Tag: PAC

Is this the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration?

We are just a couple of days short of being five months into what is supposed to be a four-year term of Donald Trump being President of the United States, but developments in the last few days or so are indicating that this may be the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration.

The biggest recent news is the announcement that former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed the special prosecutor in the case regarding the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia:

(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James 8. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals     associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

Additionally, there are other developments that have indicated to me that this could be the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration:

  • An audio tape (transcript here) in which House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) bragged about Russian President Vladimir Putin paying Trump and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)…Republicans have tried to claim that McCarthy was merely joking, but it’s certainly suspicious when Republicans claim that Putin is paying some of their own, and it’s not 100% clear if they were being serious or not.
  • Vice President Mike Pence has already set up a leadership PAC to support Republican political efforts…this is the first time a sitting VPOTUS has ever done this.
  • Democratic members of Congress are openly mentioning the prospect of impeaching Trump.
  • It has been reported that disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others with close ties to Trump had 18 contacts with the Russians that were not previously disclosed.

There’s certainly evidence that this may be the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration.

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Donald Trump implicated in Scott Walker corruption scandal in Wisconsin

A recent leak of documents from the John Doe II investigation into allegations that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) illegally coordinated with outside political groups (most notably the Wisconsin chapter of the right-wing group Club for Growth), has, yet again, shown that the Walker Administration in Wisconsin is grotesquely corrupt. You can view the documents here, and the British newspaper The Guardian has a special feature on the document release here.

As evidenced by the leaked documents, the corruption trail is so deep in Wisconsin, it leads right up to the individual that the Republican Party nominated for President of the United States in this year’s presidential election, Donald Trump.

According to a recently leaked email, Walker was scheduled to meet with Donald Trump at 725 Fifth Avenue in New York City on the afternoon of April 3, 2012. 725 Fifth Avenue is the street address of Trump Tower, the headquarters of Donald Trump’s business empire. At the time, Walker was facing a recall attempt against him, with the recall election scheduled for June of that year (Walker went on to survive the recall attempt against him).

On the exact same day that Walker was scheduled to meet with Trump, Trump wrote a check, a photocopy of which was recently leaked, for $15,000. The check was not written either to Scott Walker personally or to Friends of Scott Walker, Walker’s official gubernatorial campaign committee, but instead to “Wisconsin Club for Growth Inc.”. Wisconsin Club for Growth is an outside political group that has spent millions of dollars supporting Republican political efforts in Wisconsin.

I don’t think for one second that Wisconsin Club for Growth receiving a check from Trump on the same day Walker met with Trump is merely a coincidence. In fact, the document leak, at a minimum, suggests that Trump has been an active player in Republican corruption in Wisconsin.

Crooked Donald Trump used his foundation to buy off Florida Attorney General

By Donald Trump’s own standard of using a personal or family foundation for corrupt purposes, Trump is even more crooked than the Clintons ever could be.

Amid all of the corporate media hullabaloo about the Clinton Foundation and their corrupt dealings is recent media attention to a 2014 fundraiser for Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, which was hosted by Trump:

…In March 2014, Donald Trump opened his 126-room Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, for a $3,000-per-person fundraiser for Pam Bondi. The Florida attorney general, who was facing a tough re-election campaign, had recently decided not to investigate Trump University.

Trump did not write a check to the attorney general that night. The previous fall, his personal foundation had given $25,000 to a pro-Bondi super PAC. But by hosting her fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago and bringing in some of his own star power, Trump provided Bondi’s campaign with a nice financial boost.

Since he began his run for the White House, Trump has repeatedly claimed that Bondi is merely someone he has supported politically. But his fundraising efforts for her were extensive and varied: In addition to the $25,000 donation from his foundation and the star-studded Mar-a-Lago event, Trump and his daughter Ivanka each gave $500 to Bondi’s campaign in the fall of 2013. The following spring, Ivanka and her father donated another $125,000 to the Republican Party of Florida ― Bondi’s single biggest source of campaign funds.

The reason why Trump’s ties to Bondi have come under public scrutiny in recent days is because of a couple of reasons.

First, that $25,000 check from Trump’s personal foundation to And Justice For All, a pro-Bondi SuperPAC, was a violation of IRS rules for Trump and his foundation. The IRS levied a $2,500 penalty against Trump for the illegal campaign donation from his foundation.

Second, Trump got something that is, to use a Rod Blagojevich saying, (expletive) golden in return for his efforts in helping Bondi get re-elected. Bondi’s office is supposed to be responsible for processing complaints against the fraudulent Trump University and its fraudulent predecessor Trump Institute, both of which masqueraded as online higher education institutions. However, Bondi’s office has done virtually nothing with the complaints, while the Connecticut Attorney General’s office, which is currently held by Democrat George Jepsen, has successfully helped people refunds for people who are victims of Trump’s deceptive practices.

