As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

CT-SEN: Old School Vote-Buying

Democrats are poised to take the Senate but will need a lot of breaks and a lot of elbow grease to get the 6 seats required. But if they do so, and end up with a 51-49 majority, they'd have to make sure Joe Lieberman caucuses with them if he wins his Lieberman for Lieberman independent bid for re-election. This is not a guy I want to count on. This is not a guy who I want controlling which party has command of the Senate. This is a guy who buys votes on the street corner like he's Boss Tweed at Tammany Hall:

A review of the use of consultant services by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman’ campaign, which in turn dispensed large amounts of petty cash, etty cash, raises questions about the practice.

Lieberman’s Democratic opponent, Ned Lamont, has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the $387,000 in petty cash the senator spent in the waning days before the August Democratic primary.

Political committees may make expenditures of not more than $100 to any person or for a transaction out of the petty cash fund and are required to keep a written journal documenting the payments.

But interviews with some of the people who were brought in to help get out the vote for the campaign in the two weeks before the hotly contested Aug. 8 primary described situations that appear to be at odds with some campaign finance requirements [...]

The report lists (Thomas) Reyes as getting two checks for $8,250, one on Aug. 4 and one on Aug. 15. Brooks received $12,200 on Aug. 11 and another check for the same amount on Aug. 15, according to the Lieberman report. Both men said this was inaccurate.

Several young men, who were paid $60 a day out of petty cash to canvass in Bridgeport, said they were paid in cash for aggregate earnings over $200.

Rob Dhanda, 18, or Stratford, said he earned $480 in cash over several weeks, while Walter Ruilova, 18, also of Stratford, said his total was an estimated $360 in cash. Ruilova estimated there were about 30 teenagers working out of the Bridgeport office, each earning $60 a day in cash, over a few weeks [...]

The size of the petty cash involved raised eyebrows with the nonpartisan Public Campaign Action Fund, which asked the campaign to go beyond the legal requirements and disclose the particulars of the expenditures.

"No other senatorial campaign that we know of has ever left undisclosed to the public a sum as large as this," said the fund’s board Chairman Pete MacDowell, in a letter to the senator this week.

He said the issue could impact future elections if the campaign found a new loophole and is setting a precedent "of opening up a serious breach in the campaign finance disclosure laws."

The guy's an old-school pol who engages in old-school dirty tricks to try and win an election, like putting $387,000 on the street. Meanwhile we have Jimmy Damn Stewart:

Controlling the Senate will not happen without Ned Lamont being victorious in Connecticut. Bank on it. Not only would Ned make a reliable public servant, he would take a step toward ending the corrupt old-boy's network in Washington, where people look the other way at thievery.