Saturday, April 19, 2014

PA-13-- How Much More Mud Will The Mezvinsky Clan Drag The Clintons Through?


I hate the money game that American electoral politics has devolved into, drowning out ideas and, in too many cases, all agendas and even visions other than those of the donor class. But it's how the Beltway pundits and the mass media view momentum and electability. And, normally, the candidate with the most money wins-- not always, but most frequently. In the PA-13 (northeast Philly and Montgomery County in the clsoe-in Philadelphia 'burbs) race to replace Allyson Schwartz, the candidate long dubbed the "front-runner," a corrupt, conservative wretch and former failed congresswoman best known these days as Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law, may have raised the most money-- with help from the Clintons-- but, through gross incompetence, a hallmark of her long, sordid career-- she has the least to spend in the primary. Cash-on-hand that can be used in the primary (as of April 1):
Daylin Leach- $598,311
Val Arkoosh- $577,225
Brendan Boyle- $309,420
Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky- $2,226
Years ago, when Margolies Mezvinsky and her husband, also a member of Congress (from Iowa), were caught up in one of the worst congressional fraud scandals in history-- he served 5 years in a federal prison while she walked away scott free-- she tried evading her debts by going to bankruptcy court. The judge was not amused and refused to grant her the discharge from her debts she was seeking. The court found Marjorie had failed to satisfactorily explain a significant "loss of assets" in the four years prior to her bankruptcy filing and the judge stated, in her published opinion, "I find that the Debtor has failed to satisfactorily explain the loss of approximately $775,000 worth of assets (the difference between the $810,000 represented in May 1996 and the $35,000 now claimed in her Amended Schedule B)."

Life just sort of happens around Marjorie. Money comes and goes, appears and disappears, and she is oblivious. She is either lying, or is someone we want nowhere near the federal treasury. Her claims that she had "no idea" where all the money went when her husband stole it was not credible. That may have been "a long time ago" but more recently she claimed she had nothing to do with raising her own salary at her charity, when the minutes show it was her idea and she voted on it. She has always been bad news for the Clintons but they continue supporting her. Now people are asking about the shady finances around the event Bill Clinton did for her a couple weeks ago. If the April 10 Clinton event cost $15,000-- does that include the secret service costs?-- and had to paid up front, which one would imagine the restaurant and the Warwick Hotel required, and its not on her campaign finance reports, then she is breaking the law in two ways:
1. She did not file an accurate campaign finance report

2. She used general election money for primary expenses.
Now comes the problem of her immense campaign burn rate, close to $75,000, mostly on a bevy of greedy, avaricious consultants and staffers-- no TV. She has been badly mismanaging her campaign funds and shouldn't be elected based on that alone-- even without getting into her refusal to answer voters' questions on policy or on her anti-family agenda of crushing retirees' dignity. One has to wonder why Josh Shapiro, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, is supporting a candidate with a clear pattern of ethical problems who is unable to manage money in a transparent way. This is what Philly area voters who read the Inquirer woke up to this morning: Margolies Seems To Be Losing Fundraising Race.
It turns out a visit from Bill Clinton isn't the only thing Marjorie Margolies needs to complete her political comeback. More money would help, too-- a lot more.

Campaign finance reports released this week show that Margolies, widely viewed as the front-runner to reclaim the congressional seat she lost two decades ago, was limping into the final stretch.

While most of her 13th District rivals boasted hundreds of thousands of dollars stored up by early March, Margolies had barely $5,000 left to spend on her campaign before the May 20 primary, according to reports she filed with the Federal Election Commission.

"I don't think Marjorie can do anything for the next couple of weeks. How's she going to pay staff? How's she going to pay rent? How's she going to buy postage?" said Dan Fee, a Democratic political consultant who is not affiliated with the race to replace Allyson Y. Schwartz in a district covering parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

Margolies' campaign had an additional $155,000 on hand, but it was designated for the general election, the reports show. Under federal law, candidates cannot spend or borrow general-election funds before the primary is over.

…[F]or the last two quarters, she spent more than she raised-- and she spent most of it in the office.

In the first three months of 2014, more than 77 percent of Margolies' expenses went to consultants and pollsters. Smukler, for example, has received $199,000 since June for media outreach, research, and general consulting.

Fee said that in a campaign of this size, candidates usually try to keep administrative costs to about 20 percent, and save the bulk of their cash for advertising.

"I would be shocked if [her campaign] can point to a single example of a nonincumbent winning when other people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV and they spend none," he said.

Lara Brown, associate professor at the graduate school of political management at George Washington University, said Margolies' spending patterns could turn off some donors.

"A burn rate like that starts to raise questions in donors' minds about why they should give you money," Brown said. "The first question that comes to mind is, how serious is this campaign? Does she really want to win, or does she simply want to essentially have her name out there again?"

Two of Margolies' opponents-- physician Valerie Arkoosh and State Sen. Daylin Leach-- have raised more than $1 million each and have more than $550,000 left to spend in the next month.

Both Arkoosh and Leach have reserved more than $400,000 worth of TV time in the two weeks before the primary. Margolies has not reserved any airtime, and would need a significant infusion of cash to do so.

State Rep. Brendan Boyle, running fourth in fund-raising, had $320,000 cash to spend on the primary in the first quarter. Boyle's fund-raising totals also appeared rosier on the surface than they were.

Nearly 15 percent of Boyle's total fund-raising came from in-kind donations, mostly from his staff and interns… No other candidates have listed a significant number of in-kind contributions, from themselves or others.
The primary is May 20th and Blue America has endorsed Daylin Leach. If you'd like to learn more about the substance of his campaign, here are a few posts we've run already. And here's the place where you can chip in to make sure he-- and not someone from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- is the nominee.

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At 4:02 PM, Blogger Phil Perspective said...

One has to wonder why Josh Shapiro, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, is supporting a candidate with a clear pattern of ethical problems who is unable to manage money in a transparent way.

Good question. You'd think he'd want to at least support a candidate who had a clue. It sounds like Shapiro is letting his ambitions cloud his judgment.

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MM and everyone else should be reminded that there is much more to being a Congressperson than holding the position, providing constituent service or being a sound “public servant” that puts a bill in the hopper and says ” Look at what I did. I did something. This is how I fight. See?” Congress needs members who will go to the mat for 1) broad-reaching, popular people-based progressives policies and purposes (this covers the political center), 2) organizes people and legislators, and 3) WORKS FOR PROGRESS. This Congressperson in the 13th CD is Daylin Leach. This orientation is incredibly valuable and is why he should be supported and voted for in the May 20th primary. Vote Daylin!

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Walter Ebmeyer said...

The trouble with primaries is that you have to vote against some good Democrats. But I'm sure I'm voting for Daylin. He is "The Liberal Lion"!

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Good luck in the primary race Daylin my vote is for you & Happy Easter guys.

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh Shapiro & Leslie Richards ran on clean government.
But with their support of mmm they clearly are saying that integrity is not something important to them in a public official.

I urge all to ask them if integrity is important to them when endorsing a candidate. If they say yes, ask them why they ignore....

...The obvious discrepancy between mmm's statement in the debate versus the records in the board minutes as reported in Huffington Post

...How a woman who ran an organization to empower women can claim ignorance to her husband's felonies

....The questions regarding paying advance expenses for the Clinton event not being on her filing

..And the ruling in her bankruptcy case

The Clinton's have a family obligation, but we deserve better!


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