Donald Trump has been caught engaging in some of the most blatant political corruption I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Although I’m probably asking too much of the GOP-controlled Florida state government, the State of Florida should assign a special prosecutor to determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed against Trump.

How Wisconsin GOP state legislators encouraged Mylan to increase EpiPen prices for the entire country

Thanks to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC), a group that maintains a database of political contributions to state candidates in Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin progressive group Citizen Action of Wisconsin, we now know that a political action committee (PAC) for Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that, among other things, makes the EpiPen that is used to treat severe allergic reactions, has publicly lobbied Republican members of the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass legislation designed to financially benefit the company. According to records from WDC, a total of ten members of the Wisconsin Legislature received campaign contributions from Mypac WI, the Wisconsin state-level PAC for Mylan’s political operations, seven of whom are still in the Legislature, and one of whom is now a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission:

Legislator Name Date Contribution Received House of Legis. At Time of Donation Amount
Last First Year Month Day
Edming James 2016 July 1 Wisconsin State Assembly $500
Craig David 2016 June 27 Wisconsin State Assembly $500
LeMahieu Devin 2015 November 17 Wisconsin State Senate $500
Vukmir Leah 2015 August 22 Wisconsin State Senate $500
Nygren John 2014 February 10 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
August Tyler 2014 January 18 Wisconsin State Assembly $500
Kramer Bill 2014 January 13 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Severson Erik 2014 January 7 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Steineke Jim 2014 January 7 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Strachota Pat 2014 January 2 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Name in italics indicates that individual is no longer a state legislator as of the writing of this blog post, but was a state legislator at the time donation was received; of the three who are no longer state legislators, Pat Strachota is now a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Table was created using the HTML table generator available here.

Mylan has also spent a total of $66,500 since 2013 lobbying Wisconsin legislators on issues “…affecting the manufacture, distribution, or sale of prescription drugs and medical devices”, as well as on issues “relating to generic pharmaceuticals”. According to Wisconsin lobbying records, Mylan spent $42,000 and a total of 151 hours on lobbying efforts in Wisconsin during the 2013-2014 state legislative session, and Mylan spent $24,500 and a total of 103 hours on lobbying efforts in Wisconsin during the 2015-2016 state legislative session. In both legislative sessions, Mylan’s sole authorized lobbyist was listed as Robert Welch.

Two pieces of legislation, both of which are now Wisconsin state law, were heavily supported by, and were designed to financially benefit, Mylan: 2013 Wisconsin Act 239, and 2015 Wisconsin Act 35. 2013 Wisconsin Act 239 allows for the availability of, and, in appropriate emergency situations, the use of “epinephrine auto-injectors” in Wisconsin public, private, and tribal schools. 2015 Wisconsin Act 35 allows for the availability of, and, in appropriate emergency situations, the use of “epinephrine auto-injectors” “by certain authorized entities”, which include recreational camps, educational camps, colleges, universities, day care facilities, youth sports leagues, amusement parks, restaurants, businesses, and sports arenas. Neither of the two laws require Mylan to justify price increases to government officials in Wisconsin, even though the laws authorize state and local government entities in Wisconsin to purchase and maintain EpiPens at the expense of Wisconsin taxpayers. While the two pieces of legislation serve a public purpose, given that timely dispensation of epinephrine can save the life of a person having a severe allergic reaction, given that Mylan’s EpiPen dominates the marketplace for epinephrine auto-injectors, and that EpiPen prices have risen dramatically as recently as earlier this month, it’s clear to me that Mylan’s political lobbying efforts in Wisconsin are designed to financially benefit the company, as well as financially benefit the political campaigns of Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin.

I do not have any food allergies that require the use of epinephrine, but many Americans in all 50 states do. I find it disgusting that A) Mylan is drastically raising the price of a very important drug/device without any real justification and B) that, because of Mylan’s actions, taxpayers are being forced to spend more money than necessary on their medicine, which many people need. Furthermore, by not including any kind of accountability measure on Mylan that would have required Mylan to legally justify any kind of price increase to Wisconsin officials, Wisconsin Republicans have effectively encouraged Mylan to raise the price of EpiPens for the entire country.

Pro-Hillary PAC attacks Bernie over his health

Although the official Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has not yet begun airing any attack ads against Bernie Sanders (despite a promise from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that Hillary will do so), a pro-Hillary political action committee (PAC) called Correct the Record is going on the attack against Bernie in the form of television ads:

Pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record will begin airing attack ads, calling for Senator Sanders to release his medical records.

