rachel Maddow Rips Conservative Media For Scamming Donors

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow has no qualms about exposing the underbelly of the Right-Wing Super PAC scamming business and the Right-Wing media’s compliance.  This woman is awesome.  No wonder she’s beating brain dead Hannity in the ratings.

The Huffington Post

Rachel Maddow tore into members of the conservative media on her Monday MSNBC show for what she called “scamming” gullible members of their own party who donate to various Super PACs.

Maddow discussed how watchdog group Media Matters recently looked into conservative pundit Dick Morris’ Super PAC and found that some of his key expenditures included renting his own email list, which is operated by Newsmax Media.

“So your money … goes to Dick Morris, who apparently then pays it to Newsmax to send emails, and then Newsmax maybe just pays it back to Dick Morris to pay for the email addresses to which they just sent all of his emails,” Maddow said. “What these financial reports seems to indiciate is that donations to Dick Morris’ Super PAC substantially end up just going to Dick Morris.” She added that Morris’ Super PAC has been around for a couple of years “so maybe it doesn’t always look like a scam,” but that more and more “scammy-looking” arrangements have been coming to light — as in the case of the well funded Tea Party group Freedom Works.

Dick Armey, the man who helped build the conservative group, recently left and arranged an $8 million golden parachute for himself upon his departure, which raised some eyebrows. Then news broke that Freedom Works president Matt Kibbe allegedly used the group’s staff and funds to write part of his book. “So if you think about it, anyone donating to Freedom Works was effectively paying for the staff time and the resources to produce a project that just personally profited one of the people who works there,” Maddow said. “A scam.”

Maddow likened the situation to what she called Newt Gingrich’s “direct mail scam,” where he would give businesses fake awards, which gave them the opportunity to donate $5,000 to meet him. “Congratulations to you!” Maddow quipped. “Where is your check to me?”

She also compared the situation to what she called the “scammy campaign” where Mike Huckabee asked supporters to donate $2,500 to “help fund the battle” against Obamacare, which also went towards helping to keep Huckabee on TV to repeal Obamacare.

“Will having Mike Huckabee on TV repeal Obamacare? I’m checking with the constitution, but I don’t think so,” Maddow said. She later added, “If you are a person who has long been fascinated by how similar the conservative ‘be afraid’ direct mail that asks for money looks to the kind of direct mail that tries to scam your grandmother out of her savings … it is amazing to see, if you have been watching this over time … is how persistent this is.”

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Filed under GOP PAC Scams, Right Wing Internet Scams, Right-wing disinformation campaign

DEATH OF A SALESMAN

The Huffington Post

Karl Rove, American Crossroads Desperately Try To Explain How They Blew $300 Million On A Losing Campaign

No one lost as much on election night as Karl Rove.

Although he wasn’t running for office, his Crossroads organizations spent more than$300 million on Republican candidates in the 2012 election, with some of the biggest spenders in the conservative movement putting their hopes — and dollars — in the care of Rove. Combined, his groups were the largest single outside force of the 2012 election.

The results were bleak. According to the Sunlight Foundation, American Crossroads, Rove’s super PAC, saw just a 1 percent return on its investments. Crossroads GPS, the political nonprofit arm, saw a 14 percent return.

Rove remained in denial about GOP misfortunes on election night. Even after the networks had called Ohio for President Barack Obama, Rove continued to insist onFox News that Republicans could win the state.

Rove was back on Fox News Wednesday morning after his election night meltdown. He didn’t address his reaction to the Ohio call or Crossroads’ failures but instead argued that Republicans need to do a better job in reaching out to the Latino community.

“Obama kept the coalition that he had in 2008, only it was a little bit smaller,” he said. “This will be the first president reelected sent to second term with a smaller percentage of the vote than he got the first term. In fact, there are only two states — two states in the union — where he got a higher percentage of the vote this time around than he got the first time. One is Mississippi, by one quarter of 1 percent, and Hawaii by less than one fifth of 1 percent. Otherwise, he basically held together that coalition, which means if we’re going to win in the future, Republicans need to do better among Latinos and they need to do better among women — particularly single women.”

Continue reading here…

 

 

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This is how elections are bought…Putting the Mega in Mega-Donor

I’m a day late on this one, but it’s seriously worth posting, anyway.

