Precinct 333

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Where Is The Liberal, Media Outrage?

Last week we were treated to Left-wing shouts of “Scandal!” when it was disclosed that Tom DeLay’s wife and daughter were paid for work by his campaign and a PAC with he founded. Those of us who defended the family were said to be ethically-challenged partisans who were circling the wagon.

So today, as the lone declared (as opposed to effective) Socialist in the House of Representatives is disclosed to have had the same arrangement for his wife and daughter, I’ll say it again – there is nothing wrong, legally or morally, for having family members on the payroll of the campaign or affiliated PACs.

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.

Approximately $61,000 of that was "pass through" money that was used to pay media outlets for advertising time, Jane O'Meara Sanders said in an interview. The rest, about $30,000, she kept as payment for her services, she said.

Carina Driscoll, daughter to Jane O'Meara Sanders and stepdaughter to the lawmaker, earned $65,002 in "wages" between 2000 and 2004, campaign records show.

Driscoll, a former state legislator, served as Rep. Sanders' campaign manager in 2000, his fund-raiser and office manager in 2003 and his database manager in 2004, according to Jeff Weaver, Sanders' chief of staff.

"Both of them are regarded as people who are knowledgable about Vermont politics," Weaver said Tuesday. "They earned every penny they got."

The practice is legal if there are actual campaign/political services rendered. That is the case with DeLay, and that is the case with Sanders. While the amounts vary, that is irrelevant. The fact is that there is nothing wrong with the practice at all – unless you want to apply the nebulous and ill-defined “appearance of impropriety” standard, which says it is an issue if somebody wants to make it one, but you can never know for sure if it is unless they do.

Like it or not, the family members of politicians often go into campaign/politcs related businesses. They are going to make money in the field, as is their right as American citizens. That goes for the Right and the Left. Deal with it.


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