Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Media Bias: More Of The Same

I have pointed out before that the SAEN's attacks against Tom DeLay are partisan because the paper always refuses to report on similar actions by Democrats. Now comes this story about Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt):
Rep. Bernard Sanders used campaign donations to pay his wife and stepdaughter more than $150,000 for campaign-related work since 2000, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Jane O'Meara Sanders, his wife, received $91,020 between 2002 and 2004 for "consultation" and for negotiating the purchase of television and radio time-slots for Sanders' advertisements, according to records and interviews.

See here and here for past commentary on this. I hold out no hope that this story will make it into the pages of our local "newspaper."


Let me set the record straight. I keep hearing from the left this excuse "sure, others do it, but DeLay is the worst." It's a silly argument, but let me address it anyway. The $500,000 figure being bandied about by the left was for payments over a 5 year period, and constitutes payments for the work of two individuals. So we are looking at $50,000 a year per individual. I think this demonstrates that DeLay is no better or worse than others in Congress.

Finally, it has just been reported that Barbara Boxer paid her son $150,000 in 2002; just one year. That far outweighs the $50,000 that DeLay paid to his family per year, but somehow I doubt we are going to hear in cries about what Pelosi has done; mea culpa anyone?
If it comes to pass that we have to pass a law making it illegal for politicians to hire family members on their campaign staffs it will be because of the abuses represented by Tom DeLay, not because of the very modest sums paid by the likes of Rep. Bernie Sanders.

This is a good compare and contrast. On the one hand you have Sanders whose campaign paid his wife and step-daughter a total of $150,000 over four years. Of that, $90,000 went to the wife who used $60,000 for direct TV buys for the campaign keeping only $30,000 for herself - and $60,000 went to the step-daughter who is a former Vermont State Rep. and worked as Sanders' campaign manager in 2000, his fund-raiser and office manager in 2003 and his database manager in 2004. For that she was paid just $15,000 a year. Sanders' wife has worked on his campaigns for years and only charged a fee after starting her own consulting company where she has other politicians employing her and paying more than what she charges for the same work for Sanders.

In contrast, Tom DeLay's wife and daughter received $500,000. Even if they did the same amount of work that Sanders family did - which is debatable - it appears that they were grossly overcompensated based on market rates.
Except, y'know, the payments were of vastly different magnitudes. 15,000 a year? What luxury, what corruption.

Sanders looks to be an example of ethics done well (Whatever you think of the rest of his policies), something DeLay could learn from the next time he wants to hire a family member -- how to do it right, without raising ethical quandaries.
The $500,000 number being bandied about regarding DeLay was over a decade, or five house races. So that's 50,000 a year for work performed by two people.
No, that's wrong, Commando. All the news reports have said the $500,000 has been paid since 2001. That's four years, not 10.

Please see this post at Beltway Buzz.

All I can conclude from that is that Eric Pfeiffer at National Review doesn't know how to read a financial disclosure statement. He is the only one making this claim without any evidence to back it up.

The NYTimes article is very clear:

Financial disclosure statements filed by Mr. DeLay's House campaign committees, which are separate from Americans for a Republican Majority, show that Mrs. Ferro and her political consulting firm, Coastal Consulting of Sugar Land, Tex., received $222,000 from 2001 through last year, reflecting her role in the re-election campaigns.

The story goes on to note that the payments have continued into 2005:

The payments to Mr. DeLay's family have continued into 2005; the latest monthly disclosure filed by Americans for a Republican Majority shows Mrs. DeLay was paid was paid $4,028 last month, while Mrs. Ferro received $3,681. Earlier statements show that the two women received similar monthly fees from the political action committee throughout 2003 and 2004.
You were correct and I have changed the update to my post accordingly. Thanks for your help!

It looks like Pfeiffer also screwed up on the Boxer allegation as well. That information was reported in the same NYTimes story, but it was $15,000 - not $150,000.

Disclosure statements also show that Senator Barbara Boxer, another California Democrat, directed $15,000 from her political action committee in 2003 to a consulting firm run by her son.

So it looks like DeLay's PAC is still being overly generous in compensating his family members.
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