The new assault on Senator Sanders comes as the polls tighten in Iowa, and he holds a commanding lead in the first primary state of New Hampshire.

The ad will reportedly call for Sanders to release his medical records before Iowans go to caucus on February 1st.

Presumably, the ad will air in Iowa, and possibly other early primary/caucus states as well.

This is a disgusting invasion of Bernie’s right to medical privacy. If Bernie and/or an outside group supporting Bernie ran attack ads calling for Hillary to release her medical records, I’d be just as disgusted and outraged. If a presidential candidate wishes to release his/her medical records, that’s his/her own prerogative. If a presidential candidate declines to release his/her medical records, that’s he/she reserving his/her right to medical privacy that is afforded by federal law.

This is different than, for example, tax returns, which, in my opinion, should be public record (currently, federal tax returns are not public record, although there may be some states where state tax returns are public record), and I call for all presidential candidates, regardless of party affiliation, to release at least 10 years worth of federal and state tax filings, if they have not already done so.

Are Democratic donors only interested in sabotaging political campaigns?

Niko Elmaleh, a New York City real estate developer who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats in recent years, bragged in an email to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Treasurer Andy Tobias and Democracy for America (DfA) Chairman Jim Dean about a plan to sabotage the Democratic presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton by having Elizabeth Warren run for the Democratic presidential nomination, only to later drop out of the race after Warren had upstaged Hillary’s campaign:

In his April 3, 2015, email to the small group, Mr. Elmaleh refers to his concern that a lack of a meaningful primary opponent will result in a stale and complacent candidate. He writes, “I think we should seriously consider as an excellent way to keep Hilary fresh in the public eye; Elizabeth Warren should run against her.”

Later in the email he reveals that after an appropriate “show” has been staged, Ms. Warren would be expected to bow out, having strengthened Ms. Clinton as a candidate. “If we can put on a ‘show’ featuring two of the most prominent progressives who are women, it will focus the attention of the bulk of voters on us.”

He then proceeds to land a few glancing blows on the other side’s candidates: “The Republicans’ show is a comic circus and would not compete with ours. Of course, this has to be carefully managed so that Warren can gracefully withdraw after performing this vital task. I don’t think she can win yet (although she could in the future).”

If I were running for public office, I would never take Niko Elmaleh’s money. All Elmaleh wants to do is start trouble within the Democratic Party and cost our party critical elections. While there have been numerous past instances of Democrats upstaging other Democrats who are running for public office (usually in the form of a superb and/or well-remembered speech at the Democratic National Convention or some other political gathering), this is the first time I can recall a Democratic donor being involved in a concerted scheme to sabotage someone’s political campaign by having another candidate upstage him or her. Sadly, the Democratic establishment thinks that grassroots activists are the ones who are causing trouble in the party, when, in reality, their own kind of people is causing a ton of trouble in the party.

If you want a progressive who is sick and tired of big-money political games and is interested in running a real campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, please encourage Bernie Sanders to run for president.

Scott Walker front group spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski doesn’t know how to properly use Twitter

As Chris “Capper” Liebenthal pointed out at Cognitive Dissidence, Kirsten Kukowski, the communications director of Our American Revival, an apparently illegal 527 group formed to support Scott Walker’s likely bid for the Republican presidential nomination, accidentally directed people to a Twitter handle that is not currently in use instead of Our American Revival’s Twitter page.

In the bio of her personal Twitter account, Kukowski incorrectly listed @OurAmericanRevival as the Walker front group’s Twitter page. In reality, that is a Twitter handle that is not currently in use by any person or organization, and a Twitter search for @OurAmericanRevival only comes up with a single tweet by someone who also got Our American Revival’s Twitter handle wrong. Our American Revival’s Twitter handle is actually @OurRevival. As of this writing, Kukowski has not yet updated her bio to include Our American Revival’s actual Twitter handle, and it appears that she’s only started following @OurRevival recently, as it’s near the top of her “following” list.

Given that Walker is surrounding himself with incompetent people like Kirsten Kukowski, who can’t direct people to the correct Twitter handle for a pro-Walker organization she works for, it’s clear to me that a Scott Walker presidency would likely be full of much more serious screw-ups that could endanger the American people.

Wisconsin Democrats troll launch of Scott Walker PAC

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The previous post on here was supposed to be my last post on here for the next month or so, but I couldn’t resist writing this one.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) officials were waiting for Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to launch a leadership PAC, whose name was recently announced as “Our American Revival”, for his 2016 presidential campaign to troll him (technically, Walker’s new PAC is not actually a PAC, but a 527 organization that is legally prohibited from expressly campaigning for him, although, in effect, it’s the closest thing Walker has to a leadership PAC).

