Archive for the ‘Campaign Contributions’ Category

If you haven’t seen this video yet, you should take the time to watch, because what’s going on now in Wisconsin and may play out in other states as well is not about state deficits or budget cuts. It’s about union-busting and the power that goes with it. Breaking the unions is a stepping stone to that “permanent Republican majority” that the GOP have been working towards for years. It’s also about the money that the Citizens United ruling allowed to flow directly to the Republicans, and the corporations that are throwing it at them. And they’re not going to stop. It’s about plutocracy.

Just look at what Republicans are doing now. Redefining rape, de-funding health care, draconian laws against women, abortion, pushing for laws that make the killing of abortion doctors “justifiable homicide,” guns in schools, churches and bars, deregulating everything like big polluters, oil companies, repealing laws from the FDA, EPA, FAA, and these are just a few. Do you really want Republicans who are puppets to corporate rule to have a permanent majority? Look what happened in Arizona. They’re willing to do just about anything to get there, and trashing the country is of no concern to them. Just like John Boehner shrugged off job losses, they’re willing to trash the very Democracy they claim to love so much:

“So be it.”

They. Don’t. Care.

Watch this video below from Rachel Maddow and pass it along.

You can also read this piece for more background on what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is really doing from Ezra Klein. Pass it along too.


Read Full Post »

Yesterday the U.S. House voted to abolish public financing for presidential campaigns.

Democrat Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) proposed an amendment to the bill saying “it would have safeguarded our security funds for local law enforcement.” She was referring to the security budget for the upcoming 2012 Republican convention in her city, Tampa, Florida. She went on to say:

“I’m waving some red flags here with the help of my hometown to say this is expensive and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to have it covered,” she told the Buzz. “We’re not going to have the local taxpayers foot that bill.”

Well, her amendment was quickly killed, the voting commenced, and abolished public financing.

Voting in favor of the bill was Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL). Well, later in the day, the following details came out concerning Rep. Bilirakis:

A spokesman for Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, notes that the lawmaker has been working with the governor’s office to get the convention designated as a National Special Security Event and obtain federal funding that way.

“Rep. Bilirakis is acutely aware of the security needs of the upcoming political conventions, especially in the aftermath of the Rep. (Gabrielle) Giffords shooting,” Creighton Welch said.

So Rep. Bilirakis gets to vote “against the cake” but eat it too.

Sounds like a big old slice of hypocrisy to me. But then Rep. Bilirakis is an old pro in that department. Just check his Twitter feed sometime for starters.

Read Full Post »

So far this Governor-Elect Rick Scott’s Inauguration donors list:

