Why is Chuck Schumer helping McConnell keep his Senate seat?
Well, we actually started some time ago, preventing senatorial lizard Chuck Schumer from forcing DLC Republican-lite reactionary John Morrison down the throats of Montana voters. The grassroots candidate, Jon Tester, beat Morrison and Schumer and then went on to defy the odds and unseat incumbent Conrad Burns. At the same time we were helping John Hall in New York and Jerry McNerney is California defy the diktats of congressional lizard Rahm Emanuel, beating his 2 shill candidates and then going on to rout entrenched Republican incumbents Sue Kelly and Dirty Dick Pombo. As we mentioned Schumer is at it again
, especially in Kentucky, where he is determined to protect Mitch McConnell's seat by forcing an out of step reactionary fake-Democrat into the Democratic nomination, the toxic Bruce Lunsford
Schumer's first step was to dispose
of grassroots candidate Andrew Horne
by warning off Democratic campaign donors and making it known that donating to Horne would be considered an unfriendly act, a typical tactic used by the Inside the Beltway committees. Horne has no money... so it worked.
Greg Fischer does have money and independent sources of donations Schumer can't impact as easily. So what is Schumer doing instead to get rid of him? One of the people Blue America worked with when we were trying to prevent Rahm Emanuel and Ellen Tauscher from pulling the same slimy Beltway tricks on Jerry McNerney was a McNerney staffer named A.J. Carrillo. A.J. is now working for Greg Fischer in Kentucky and he's able to anticipate all Schumer's reptilian tricks. Today he explained to me how Schumer is twisting arms at union headquarters
to get them to pressure Kentucky locals to endorse anti-labor Lunsford. It's a disgrace-- and it isn't even that rare. I remember when the worst of the Democratic shill unions, AFSCME endorsed the Emanuel hack in CA-11, Steve Filson, even though the local unions were all completely behind McNerney. AFSCME's political folks just do what they're told by the Insider Dems-- which explains why they always
endorse that worst hacks and crooks-- and they didn't even give McNerney the courtesy of an interview before endorsing his opponent. A.J. said it would be OK for me to share the following with you about how the Brooklyn Lizard Man is pulling the strings in Kentucky:
Schumer is strong arming the COPE directors in DC into telling their
locals to getting in line and endorse Lunsford. Apparently he has been working the UAW on the AFL-CIO side (so far their locals have been strong, and are still with us) and now he has turned his guns successfully over the last couple of days working over the UFCW and the Teamsters on the Change to Win side into endorsing Lunsford. He apparently has gotten the NEA (teachers union) into telling the Kentucky teachers union to endorse Lunsford as well.
What is most comical about this is that Lunsford was placed in the "do not endorse" column by Kentucky's largest coalition of labor unions during the '07 gubernatorial election. The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education voted to urge state affiliate groups to refrain from endorsing or supporting Lunsford, as well as all three Republican candidates for governor. (Lexington Herald Leader, 3/6/07). I guess in
2007 he was the only Dem gov candidate singled out for no-endorsement and now he's an ok guy?!
We introduced DWT
readers to Lunsford while he was getting his ass kicked
-- while spending millions-- by Steve Beshear, now Governor Beshear, last year. But, in case anyone has forgotten, let's go over why Bruce Lunsford can only have one function in the Kentucky senate race: guaranteeing another term to his old pal, Mitch McConnell. Lunsford in 10 easy steps:
1. His company Vencor, paid $104 million settlement to resolve civil claims in nine lawsuits that Vencor knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, the military's health-care program for active duty troops and their families. The investigation was triggered by two Vencor employees in Florida who charged that the company was padding its bills for respiratory services.