An unnamed individual or group bought the “americanrevivalpac.com” domain name and linked to a BuzzFeed article written by an unnamed Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) operative that shows a Dave Letterman-style “Top 10” list of “rejected names for Scott Walker’s PAC” (although the DPW’s list counts upward instead of downward like Letterman’s lists do), which attacks Walker for various things that he’s said and done since being elected Governor of Wisconsin. While it’s not clear as to who bought the domain name, and it’s not clear as to who wrote the Buzzfeed post, if I were to guess, the DPW probably bought the domain name using money from the party’s coffers (although it’s possible that some other Democratic group or Democrat with an interest in Wisconsin politics bought the domain name), and, if I were to guess, the BuzzFeed article was probably written by DPW Communications Director Melissa Baldauff, as it appears to be her style of writing, although it could have been someone else using the DPW’s BuzzFeed account.

While I’m not exactly fond of the DPW using party resources on domain names for the sole purpose of trolling GOP politicians, this is clearly payback for the Republicans buying up the “maryburke.com” domain name before Mary Burke announced that she was running in last year’s election for Governor of Wisconsin and using it to set up a webpage in order to, among other things, use my words to attack Burke without my permission.

Scott Walker has left Wisconsin with a massive budget deficit and a wrecked economy. Walker’s idea of a “revival” is turning America into a third-world country by handing out tax cuts to the rich, getting the U.S. involved in unjustified wars, and handing out corporate welfare to his cronies. That’s not a “revival”, that’s a destruction of American’s economy and reputation.

The Republican Party is a party of scammers

Media Matters for America (MMfA), a progressive media watchdog group, published this piece showing how ridiculously infected with scams and scammers the Republican Party and the conservative movement in this country are. Among the scams promoted by Republicans and conservatives include, but are not limited to, reverse mortgages, quack doctors, conspiracy theories, fraudulent financial schemes, worthless stocks, and political organizations that exist solely or primarily to pay political consultants.

MMfA cited 11 examples from the past two and a half years of Republicans and conservatives scamming fellow Republicans and conservatives:

  • Mike Huckabee sold out his fans to a quack doctor, conspiracy theorists, and financial fraudsters.
  • Conservative media such as Erick Erickson’s RedState, Dick Morris, Newsmax, Townhall, and Human Events have pushed paid promotions for dubious marijuana stocks.
  • Tea party scammers have been aided by media outlets like CNN and Fox News, which, in the words of one of the shady groups in question, have given the tea partiers “great television news coverage” to promote their efforts.
  • Subscribers to CNN analyst Newt Gingrich’s email list have received supposed insider information about cancer “cures,” the Illuminati, “Obama’s ‘Secret Mistress,'” a “weird” Social Security “trick,” and Fort Knox being “empty.”
  • Five conservative outlets promoted a quack doc touting dubious Alzheimer’s disease cures.
  • Conservative media sold out their followers to a disgraced financial firm, Stansberry & Associates.
  • Fox News contributor Wayne Rogers acted as a “paid TV spokesperson” for a company pitching reverse mortgages to senior citizens. Fox had previously reported that “there’s a lot of evidence” that reverse mortgages are “predatory loans.”
  • Tobin Smith, the dubious stock pitchman fired from Fox News.
  • Fox analyst Charles Payne was paid to push now worthless stocks.
  • The Dick Morris/Newsmax super PAC boondoggle.
  • Right-wing media helped “scam PACs” raise money from their readers.

Click on every one of those links above, as they go into detail about how Republicans and conservatives scam their own kind of people. The Republican Party is absolutely rife with all kinds of scams and scammers, and the scary thing about that is that the corporate media in this country helps promote right-wing scams.

My video entry to the MAYDAYin30 video contest

I’ve decided to enter the MAYDAYin30 video contest that MAYDAY PAC, the Lawrence Lessig-led, crowd-funded SuperPAC that supports ending the culture of big-money politics in this country by, among other things, overturning the Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision by a federal constitutional amendment.

My submission is a video supporting the campaign of Staci Appel, the Democratic U.S. House nominee in the 3rd Congressional District of Iowa. Appel, who has been endorsed by MAYDAY PAC. Staci supports amending the U.S. Constitution in order to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision and end the era of big-money campaigns and SuperPACs that can raise unlimited amounts of money from big-wig donors.

Here’s my video:

If you like my video and would like to see it aired as a TV ad on stations covering Central and Southwestern Iowa, you can vote for my video here!