Date Company Amount
11/18/10 Thomas Doughty $250.00
11/18/10 Margarita Nelson $50.00
11/19/10 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida $25,000.00
11/19/10 Michael Preston $100.00
11/21/10 Charlie Wingo $500.00
11/22/10 United States Sugar Corporation $25,000.00
11/22/10 FCCI Services, Inc. $10,000.00
11/22/10 Richard Beard $5,000.00
11/23/10 Diageo North America, Inc. (DIAGEO) $15,000.00
11/23/10 Health Management Associates (H.M.A.) $25,000.00
11/23/10 Brewton Plante, P.A. $25,000.00
11/23/10 Florida CUPAC $25,000.00
11/23/10 Thomas Petway, III $25,000.00
11/23/10 Preferred Care Partners $25,000.00
11/24/10 Francis Rooney $25,000.00
11/24/10 Liberty Partners $25,000.00
11/24/10 Duty Free Air and Ship $25,000.00
11/24/10 Wanek Trust of 2000 $25,000.00
11/24/10 Ned Lautenbach $25,000.00
11/24/10 Morgan & Morgan $25,000.00
11/24/10 United Automobile Insurance Co. $25,000.00
11/24/10 Henry & Suzanne Rodriguez $25,000.00
11/24/10 Dr. Gary Kompothecras $25,000.00
11/25/10 FL Optometrists Association* $25,000.00
11/25/10 Richard Ullman $25,000.00
11/25/10 Benny & Juliette Klepach $25,000.00
11/25/10 Wayne Rosen $20,000.00
11/25/10 Teisha Powell $100.00
11/29/10 Consensus Communication, Inc. $5,000.00
11/29/10 Marchena and Graham, PA $5,000.00
11/29/10 Robert Saltsman REV Trust $5,000.00
11/29/10 Broad and Cassel Attorneys At Law $5,000.00
11/29/10 Fowler White Boggs, PA $10,000.00
11/29/10 Thomas & Peggy Chandler $5,000.00
11/29/10 BHS (Palm Beach Credit Adjustor, Inc..) $10,000.00
11/29/10 Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. $25,000.00
11/29/10 Alfred & Beverly Austin $5,000.00
11/29/10 Advanced Innovative Medicine $10,000.00
11/29/10 Council for Senior Floridians $20,000.00
11/29/10 Sun Healthcare $5,000.00
11/29/10 Gary & Renee Morse $25,000.00
11/29/10 The Villages $25,000.00
11/29/10 Richard Corbett $25,000.00
11/29/10 Intervest Construction, Inc. $25,000.00
11/29/10 Palm Beach Kennel Club $5,000.00
11/29/10 Agro-Industrial Management $25,000.00
11/29/10 Florida Crystals Corporation $25,000.00
11/29/10 Florida Pioneer Investments $25,000.00
11/29/10 Sun Corn, Inc. $25,000.00
11/29/10 Evelyn Treworgy $5,000.00
11/29/10 Fuentes Consulting Group $5,000.00
11/29/10 James Heistand $12,500.00
11/29/10 James Heavener $25,000.00
11/29/10 Dr. Peter Wish $10,000.00
11/30/10 TECO Energy, Inc. $25,000.00
11/30/10 Terrence Flynn $10,000.00
11/30/10 Universal City Development Partners, LTD $25,000.00
12/1/10 Wayne Huizenga $25,000.00
12/1/10 Principal Investment Company $25,000.00
12/1/10 Robert & Karen Scott $10,000.00
12/1/10 Green Solar Transportation, LLC. $25,000.00
12/1/10 Stephen Liner $500.00
12/2/10 Peace River Citrus Products, Inc. $10,000.00
12/2/10 Eola Capital LLC $12,500.00
12/3/10 GTECH $25,000.00
12/3/10 Aetna $10,000.00
12/3/10 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $25,000.00
12/3/10 ABC Liquors, Inc. $5,000.00
12/3/10 Agua Dulce Investments, LLC $5,000.00
12/3/10 Huizenga Holdings, Inc. $25,000.00
12/5/10 Michael Campbell $250.00
12/6/10 Robert & Laurel Grammig $5,000.00
12/6/10 IMPACT $25,000.00
12/6/10 Stephen Mitchell $5,000.00
12/6/10 Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC $10,000.00
12/6/10 Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC $15,000.00
12/6/10 Florida Phosphate CCE $25,000.00
12/7/10 Holland & Knight $25,000.00
12/7/10 FL Concrete & Product Association $25,000.00
12/7/10 James Seneff $25,000.00
12/7/10 JAKS Trust, LLC $5,000.00
12/7/10 Millennium Laboratories, Inc. $5,000.00
12/8/10 Progress Energy $25,000.00
12/8/10 Prepared Holdings, LLC $2,500.00
12/8/10 Employers EIG Services $1,000.00
12/8/10 PCI Gaming Authority $25,000.00
12/8/10 GMRI, Inc. $10,000.00
12/8/10 Global Tel Link (GTL) $15,000.00
12/8/10 Pitney Bowes, Inc. $25,000.00
12/8/10 Tripp Scott $25,000.00
12/9/10 Florida RV Trade Association (FRVPC) $10,000.00
12/9/10 Gulfstream Park Racing Association, Inc. $10,000.00
12/9/10 Alaska Hotel Properties, LLC $20,000.00
12/9/10 Holland America Line Paymaster Corporation $20,000.00
12/9/10 Harrison Rivard Chartered $25,000.00
12/9/10 Grant Medical Transportation, Inc. $5,000.00
12/9/10 Albert & Pauline Jorge $5,000.00
12/9/10 Don Phillips $15,000.00
12/9/10 Mabry Carlton Ranch, Inc. $10,000.00