The Progress Report

August 27, 2012

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is by far the GOP’s biggest donor. He has already plowed more than $35 MILLION into the presidential race and says he’ll spend a “limitless” amount to defeat President Obama, perhaps more than $100 MILLION.

Adelson also has his eye on the House of Representatives. He is almost single-handedly bankrolling a Super PAC associated with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), having given the group $5 MILLION. And just last week, Adelson is reported to have contributed $500,000 to a Super PAC backing a single House candidate. That’s right, half a million dollars to influence a single House race.

While these numbers are huge — and pose a huge threat to our democracy — they are actually small potatoes for right-wing billionaires like Adelson.

This handy infographic puts it all into perspective.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

The GOP’s new women’s outreach strategy: free hair and make-up touch ups.

Pennsylvania GOP senate candidate: getting pregnant from rape is “similar” to having a baby out of wedlock.

Texas GOP senate candidate: Hurricane Isaac is a “blessing” that we should be “thankful” for.

Better know an anti-LGBT senate candidate: Scott Brown (R-MA).

Mitt Romney kicked the overt race-baiting of his campaign up a few notches.

Chris Matthews goes after the RNC Chairman for the GOP’s race-baiting on the campaign trail.

Men defining rape, a history.

GOP platform chair: rape is just a “detail” in the abortion debate.

Republicans held disaster relief funding hostage several times last year.

 

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A Guide To Consumer Brands Helping Bankroll Right-Wing Attack Ads

 

Below, are the companies sponsoring the Right-Wing vitriol in the 2012 election season…

Think Progress

Have you eaten at White Castle recently? Or caught a movie at Regal Cinemas?

If so, you may be unwittingly helping finance right-wing attack ads.

That’s because many of the country’s most common brands are run by rich conservatives who are using their personal wealth to bankroll outside spending groups that are running attack ads smearing progressives. From Marriott Hotels to Brawny paper towels, and from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Coachella music festival, corporate executives at these organizations have given millions of dollars to groups like Mitt Romney’s Super PAC Restore Our Future.

Some corporations, like Waffle House, give direct donations to conservative attack ad groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.

The following list of consumer brands either have leaders who wrote checks to outside right-wing attack ad groups or gave money directly from the corporation. Only entities that gave $25,000 or more were included in this guide.

CONTINUE HERE…

 

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THE $71 MILLION PLAN: Kochs, Rove & Casino Billionaire Team Up To Beat Dems

If these guys are looking for a repeat of the cash infused Wisconsin recall election, they need to know they have a much tougher opponent to deal with this time.  True Democracy cannot be purchased…and true Americans would not attempt to do so.

The Huffington Post

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose net worth makes him one of the world’s richest men, is on a check-writing spree that will soon bring his total political contributions in this election cycle to at least $71 million, according to sources familiar with his spending. That money is spread across the spectrum of GOP super PACs, which are required to disclose donors, and nonprofits, which are not.

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, along with other family donations, have already reached $36 million, including $10 million to the Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future that was reported this week. But two GOP fundraisers familiar with his plans say that Adelson has given or pledged at least $35 million more to three conservative nonprofit groups: the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS, another with ties to billionaires Charles and David Koch and a third with links to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Adelson, 78, is a staunch supporter of the Israeli right and a strong foe of American unions. In recent years, Adelson has been a major financier of GOP-allied groups, but has emerged this year as the consummate super donor in the wake of 2010 court rulings that permitted corporations, unions and individuals to supply unlimited amounts of money, sometimes anonymously, to independent groups that can advocate directly for candidates.

Adelson has told friends that he might give as much as $100 million in donations this year in support of GOP candidates and conservative issues. That target now seems easily within reach and could be surpassed, say the two GOP fundraisers with ties to the casino magnate.

Continue reading here…

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Monday Blog Roundup – 6-4-2012

The Week In 100 Seconds

60 Years And Counting

What’s Wrong with Obama?

News Roundup from June 3, 2012

Super PAC donations dominated by men

McDonnell’s accidental candor credits Obama

Obama win could cost Romney $5M in personal taxes

Democratic faithful see waning support for Obama

President Obama raising money in NYC with Bill Clinton 

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Keynes was right; On, Wisconsin

 

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