one hand butters the other hands’ bread

How stupid can these politicians be? James Gill wrote this morning, in a year of virtually no $$$changing, Mississippi ex-representative Charles Pickering doles out $5,000 to Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, who promptly deposits the money into David Vitter’s campaign fund. The federal elections commission is supposed to investigate. Need I also remind readers, these are all Republicans.

Let me explain why U.S. Sen. David Vitter might hate to be publicly associated with Chip Pickering, who did not seek re-election as a Mississippi congressman last time around.
Hold onto your hats, now. If it is possible to draw distinctions between the fornicating phonies of the GOP, Pickering must be rated creepier than Vitter.

Yes, that is a bold claim. But the facts bear it out. Philanderers don’t come more unctuous than Pickering, who denounced evil at every turn, received a perfect rating from Focus on the Family and urged then-President George W. Bush to declare 2008 the year of the Bible.

He was also having an affair with Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, whose family owns Cellular South, a company that benefited greatly from his efforts in Congress. He is now working for a lobbying firm that represents Cellular South, while his estranged wife, mother to his five sons, is suing for alienation of affection.

Even a congressman who has embraced hookers in private while embracing the Lord in public might not wish to be dragged down to Pickering’s level.

Indeed, he might not want to record a campaign contribution from such a source. It would be legal but it would inevitably set off titters.

That, according to the Democratic Party, might explain some political action committee transactions that occurred in August. Pickering, who had not touched the money in his since quitting Congress, suddenly dipped into it and gave $5,000 to Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s.

Barbour, whose PAC had made only one donation this year, was seized by a simultaneous urge to lend a hand to Vitter. He did so to the tune of $5,000. No other activity was reported in Barbour’s PAC that month.

Barbour’s nephew Henry Barbour works with Pickering in the lobbying firm.
Eyebrows would not normally be raised if a Republican Mississippi governor supported a Republican Louisiana Senator, and Vitter’s flack, Joel DiGrado, pooh-poohed any notion that a subterfuge had occurred.

“Sen. Vitter’s campaign doesn’t operate that way,” he said. “Sen. Vitter appreciates Haley’s past support as well as his most recent contribution.”

The Democrats are more inclined to believe that these transactions might, if they occurred in criminal circles, be called money laundering. The Federal Elections Commission has been asked to investigate.

Proving an illicit intent will not be easy. Still, if this was all just a coincidence, it was a doozy.

If it was a dodge, it was a ham-fisted one. As Democratic Party Chairman Chris Whittington noted, “Most people who break the law manage to cover their tracks a little better that Vitter, Pickering and Barbour seem to have.”

For Vitter to accept an improper donation would be pretty dumb, since he is not exactly desperate as he campaigns for re-election. He raised $1.2 million in the third quarter and is now sitting on $4 million. The latest poll puts him 26 points ahead of his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon.

That lead is expected to diminish once Melancon gears up. And if it turns out that Vitter has indeed pulled a bone-headed and dishonest stunt here, perhaps voters will start to question more than his sexual probity.

That would be a high price to pay for concealing a contribution from Pickering in order, as the Democrats allege, to avoid drawing “unwanted attention to the scandals of both individuals and the Republican Party as a whole.”

Now Vitter’s name is linked with Pickering’s anyway, and at a particularly embarrassing time. Pickering lived at a house on C Street in Washington, where the Fellowship advanced its Christian mission by taking in GOP Pharisees who went on to their own well publicized sex scandals. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, lived in the house too and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was a frequent visitor.

Vitter is not expected to list either Ensign or Sanford on his list of campaign contributors.


~ by maringouin on Sunday, October 11, 2009.

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