12/9/10 Neal Communities Land Development, LLC $25,000.00
12/9/10 CSMB Condominium, LLC $25,000.00
12/9/10 Arthur & Sari Agatston $5,000.00
12/9/10 Donald DeFosset $5,000.00
12/9/10 JM Family Enterprises, Inc. $15,000.00
12/9/10 Carlton Fields $15,000.00
12/9/10 Ronald Ciaravella $5,000.00
12/9/10 Harold Libby $5,000.00
12/9/10 Benderson Management Services, LLC $5,000.00
12/9/10 Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, Inc. $25,000.00
12/9/10 Robert & Karen Stork $25,000.00
12/9/10 Thomas J. Kukk Trust $5,000.00
12/9/10 Dr. Marc Inglese $100.00
12/10/10 John Browning Jr. $25,000.00
12/10/10 Lee & Deborah Arnold $10,000.00
12/10/10 Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts $2,000.00
12/10/10 Delaware North Companies, Inc. $2,000.00
12/10/10 Finger Lakes Racing Assn. $2,000.00
12/10/10 DNC Travel Hospitality Services, Inc. $2,000.00
12/10/10 Delaware North Companies Sport Service, Inc. $2,000.00
12/10/10 Heffley & Associates $10,000.00
12/10/10 Hutson Companies, L.L.C. $12,500.00
12/10/10 FMA Services, Inc. $25,000.00
12/10/10 A. Duda & Sons, Inc. $10,000.00
12/10/10 The Geo Group, Inc. $25,000.00
12/10/10 Vertical Integration, Inc. $5,000.00
12/10/10 Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc. $5,000.00
12/10/10 Blake Casper $10,000.00
12/10/10 AT&T Services, Inc. $25,000.00
12/10/10 WRH Realty Services, Inc. $6,000.00
12/10/10 Radiology Imaging Associates, PA $10,000.00
12/10/10 Vestcor Properties $6,500.00
12/12/10 Rod Jurado $100.00
12/13/10 Sprint Nextel, Inc* $25,000.00
12/13/10 William Edwards Revocable Trust $7,500.00
12/13/10 Procacci Development Corporation $5,000.00
12/13/10 Focus Holdings, LLC $1,000.00
12/13/10 Guarantee Insurance Company $10,000.00
12/13/10 Florida Peninsula Insurance Co. $500.00
12/13/10 Windhaven Insurance Company $2,000.00
12/13/10 Hoe Brown $5,000.00
12/13/10 21st Century Oncology, LLC $25,000.00
12/14/10 Ann Gordon $100.00
12/13/10 AstraZeneca $10,000.00
12/13/10 Florida Dental Hygienists $1,000.00
12/13/10 Southern Oak Management $2,500.00
12/14/10 Risk Management Associates, Inc. $25,000.00
12/14/10 Hartman & Tyner, Inc. $25,000.00
12/14/10 Florida Emergency Physicians, Inc. $10,000.00
12/15/10 Frederick Simms $100.00
12/15/10 William Bindley $10,000.00
12/15/10 Mears Destination Services, Inc. $5,000.00
12/15/10 Florida Justice Reform Institute $25,000.00
12/15/10 Fort Knox Center $10,000.00
12/15/10 Vitaver & Associates, Inc. $5,000.00
12/15/10 Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. $25,000.00
12/15/10 Thomas Everist, Jr. $5,000.00
12/15/10 Mike & Nancy Ford $1,000.00
12/16/10 Constance Hofkin $50.00
12/16/10 Larry Tycer $250.00
12/16/10 Jason & Lois ValaVanis $100.00
12/16/10 AvMed, Inc. $10,000.00
12/16/10 Medco Health Solutions, Inc. $5,500.00
12/16/10 Allied Veterans Management Group, Inc.* $25,000.00
12/16/10 Gunster Yoakley & Stewart P.A. $5,000.00
12/16/10 Castillo Grand, LLC $5,000.00
12/16/10 DSM.Net, Inc. $5,000.00
12/16/10 Management & Training Corporation $5,000.00
12/16/10 PB Americas, Inc. $10,000.00
12/17/10 Miles & Parker Collier $25,000.00
12/17/10 Florida Jobs PAC, CCE $25,000.00
12/17/10 Settlement Funding, LLC $25,000.00
12/17/10 Beer Distributor’s Committee for Good Government $5,000.00
12/17/10 Leslie Pantin $500.00
12/18/10 Michael Palecki $250.00
12/20/10 John Blow $100.00
12/20/10 John Kelly $10,000.00
12/20/10 Keiser University $10,000.00
12/20/10 Realtors Political Action Committee Florida $25,000.00
12/20/10 Office Depot $25,000.00
12/20/10 Seminole Tribe of Florida $25,000.00
12/20/10 Centene Management Company, LLC $10,000.00
12/20/10 Gary R. Chartrand TTEE, Gary Chartrand Trust $10,000.00
12/20/10 Matrix Insurance Consulting, LLC $1,500.00
12/20/10 Rein Luning $500.00
12/20/10 The Goldwater Taplin Group, Inc. $3,000.00
12/20/10 GL Homes $10,000.00
12/20/10 Florida Family Insurance $5,000.00
12/20/10 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. $10,000.00
12/20/10 Wellcare of Florida, Inc. $10,000.00
12/20/10 Walpole, Inc. $5,000.00
12/20/10 Hamilton Risk Management $1,000.00
12/20/10 Vernis & Bowling of Miami, P.A. $1,500.00
12/20/10 American Traditions Insurance Co. $5,000.00
12/20/10 Pfizer Inc. $10,000.00
*In-kind contribution.


