Quote of the Day

“The Federal Election Commission is failing to enforce the nation’s campaign finance laws.  I’m in a position to know.  I’m the vice chairwoman of the commission.

“The problem stems from three members who vote against pursuing investions into potentially significant fundraising and spending violations.  In effect, cases are being swept under the rug by the very agency charged with investigating them.”

Ann M. Ravel, “How Not to Enforce Campaign Laws,” NYT

If Sacco Had Threatened Grimm

We’ve all seen Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) threaten to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto “off this f***ing balcony” for daring to ask a question about Grimm’s campaign finance investigation.  We also saw how high up they were at the U. S. Capitol, and what a looooong way down it was.  Grimm also said Scotto was “not man enough” and “I’ll break you in half.  Like a boy.”

If the situation were reversed, and Scotto had threatened Grimm in the exact same way, Scotto could be facing a federal criminal offense.

In December 2012, Grimm directed a “bizarre and scary” rant against two other NY1 employees, Bob Hardt and Errol Louis, for asking him about the same issue, and said they should “take it outside.”

Grimm clearly has a very poor relationship with the First Amendment.  Reporters should be able to ask legitimate questions without being physically threatened, and Grimm should resign.

Politico reports that Grimm is getting media advice from Anthony Weiner.  Hell, Michael, why don’t you call A-Rod while you’re at it?

Quote of the Day — And Maybe the Month

“Between you and me, I’m sort of holding my nose for two years cause what we’re doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in ’16.”

Jesse Benton, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager (probably not for long) for his 2014 re-election, in a recorded telephone conversation with Republican activist Dennis Fusaro.

Fusaro leaked the conversation to the Economic Policy Journal as part of the scandal about Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign paying Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson to jump ship from Michele Bachmann to Paul.  Under Iowa law, Sorenson couldn’t be paid by a presidential campaign, but he was. We’re talking a couple of hundred thousand dollars here.

Jesse Benton, who married into the Paul family, was Ron Paul’s national campaign chairman in 2012 and Rand Paul’s campaign manager in 2010.

McConnell needs Rand Paul’s support in his fight against Tea Party primary challengers, and then of course McConnell would be heavily in Rand Paul’s debt come 2016.

This is getting nasty, and it isn’t just about Kentucky, it has national implications for the next presidential election.

They Can’t Just Take the Gift

You’d think the Tea Party folks would just take the gift-wrapped IRS bias scandal and exploit it for all it’s worth, which is a lot actually.

But noooooooo, because they’re crazy, they have to over-reach.

Michele Bachmann is running around saying that because the IRS is involved in Obamacare (they will administer the monetary penalties for those who choose not to buy health insurance), the IRS is going to delay or deny health care itself to conservatives.  So they’re not just giving your group a hard time about getting a tax exemption, they’re going to kill you!

And so the tide turns back against them because they can’t resist one-upping the IRS on being outrageous.

Feeding the Paranoia

So you have a bunch of people yelling and screaming that the government can’t be trusted and is coming after us.

What does the government do?  It feeds and justifies that narrative by the IRS specifically targeting these groups and subjecting them to extra scrutiny.

The IRS has admitted and “apologized” for the fact that tax-exempt groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names were singled out for heightened review during the 2012 election cycle, including unlawfully demanding names of individual donors, that left-leaning groups didn’t receive.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This Brightened My Day

From “Former chief of staff to break silence on Michele Bachmann,” Kevin Diaz, Minneapolis Star Tribune:

“GOP operative Andy Parrish, a former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, is expected to tell an Iowa Senate ­ethics panel that her 2012 presidential campaign made improper payments to its state chairman.

“…Parrish referred questions Wednesday to his attorney, John Gil­more, who said his client will corroborate allegations from another former Bachmann aide, Peter Waldron.

“Waldron, a Florida pastor, claims that the campaign hid payments to Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson, in violation of Iowa Senate ethics rules that bar members from receiving pay from presidential campaigns. …

“Waldron’s accusations are also the subject of inquiries by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The investigations are part of a growing web of legal problems facing Bachmann, including a lawsuit by former staffer Barbara Heki alleging that Sorenson stole a proprietary e-mail list of Iowa home-school families from her personal computer. Those allegations also are the subject of an ongoing police investigation in Urbandale, Iowa.

“Gilmore said Parrish can provide the ethics panel documentary evidence that Sorenson was paid $7,500 a month to work on Bachmann’s campaign, money that was funneled to him indirectly through C&M Strategies, a Colorado-based company controlled by Bachmann fundraiser Guy Short.

“Among the sources of the funding, Waldron contends, was Bachmann’s independent political organization, Michele­PAC, also headed by Short.”

It would be fantastic to see Bachmann go to the Big House, but I’ll be thrilled just to get her out of the people’s House.

The PAC Scam

When I went to Drudge this morning, the paid ad at the top urged me to contribute to Sarah Palin’s PAC to help 2014 GOP candidates.

If you check out SarahPAC’s latest FEC filing, you’ll learn that while she raked in $5.1 million in the last election cycle, she gave only $298,500 to candidates she supposedly supported.

My first response to reading this was wondering why she wears such cheap and tacky wigs.  With millions flowing in, she can obviously get the quality human hair ones.

Look, if you want to support a candidate whom Palin supports in 2014, donate to that candidate directly (and then please get yourself some help…).  Otherwise, you’re just giving money to prop up Palin’s increasingly pathetic attempts at celebrity and relevance.

We worry about these PACs having outsize influence on elections.  Really many of them are just slush funds, just another clever scam.  They threaten our wallets much more than our democracy.

Is the Bachmann Joke Nearing Its Punch Line?

“The Daily Beast has learned that federal investigators are now interviewing former Bachmann campaign staffers nationwide about alleged intentional campaign-finance violations [from her 2012 presidential run].  The investigators are working on behalf of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which probes reported improprieties by House members and their staffs and then can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee.”

John Avlon, “Exclusive:  Congressional Ethics Probe Adds to Michele Bachmann’s Political Woes,” The Daily Beast

Rove Cries Over Mitt’s Loss — All the Way to the Bank

From Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for Bush 43*:

“When I worked with Rove briefly at the White House, I found him to be a smart, energetic, capable man.  Maybe more than I even realized.  In the past two election cycles, he and his acolytes have personally helped Barack Obama get elected and yet made millions in the process.  You tell me who the dummy is — Rove or the people who keep listening to him and funding him.”

* “Republicans Allowed Karl Rove to Mislead Them Again,” The Daily Beast