Keeping your friends close

So ex-Iowa gov Tom Vilsack does his also-ran bit in the Democratic sweepstakes. He amasses little support, but a fair amount of debt. He bails out of the race. He throws his support to Hillary Clinton. Mirabile dictu, forty-five Clinton donors find it in their collective heart to pay off nearly $90,000 of his campaign debt. It’s all very tidy, in a Sopranos-ish kind of way.

Thinking that this arrangement seems seems all mobbed-up and generally wrong? How unsophisticated you are, says polisci guy Larry Gerston:

San Jose State University political science professor Larry N. Gerston, noting that such arrangements were not unusual, called it “a pretty good investment by Hillary Clinton,” given Vilsack’s standing among Iowa Democrats.

“He is a ‘name’ there, and that is a wide-open race,” Gerston said. “Is this anything new? It is not. Far be it from me to say it is wrong, because there are few wrongs. There are far more opportunities than there are wrongs.”

Far be it.

Goddamn, but I hate politics.

(Via Political Wire, and cross-posted.)

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13 Comments

Filed under 02_waveflux

13 responses to “Keeping your friends close

  1. Goddamn, but I hate politics.

    You and me both.

    My god, that’s shady. I mean, I don’t even really understand why the fuck that’s legal.

  2. Jay in Oregon

    I don’t think it should be illegal to pay another’s debts. But that is amazingly shady.

    Even if it were completely above-board — those donors really did like Vilsack and figured “hey, he threw Hilary an endorsement, I can throw $1,000 into bailing him out” — the intersection of politics and money automatically casts a shadow over it.

    Of course, I’d be willing to bet that this is child’s play compared to the tangled web of campaign financing that looms over the right side of the aisle…

  3. I don’t think it should be illegal to pay another’s debts.

    If it were personal debts, I would totally agree with you. I was more concerned with the idea that someone’s campaign debts could be paid off.

  4. If Vilsack is “handing off” his votes to the Hil, do their political beliefs mesh well, or is he just selling them out to the highest bidder? I think that would matter when deciding if this was a corrupt practice.

  5. nightshift66

    Aw, c’mon Phil, what’s a little quid pro quo between friends, capice?

    I agree that I would not outlaw this specific practice other than as part of a complete overhaul of the election laws. However, I’m pretty sure that it is already required under the law to disclose these arrangements, and with that disclosure law I agree. I do not, however, agree with ‘tu quoquo’ attacks even from the side with which I align. Pointing out that the Right is worse is not an answer to the charge of impropriety.

  6. christine

    When Vilsack dropped out and sided for Clinton, the next day Clinton offered to pay off all his debt. Vilsack refused at the time. At the time it really, really looked like ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. But, then everyone in Iowa knew from the get-go that Vilsack wouldn’t make it very far and that what he’s really after is one of three positions. The positions are VP, Sec of Ag, or Sec of Interior.

  7. Pingback: University Update - Hillary Clinton - Keeping your friends close

  8. eastsidekate

    Hillary, I will so kick your ass in New Hampshire if you don’t come up with 100k and promise me the Belgian ambassadorship.

  9. Can I blame my student loans on campaigning for Clinton and get some support?

  10. Jay in Oregon

    @eastsidekate:

    Just don’t ask to be the ambassador to France, as that might set off some alarms.

  11. Sounds practically Republican.

  12. Tom Vilsack? I believe yuo have spelled it wrong. Isn’t it supposed to be Tom Shitsack?

  13. If it were personal debts, I would totally agree with you. I was more concerned with the idea that someone’s campaign debts could be paid off.

    As long as it’s required to be public knowledge, I don’t think it should be illegal. I don’t see how that even makes sense. It’s certainly shady, because it makes it only technically different from Clinton using her own donated funds to pay off his debts. But making it illegal means making it either illegal to donate to more than one campaigns illegal to donate to a folded campaigns or illegal to gift someone with money. None of which make sense to me. But then, not my area of expertise.

    If Vilsack is “handing off” his votes to the Hil, do their political beliefs mesh well, or is he just selling them out to the highest bidder? I think that would matter when deciding if this was a corrupt practice.

    Well, I know of at least one former Vilsack campaign worker who is now working for Clinton’s. But I also know that was partly because he thought, of the two that offered him a job, hers was most likely to win. Make of that what you will.

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