Foley & Lardner, LLP



Altria Client Services, Inc.



Florida Realtors



Expedia, Inc.



Dosal Tobacco Corporation



Joseph Dougher






Ellis, Ged & Bodden, P.A.



Moss Feaster Funeral Home and Crema



CCA of Tennessee, LLC



Preferred Medical Plan



Associated Industries of FL Service Corp.



Associated Industries of FL Service Corp.



Florida Bankers Association



Florida MEP



Bright House Networks LLC



The St. Joe Company



MCNA Dental Plans






South Florida Racing Association, LLC



Svetlana Korotkevich



Akerman Senterfitt



Las Vegas Sands Corp



Florida Cable Telecommunications Association, Inc.



Rosemary Keegan



Tampa Bay Downs



Maloof Enterprises, LLC


Read Full Post »


From the party that claims to be fiscally conservative when it comes to cutting things like Social Security and unemployment benefits, but who think nothing of adding a big ole’ black hole to the deficit to preserve tax cuts for the rich as well as tax breaks for corporations so they can outsource more jobs, there are some new numbers for you to take a peek at.

In Florida, for some unknown reason, a majority of voters chose to elect Rick Scott as the new Governor in spite of his history. Yes, they elected a guy who says he wants to run Florida like a business. Never mind that one business he owned and ran holds a record for the largest fines in Medicare fraud. Even overlooking that, this is a guy who wants to cut everything from state employees pay to Medicaid, and seems to think that stimulus money for things like high-speed rail should be turned down in spite of the jobs those projects would create in Florida.

On the other hand, he recently gave a private speech to unveil his agenda to businesses, not voters or the press. Not that it was a total surprise that he wants to give big businesses a tax break, freeze state business regulations, sympathizes with the insurance companies “hardships” due to the slow hurricane seasons of the past few years, wants to protect doctors from lawsuits, and wants to hand over just about everything else to the private sector like education and Medicaid. (Shocking, that last one, huh?)

Yes, he is absolutely Mr. Fiscal Responsibility! Except when he isn’t.

With unemployment so high in Florida, foreclosures through the roof, literally, among our other problems, and with an “Outsider” Governor who plans to practically cut everything that won’t turn a profit for private businesses, you would think that something like a Governor’s inauguration might be a somewhat modest affair.

