Yes, you read this correctly. Failed presidential candidate Howard Dean has collected a slush fund for the express purpose of bribing the “fleebagging” Wisconsin Democrat State Senators to remain in hiding and not report to the legislature to vote.
Without Howard Dean’s slush fund, at least some of those Democrat legislators would find it necessary to return to the legislature to pick up their paychecks in person, thus providing enough State Senators to form a quorum. A quorum is required for voting on the Budget Repair Bill proposed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that will require public employee union members to contribute more toward their benefits and restrict their collective bargaining privileges. The Republicans have enough votes in the State Senate to enact that legislation without delay.
A recent article in American Spectator follows the money to expose the flagrant corruption associated with this slush fund. However, like many articles in the media and the blogosphere, it stops short of drawing the necessary conclusion from the facts that it has established. The article talks about this slush fund as though it were nothing more than a campaign contribution that is well over the legal limit in amount. The article even admits that there is no election coming up in the near future for which the “fleebaggers” would need to collect campaign funds. It also shows that the funds are instead being used for lavish travel expenditures, thus rewarding the “fleebaggers” for their gross dereliction of duty.
It is time to stop pussyfooting around and start calling things what they are.
This slush fund is no campaign contribution. It’s naked bribery. Howard Dean is paying the Wisconsin “fleebaggers” to stay away from the legislature so as to block the enactment of legislation that Howard Dean wants blocked.
The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.
The expectation of a particular voluntary action in return is what makes the difference between a bribe and a private demonstration of goodwill. To offer or provide payment in order to persuade someone with a responsibility to betray that responsibility is known as seeking Undue Influence over that person’s actions. When someone with power seeks payment in exchange for certain actions, that person is said to be peddling influence. Regardless of who initiates the deal, either party to an act of bribery can be found guilty of the crime independently of the other.
A bribe can consist of immediate cash or of personal favors, a promise of later payment, or anything else the recipient views as valuable. When the U.S. military threatened to cancel a Texas relocation company’s contracts to move families to and from military bases, the company allegedly gave four representatives in Congress an all-expenses-paid weekend in Las Vegas in January 1989, and $2,500 in speaking fees. The former president of the company was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in 1994 on bribery charges for both gifts.
Note that it is equally blameworthy to give or offer a bribe as it is to accept or solicit it.
By Jeffrey Lord on 2.22.11 @ 6:09AM
You can call them “Dean Dollars.”
Former Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, a one-time presidential candidate, is the founder of a group that by mid-day of President’s Day had raised over $100,000 in a slush fund to “back” the on-the-lam Wisconsin Democratic State Senators.
The Dean Dollars are being specifically funneled to the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC) — an apparent violation of Wisconsin election law that pointedly says, according to the Wisconsin Election Board’s Legal Counsel in a 2005 decision, that the “SSDC may not accept a contribution of more than $6,000 from a single committee in a calendar year.” (Note: the Election Board is now called the “Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.”)
The money, requested in an e-mail obtained over the weekend by The American Spectator, is being solicited in $14 dollar contributions through the Dean-founded million-member “Democracy for America” grassroots organizing group chaired by Dean’s brother Jim. There are no prohibitions on more generous donations of any amount. The funds are being collected through the left-wing “Act Blue” fundraising website, which identifies itself as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.”
The $14 dollar solicitation is symbolic — as in one dollar for every one of the fourteen Democrats in the Wisconsin State Senate. All of whom have now fled the state in a political battle royal over budget cuts and collective bargaining rights for public employees with the newly elected Republican Governor. On Monday, the Huffington Post quoted Senator Tim Carpenter, one of the fourteen, as saying of the decision to remain out of state: “We’ll be here until Gov. Walker decides that he wants to talk.”
Carpenter made no mention of who was paying his expenses.
The slush fund revelation comes on the heels of the discovery by both Fox News reporter Mike Tobin and the Wisconsin-based John K. MacIver Public Policy Institute of an organized effort by some Wisconsin doctors — who were deliberately handing out “doctor’s notes” to teachers feigning illness in order to protest the governor’s legislative plans. Which would be fraud, if proven in court. The Fox report uncovered at least one doctor connection to the presumably taxpayer-funded University of Wisconsin Family Medical Program. The MacIver video, posted over the weekend by my American Spectator colleague Philip Klein, is a particularly stunning depiction of both teachers and doctors quite publicly engaged in what appears to be outright fraud, a question raised by one reporter to an angrily defensive doctor on the MacIver video.
The fraud suggested? Doctors — some of whom may be paid by Wisconsin taxpayers — are willingly lying about the health of protesting teachers (also paid by Wisconsin taxpayers) who in turn are lying about their health status in order to skip school so they can spend their time protesting.
As of Monday, following the Fox News and MacIver revelations, the teachers union leadership apparently had a change of mind, urging teachers to return to work. Whatever happens now, what has effectively been a teachers strike — also illegal in Wisconsin — shut down some Wisconsin schools, leaving school kids without teachers, hungry school kids without government-financed school lunches while stiffing taxpayers for the bill. Ironically, only a little over a month ago the Wisconsin Education Association Council — the teachers union — was trumpeting the importance of having children in school because of the critical nature of “child nutrition” and to fight “obesity.” Apparently hungry kids and unhealthy fat kids are not as important as lying to get days off to protest on the taxpayers’ dime.
Or is it the taxpayers’ dime? Is some of this instead being paid for by Dean Dollars?
The Dean brothers goal was originally $75,000 but changed upward to $100,000 over the President’s Day holiday weekend. By 12:23 pm on President’s Day itself the group had met its revised goal, with over $100,027 having cascaded into the coffers of the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee.
Says Jim Dean in his e-mail of why the Dean Dollars slush fund for state senators is needed:
If even one of these Democrats had remained in Wisconsin, the state police would have forcibly brought them to the state Capitol and the bill would have passed. So now they are holed up in another state playing a high stakes game of chicken over which side will cave first. That’s why we absolutely must back these Senators up today.
The e-mail, re-written slightly after being sent to individual members of Democracy for America by name — one of which was obtained by The American Spectator — is now used as the solicitation language on the Act Blue site, found here.
The funds are being funneled from the Dean group to the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee, specifically to be provided as “back up” for the 14 state senators described as “heroes” for fleeing the state.
Ironically, it is one of those hiding senators, Jon Erpenbach — reported by Chicago’s ABC affiliate to be hiding in a Chicago hotel — whose over-limit contribution of $21,000 to the SSDC drew a 2005 rebuke from the Government Accountability Board’s predecessor, the Wisconsin Elections Board. Said the Board’s Legal Counsel in an April 22, 2005 memo to the Board:
(2) A legislative campaign committee may accept no contributions and make no contributions or disbursements exceeding the amounts authorized for a political party under this chapter. (Emphasis supplied)”
(Note: the bold print for this sentence from the memo was deliberately included in the original document by the author of the memo to draw specific attention to the problem. The term “Emphasis Supplied” was also written by the Board’s Legal Counsel to emphasize the point of law.)
The amount of money legally authorized to be contributed to the SSDC, according to Wisconsin law, is $6,000 in “a calendar year.” Erpenbach was cited for a $27,000 contribution from his own campaign committee to the SSDC — $21,000 over the limit. Under the law he was mandated to give the balance as punishment to Wisconsin’s “Common School Fund” or a charity.
Read it all.
Question for you:
Would it be appropriate to call the FBI and ask them to investigate this matter further?