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Leviathan Richard Falknor on 27 Oct 2013 07:38 pm

Today’s Fundraising vs. Lawmaking, Oversight & Investigations; Seeking Transparency On One Virginia “Leadership PAC”

Last Wednesday we wrote here about Peter Schweizer’s new book “Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets.

Reagan admirer and chronicler Schweizer spotlighted a number of concerns about what he calls the “underground economy” of campaign money.

Yesterday Breitbart’s Wynton Hall elaborated here in his post “Schweizer Says DC ‘Just Like the Mob, Except It’s Legal’”–

“’If problems are being solved, if things are going smoothly and things are being fixed, a lot of people are not going to give. The party establishments and the political leaders from both sides are collaborating a lot more than they let on,’ explained Schweizer.
‘It’s a little bit like professional wrestling,’ he continued. ‘For somebody who’s never seen it who comes from a foreign country and first watches it, they think these guys in the ring in spandex actually really hate each other.’
‘But, of course, after you watch it for a while you realize that they’re in business together and that there’s money to be made by hyping this sense of conflict, this sense of drama,’ Schweizer explained. ‘I think the same thing applies in Washington, DC.’”

First things first . . .

Last Wednesday we also emphasized

But our instant concern should be fixing the Beltway GOP.

We can’t get the national course correction we need unless the GOP Congressional Leadership is devoted to right-sizing government, and legislating properly — without vast grants of authority to the Administrative Branch and without enormous ‘continuing resolutions’ that only specialists and lobbyists understand. 

After reading Hoover Institution Fellow Schweizer’s Extortion, it is impossible to believe that the Congressional GOP leadership ever thinks about pulling back the reach of Federal power in a serious way.

For how could they continue to raise big money?

Problems with Leadership PACs

Schweizer wrote in Extortion-

“But a leadership PAC is different [from a traditional campaign committee]. Leadership PACs are ostensibly about raising money to help political colleagues hold and win seats. But the FEC has few restrictions on how these monies can be used and does not restrict the ‘personal use’ of such funds…. To be sure, some leadership PACs do devote a substantial portion of their funds to helping elect members of  Congress. Yet many of them spend most of their money on events in swanky five-start resorts, food, and entertainment. Here are some of the unwritten rules about how politicians use leadership PAC money. First, ‘retreats,’ ‘strategic planning sessions,’ and other events never occur at a Hampton Inn or a Holiday Inn. They are almost exclusively held at five-star resorts that feature golf and high-end spas.” – Peter Schweizer  (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Breitbart’s Wynton Hall declared last Monday–

“the leadership PACs are usually not used for re-election efforts and instead serve as a ‘crony piggy bank’ used to ‘dole out favors’ and ‘buy votes.’ In discussing the 60 Minutes exposé that revealed ‘what is going on with leadership PAC corruption,’ which Hall described as ‘one of the dirtiest little secrets in Washington,’ he said that though the PACs are supposedly meant to help ‘members of your party,’ there are ‘sneaky loopholes’ that allow lawmakers to have ‘lifestyle upgrades’ that are ‘eye-opening.’. . . .  As 60 Minutes detailed, ‘nearly every congressman and senator has a leadership PAC, not just the leaders. And they are used to solicit contributions from friends and supporters in order to advance their political agendas, their careers and, in many cases, their lifestyle.’. . . .” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

The Good Fund & The Homestead

As we began our review of the Leadership PAC (The Good Fund) of a senior Virginia House member, Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a key player in the national struggle over Giant Amnesty, a $68,481.26 expenditure on August 14, 2013 at The Homestead in Virginia caught our attention.

Mr. Goodlatte filed this amount as “Fundraising Event Expenses.”

Click here for the FEC filing for the The Good Fund including this event.

Of course, this was during last August’s recess presumably enabling House GOP members to spend some quality time with the grass roots.

So what are the facts about The Good Fund’s costly August 14 event here at the Homestead?

We emailed the following questions to Mr. Goodlatte’s press aide before noon on Friday–

  • What contributors and likely contributors were present at this “Fundraising Event”?
  • What companies or organizations did they represent?
  • What Virginia state, county, or other local officials — including state legislators – – were present?
  • What family members, if any, of any such officials or state legislators were present?
  • What other members of the Congress were present?
  • What family members, if any, of any such national legislators were present?
  • What family members, if any, of Mr. Goodlatte were present?
  • What staff members — and former staff members — of Mr. Goodlatte were present?
  • The duration, e.g., one day, two days, etc., of this “Fundraising Event”?

So why all the questions?

Because this August 14 event was a very expensive one, held in a top-of-the-line place, under the sponsorship of a key Congressional player in a national struggle over the future face of America.

We also looked to see what campaign contributions came to Mr. Goodlatte’s Good Fund here and his traditional campaign committee here around August 14 and in September.

We draw readers’ attention to–

  • Good Fund contributor “Darden Restaurants” ($4000) here which organization clearly favors some kind of amnesty (click here and scroll down);
  • Good Fund contributor hereU.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION PAC” ($5000) whose chief here  “praised President Obama’s comments at the White House Thursday calling for a renewed focus on immigration reform”;
  • “Bob Goodlatte for Congress Committee” here contributor Mark Isakowitz who is a lead lobbyist here for Mark Zuckerberg and what Politico calls his “immigration reform” advocacy.

It is up to the grass roots of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District to follow up on questions about The Good Fund — and to find out exactly where Representative Goodlatte stands on amnesty and whether he would first secure the war zone that is now so much of our border with Mexico.

But whatever their stand on amnesty, these Virginians should know the details of The Good Fund’s activities — and how chairman Goodlatte’s plain words position on amnesty relates to the positions of his large contributors on this searing national question.

Taking A More Constructive Path . . .

Our hope is that Mr. Goodlatte, as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would rather turn his resources and attention to investigating the Administration protection racket that Peter Schweizer exposes–

“Obama’s ‘Protection Money’: How the Obama Administration targeted industries for criminal investigation but chose not to pursue key political donors.”

Stay tuned.

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