But you would be wrong:

Scott is now soliciting donations of up to $25,000 to pay for his inauguration. Price of admission to the ball: $95 per person, a hair less than the $100 ticket price that had been set initially for Crist’s ball in 2007, after the self-proclaimed “People’s Governor” had campaigned on a populist message to lower property insurance rates and tax bills. Crist took a shellacking in the press for soliciting donations as high as $500,000 before deciding in December to scrap the ball, return the biggest checks and lower the donation threshold to $10,000

Yes, Rick the “Outsider” has even outdone Charlie the “Most Definitely An Insider” Crist when it comes to the lavish affair of an inauguration. Not to worry though, Eddie Haskell’s inaugural committee has a perfectly good explanation for those high-priced donations:

“The people of Florida have plenty to celebrate with the inauguration of our state’s new governor, Rick Scott, including the implementation of an aggressive jobs plan and a new focus on revitalizing the state’s economy. Floridians are invited to participate in the inaugural festivities, many free and open to the public, as Rick Scott prepares to forge a new path towards prosperity for all Floridians.

Again, see my translation for “jobs plan and revitalizing the economy-speak” above.

“The Inaugural Committee is organizing a dozen events in Tallahassee on Jan. 3 and 4 surrounding the official swearing in ceremony, many of them free and open to the public. These events will be funded through the generosity of private contributors (contributions are capped at $25,000). All proceeds, after costs have been paid, will go to an organization the Governor Elect is very excited to partner with and we look forward to making that announcement in the coming days.”

How thoughtful. Free events so that the small-folk may grovel and give thanks to our scary new Gov., just to name a few:

  • “Tribute To The First Lady.” (We don’t know her, but I guess a tribute will make her feel like….royalty?)
  • “Salute to Women In Leadership Breakfast (You may now salute those two women you also elected, Pam-Health-Care-Not-So-Fast-Bondi and Jennifer-I-Didn’t-Care-For-Scott-Until-He-Picked-Me-As-Lt.-Gov.-Carroll.)
  • “Forging A Path To Prosperity Reception” (So you may mingle with the private sector who will perhaps be outsourcing the job you hold now, if you have one.)

Hey, what do you want? They’re free!

UPDATE: The donors list for the inauguration so far can be seen here.

Now let’s take a look at another big event we have coming up in Florida: The 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

In that department, Mr. Big Spender himself, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is doing his best to keep his reputation intact as one who can burn up cash faster than a compulsive gambler on steroids after a six pack of Four Loko in Vegas. Leave it to him to have already thrown $636,800 into the wind since September, and it’s only 2010! That means there’s still plenty of time for him to put the Republicans even further into the red than he already has. (Well, not counting the donations courtesy of Karl Rove, Dick Armey and the Chamber Of Commerce and others from “Whoever” thanks to SCOTUS and the Citizens United ruling.)

No sir, don’t you even suggest that he pace himself! He be da’ man!

Spending through September topped $636,800, according to figures in a report to the Federal Election Commission. That is 18 times the amount spent in a comparable period four years ago.

At a time when Steele and the RNC have come under fire for what critics call financial mismanagement, the convention spending has raised questions about oversight and financial controls inside the committee.

“I can’t imagine what you’d spend $636,000 on at this point,” said David Norcross, a former national committeeman from New Jersey. In 2004, Norcross chaired the RNC’s Committee on Arrangements, which oversees national conventions. “Is it possible that it’s early spending that would have to take place anyway? It’s possible, but I can’t imagine what it would be.”

Lucky for Mr. Norcross and others in the party, there’s plenty of time left for them to exercise their imagination while they watch Steele make many more of those dollars disappear between now and the summer of 2012, or before they find a new chairman. Whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the Republicans are putting everything, including extending unemployment benefits, and our national security on the back burner while they do whatever it takes to make sure those Bush tax cuts for the rich don’t expire.

You see, the Republican-Tea Bagger Party really ARE fiscally responsible. It’s all about priorities. Gaining wealth while “gaming” elections just happen to be at the top of their list. There’s your “fiscal.”