2. Lunsford defended Vencor's bankruptcy and $104 million "settlement" for fraudulent billing. Lunsford claimed that Vencor was reorganized, not utterly bankrupted, and that it paid a $104 million settlement-- not a $104 million fine-- when the feds accused it of fraudulent billing to Medicare. (Associated Press, 5/19/03)
3. The Justice Department said Vencor settlement was important to "combat fraud." The department said the government's $104.5 million settlement with Vencor and Ventas in March 2001 was "an important success story in our continuing effort to combat fraud that depletes federal health care programs." The Justice Department said that the settlement was the second largest in a nursing home case under the
False Claims Act and that the $20 million portion based on failure to provide adequate health care was the largest ever for long- term-care facilities. (Courier-Journal
4. Lunsford's company evicted poor patients covered by Medicaid from nursing homes. The practiced was stopped in 13 homes in nine states, including Kentucky, Lunsford only after the Wall Street Journal
exposed it. The patients that were dumped were covered by Medicaid in favor of those with more money and private insurance. Congress, with bipartisan support, quickly enacted a law banning the practice. Lunsford said the federal anti-dumping statute "is not the kind of legacy I am proud of." But he noted that when he found out about the evictions, "I apologized, stopped them and took responsibility." Lunsford stepped down as Vencor's chief executive officer and chairman in 1999 and as Ventas' chairman in January 2003. (Courier-Journal
, 5/13/03; Lexington Herald Leader
5. Vencor paid $3 million to shareholders to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged Lunsford and other executives, at the same time they were selling stock, hid their knowledge of the impact of the cost-cutting legislation. (Courier-Journal
6. Vencor was forced to turn over its largest nursing home to a non-profit Catholic organization in 1998 due to "pervasive neglect." Lunsford claimed, "we took care of 45,000 patients a day … size is a factor. The difference is, I'm willing to say, 'Yeah, we've made some mistakes.'" But a study published in the American Journal of Public Health
shows that investor-owned nursing homes such as Vencor provide "worse care and less nursing care" than not-for-profit or public nursing homes. The peer-reviewed study said investor-owned nursing homes averaged 5.89 deficiencies per home, a rate 46.5 percent higher than at non-profit homes. (Lexington Herald Leader
7. Vencor Inc's overall image played a big part in its demise and Lunsford was a major component of this lackluster image. The public relations beating Vencor Inc. took over the eviction of Medicaid recipients in nursing homes in Florida and Indiana left marks on its corporate image. Lunsford's apology was construed as necessary actions and was in response to a spate of unflattering stories carried by the Wall Street Journal
, Associated Press and local media after Vencor decided to get out of the Medicaid program in some states. He later acknowledged, "we were insensitive," at a Vencor shareholders annual meeting. "It is something we will learn from, and we will not do again." And in a later interview, he said, "There is nothing wrong with saying, 'I made a mistake.'" (Business First-Louisville
columnist: "Lunsford's campaign money tainted by Vencor." Columnist Christopher W. Frost wrote that "the real story of Vencor is not its success and ultimate failure." He claimed that the deal to split Vencor and Ventas was "engineered to permit Lunsford and others to toss Vencor into bankruptcy court, wiping out hundreds of millions of dollars in claims, while preserving their ownership interests in the profitable real estate." Frost said the result was that "the shareholders of Vencor lost nearly everything and Lunsford
remained one of the richest men in Kentucky. (Lexington Herald Leader
9. Lunsford stood with Mitch McConnell and endorsed Republican Ernie
Fletcher in 2003. After Lunsford dropped out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary where he ran against Ben Chandler, he announced his support for the Republican candidate, Ernie Fletcher. Lunsford made the announcement with Fletcher and Senator Mitch McConnell at a news conference in Frankfort. He said comments that Chandler, the state's attorney general, had made in recent weeks about their primary race helped bring him to his decision. (WAVE3, 10/20/03)
10. Lunsford has given $37,600 to Republican candidates since 1997. Lunsford said he gave only because he had to, and gave to Republicans only because they were in power and he had a duty to represent Vencor's interests. The campaigns he contributed to included Mitch McConnell's and George W. Bush. Lunsford said his company suffered because he did not give more. (Kentucky Registry of Election Finance; Federal Election Commission; Courier-Journal
Labels: Bruce Lunsford, Chuck Schumer, Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, reactionary Democrats