They just choose to shift the “responsibility” part of the equation to you and me.

Read Full Post »

Two weeks after MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann for making donations to Democratic candidates in apparent violation of the network’s policy, MSNBC President Phil Griffin has now suspended Joe Scarborough as well after it was discovered that Scarborough violated the policy by making eight more contributions, this time to Florida candidates between 2004 and 2008. The donations were for $500 each.

Olbermann was suspended for two days for making three contributions to congressional candidates. MSNBC’s policy is that its employees cannot make political donations without notifying Griffin beforehand and getting permission. In Olbermann’s case he mistakenly violated the rules, which he says he knew nothing about.

At the time of Olbermann’s suspension, donations made by Scarborough were discovered. Two donations of $2,100 each were made in 2006 to Republican Derrick Kitts. After those donations came to light, Scarborough’s co-host on his show Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski made a statement:

That contribution should have been in the name of Scarborough’s wife, Susan Scarborough, according to Scarborough’s co-host on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski, as well as John R. McGregor III, a representative from the Scarboroughs’ Pensacola, Fla., bank. POLITICO was provided a copy of the bank transfer, which was dated April 9 and signed by Susan Scarborough.

“The Scarboroughs expect John Merrill will amend his campaign report to accurately reflect that reality,” said Brzezinski. “If he does not, I will recommend they file an ethics complaint against him.”

However, Joe Scarborough is listed as the only donor on the Open Secrets contribution website. When Obermann’s suspension was lifted, he released a statement explaining what actually happened and why he was unaware of the policy:

You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations.

Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media. You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public.

I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient ‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.

As for the first two original donations made by Joe Scarborough, MSNBC justified them this way:



That contribution was made in accordance with (network) policy,” said MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines. “Joe sought permission in advance. Since 2007 we have recommitted ourselves to following these important standards.”
At the time MSNBC also made this distinction for Scarborough’s donations:
Joe Scarborough, host of the “Morning Joe” talk show and the evening newscast “Scarborough Country,” (gave) $4,200 in March 2006 to Derrick Kitts, Republican candidate for the House from Oregon. … A spokesperson for NBC, Jeremy Gaines, replied to questions sent to Scarborough. “Yes, he did make a donation to Derrick Kitts. Kitts is an old friend of Joe’s. Joe hosts an opinion program and is not a news reporter.”
So when all these earlier donations were revealed, and Olbermann was suspended for two days, I think it’s safe to say that Joe Scarborough certainly understood the rules well enough, right?
Right. So why a couple of weeks later is Joe Scarborough himself suspended over yet more campaign donations he gave to candidates without seeking prior approval? If you ever watch Morning Joe, then it’s certainly not a stretch to assume that he might feel the rules don’t apply to him, or that he is somehow above the rules. He’s not exactly an open-minded person on Morning Joe, where he’ll pontificate non-stop how he is “rarely wrong” about anything, and when one dares to disagree with him, he just drowns them out, or he’ll “stop you right there” and cut to a commercial (Lawrence O’Donnell). Heck, he’ll even get Phil Griffin to ban you from other shows and the network altogether (Markos Moulitsas) even if you never appear on his show. A mere viewer having a different viewpoint than his is grounds enough to get them blocked by Scarborough on Twitter.
In spite of that, surely he’ll have a good explanation for not disclosing those additional donations, don’t you think? After all, you may have heard: He was in Congress once upon a time!
This morning Joe Scarborough informed me that he made eight contributions of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004-08. In my conversation with Joe two weeks ago, he did not recall these contributions.
Seriously? The “man with all the answers” doesn’t recall making campaign contributions? C’mon Joe, can’t you do better than that?

It was recently brought to my attention that I made political contributions over the past several years that are not consistent with MSNBC’s guidelines. These contributions were to close personal friends and family members and were limited to local races.Despite the fact that these races were local and not relevant to my work at MSNBC, I have been told they violated MSNBC guidelines.

I recognize that I have a responsibility to honor the guidelines and conditions of my employment, and I regret that I failed to do so in this matter. I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions.

I gave a number of $500 contributions to my brother and three longtime family friends. These contributions were nothing more than simple acts of friendship. I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations.

Who said anything about Joe “gaining something from the donations?” What does that mean? He also sounds as if he just heard about the guidelines now, not a couple of weeks ago, but they’re just donations for “friends and family” anyway.
To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends.
Wow. How arrogant do you have to be to say “you may be my friend, or my brother, but quite frankly, I have no interest in your campaign? I’m just throwing you a bone bro’.”

Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races–and were given for personal rather than political reasons–I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight.

After learning of this situation, I called Phil Griffin and agreed with Phil’s immediate demand of a two-day suspension without pay.

After learning of the situation, (contributions he made years ago) he still manages to make it sound as if he was the one to take charge, make the call, and come to an agreement over his own suspension with his boss.

Odd too, isn’t it, how similar his statement almost mirrors Olbermann’s. (You can read the rest of it here.)

So Joe will get a couple of days off next week. Plenty of time to make the explanations even better. Knowing how Scarborough operates, by the time he comes back the entire thing will probably be Phil Griffin’s fault.


Read Full Post »

"Which Of These Hosts Will You Be Seeing Tomorrow?"


After being suspended by MSNBC’s President Phil Griffin over campaign donations he made to Democratic candidates, it was announced yesterday that Keith Olbermann will return to “Countdown” on Tuesday night.

Griffin issued the following statement:

From Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:

After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.

This comes after the Progressive Change Campaign Committee issued a petition asking that Olbermann be put back on the air, which got over 300,000 signatures by Sunday night.

From the PCCC website:


“Keith Olbermann made your network a success. If you want your viewers to keep tuning in to MSNBC, put Keith back on TV now!

SIGN ON THE RIGHT! (We hit 300,000 — keep the momentum going!)

Background:Huffington Post reports: “MSNBC has suspended star anchor Keith Olbermann following the news that he had donated to three Democratic candidates this election cycle.”

NBC policy does not prohibit employees from donating to political candidates — but MSNBC president Phil Griffin wants to give “prior approval” first. Meanwhile, Republicans Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan also gave political contributions, but are not suspended. We’ve had enough insanity this week — America doesn’t need more with Keith kicked off the air.

On the Open Secrets website, Joe Scarborough is listed as having given donations to Republican Derrick Kitts in 2006. The same website shows Pat Buchanan gave numerous donations to Republicans Richard Mountjoy, George Allen, Paul Schiffer, Walter B. Jones Jr. and to America First National Committee.

Olbermann himself responded briefly on Twitter shortly before it was announced that his suspension would be lifted Tuesday.

At least that’s one win for our side.

Welcome back!


As Democracy Now points out, the owner of MSNBC, GE, made over $2 million in Political Donations in 2010:

While Keith Olbermann’s donations became front-page news, little attention has been paid to the massive amount of political spending by MSNBC’s parent company General Electric, one of the nation’s largest military contractors. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports GE made over $2 million in political contributions in the 2010 election cycle. The top recipient was Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman from Ohio. The company has also spent $32 million on lobbying this year and contributed over $1 million to campaign against a California ballot initiative aimed at eliminating tax loopholes for major corporations.


Olbermann released the following statement Monday night:


by Keith Olbermann
I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and
ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of
these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of
individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I
would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and
reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their
I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety
and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an
inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that
pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by
NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or
internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on
such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead,
after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I
was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the
You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political
contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the
public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or
any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient
‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the
donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and
contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to
explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.
I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to
begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and
loyalty that is truly mutual.



Read Full Post »

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been in the news a lot lately and for good reason. They are one of the larger contributors to political campaigns for Republicans in particular. They also have a great deal of foreign membership and get a lot of foreign money. One of the reasons they’ve been in the news so much recently is the concern over how much foreign money may be influencing United States elections.

Think Progress has done a great deal of research on the Chamber money trail and have a couple of recent posts worth reading if you’re not familiar with the issue. One shows a graphic illustrating how the Chamber gets its foreign money.

One thing that caught my attention was how much money the Chamber is spending on political campaign attack ads:

Earlier this week, a ThinkProgress investigation found that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been raising funds from foreign-based corporations to solicit funding for their general 501(c)(6) entity, and that entity runs approximately $75 million worth of partisan attack ads. This week alone, the Chamber ran nearly $10.5 million in attack ads in many of the most competitive elections in America. Republican candidates in the nine Senate and 22 House districts are benefiting from the Chamber’s support.

According to Campaign Money Watch, some of that $10.5 million is going to Florida candidates. One of the top three candidates benefiting from the largest sums is none other than Marco Rubio. Rubio has received $1,000,000. That amount is topped by only two other candidates on the list, Carly Fiorina in California and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. Rubio is not the only Florida candidate getting those funds.

Expenditures for Republican candidates in Florida filed by the Chamber on Oct. 5 were the following:

Marco Rubio    $1,000,000, for attack ads against Charlie Crist (I-FL)

Sandy Adams   $250,000, for attack ads against Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL)

Dan Webster    $250,000, for attack ads against Alan Grayson (D-FL)

Also from the Campaign Money Watch site:

Campaign Money Watch today called on 31 federal candidates to join its effort to demand the U.S. Chamber of Commerce answer questions about the use of its foreign corporate dues in political advertising.

The letter sent to those candidates reads in part:

Recent news coverage surfaced significant and serious questions about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce use of foreign corporate funding for electoral activities. We are also troubled that evidence suggests that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in raising money overseas, has promised to represent the business interests of foreign corporations in Washington, D.C.

Since the Chamber has spent money in your election, we urge you to join us in demanding that the Chamber answer these important questions about their foreign funding and their representation of those overseas corporations. If they cannot or will not provide evidence to back up their claims, we urge you to join us in demanding that the Chamber remove all advertising or other electoral activities from your race…..

….This recent revelation goes beyond simple disclosure of campaign spending. The Chamber’s acceptance of foreign corporate money into the same account from which it is funding attack ads crosses the line of democratic decency. But the Chamber’s response to this question of mingling foreign and domestic dues has been inadequate. A spokeswoman told a Washington Post reporter, “We don’t feel obligated to answer that question.”

This is a dangerous precedent to let stand. Unfortunately, the Chamber’s response so far has been to attempt to dismiss the allegations as if no principles were involved, and to loudly criticize those posing questions as political partisans. The Chamber diminishes the criticism by claiming that very little money has been received from overseas affiliates and dues-paying corporations. But it is not partisan politics that is at stake; rather, serious democratic principles and laws are potentially being violated. The law does not distinguish between small and large amounts of foreign corporate money influencing American elections. All foreign corporate money is prohibited.

Moreover, by accepting the dues of foreign corporations, the Chamber is operating as the political outpost for those interests in Washington by pledging to mold public opinion to benefit their members. The method the Chamber is employing today to shape public opinion is electoral advertising in your race and others around the country….

….We are not asking you to criticize the Chamber. We are simply asking you to join with us to “trust, but verify.” It is the very least that you, as a candidate for high office seeking the public’s trust, can do.

A copy of the entire letter to candidates can be read here.

It will be interesting to see if any of those Republican candidates will do what the letter asks. But for the party that never appears in public without a flag pin on their lapel, claims they are the party who most “support the troops” and the party that “keeps America safe” and are quick to call anyone who doesn’t agree with them “un-American,” I would like to see them put that money where their talking points are and honor this request.

As for Marco Rubio, his standard stump speech spouts that America is the greatest country in the world, that America is “exceptional” and that he “wants to take the country back.” I think he should explain to those who would vote for him and all the American people just where he wants to take the country back to? So far Rubio’s campaign has been funded not only by the Chamber, but by Dick Armey and FreedomWorks, Karl Rove and American Crossroads, which some have called for an investigation of, and several others, and those are just the ones we know of.

Call me crazy, but I think we deserve to know where the money is coming from.

The citizens of this country are the ones these candidates are elected to represent. Not the foreign countries who fund their campaigns.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: