“The appearances are terrible.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which concluded in March, raised many questions about what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to interactions between presidential campaigns and foreign entities. And a March visit to Romania by Brad Parscale, manager for President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, is being scrutinized by legal experts in a Washington Post report by Michael Birnbaum and Ioana Burtea.
In Romania, Parscale delivered a paid speech to Romanian politicians and policy experts. Doing so, according to the Post’s report, is perfectly legal as long as Parscale does not do any lobbying in the U.S. on behalf of foreign clients without registering. But the political figures the Post interviewed expressed different views on how advisable it is or isn’t for a presidential campaign manager to be accepting money from foreign entities.
Richard Painter, who served as an ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, was critical of Parscale’s actions, telling the Post, “The appearances are terrible. You would certainly think that a campaign manager would not take money from foreign nationals in this political environment.”
Kayleigh McEnany, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, told the Post that Parscale’s speech in Romania was fine because he was doing so “as a private citizen” and “followed the Trump campaign’s approval process governing invitations for outside speaking engagements.” But Republican political strategist John Weaver, who worked on the presidential campaigns of George H.W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, was critical of Parscale’s speech in Romania and told the Post, “I’ve never heard of anything like this before. There are too many opportunities where there could be potential conflicts between a presidential campaign and the policies that the candidate could espouse and potential income. It is a conflict-of-interest zone that you just never enter into.”
Trevor Potter, president of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, was critical as well and told the Post, “It appears the Trump political organization has learned nothing from 2016 about the dangers of senior campaign personnel’s entanglement with foreign money.”
Nonetheless, Romania is a former Eastern Bloc country that has enjoyed friendly relations with the U.S. since the 1990s. After the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s notoriously oppressive communist dictatorship in 1989, Romania became a democracy and went on to join the European Union (EU) in the 1990s and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004. Romania still has its own currency, the leu, but is expected to adopt the euro as its currency during the next decade.
Parscale, according to the Post, made “little reference to Romania” during his speech and spoke about the United States’ presidential campaigns of 2016 and 2020. When he was asked about current U.S. policy toward NATO, Parscale declined to comment and told the Romanian attendees, “That’s way too policy for me. I don’t work for the administration.”
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Watch: McConnell Blasts GOP ‘Candidate Quality’ as He Admits Democrats Likely to Keep Senate
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a surprising admission Thursday: the GOP’s candidates running for Senate may not be good enough for Republicans to take control of the chamber he once led as Majority Leader.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell responded when asked at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his projections for the upcoming November elections, as NBC News reported.
“Senate races are just different,” he explained. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell added, wrongly.
The country is not 50-50.
According to a Gallup poll conducted over a three week period in July, 28% of Americans identify as Republican, 29% as Democratic, and 41% as independent.
Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, “candidate quality” is definitely a challenge for the GOP.
There are 35 Senate seats up for (re)election in November, 14 are held by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Possibly sensing the headwinds five GOP Senators and just one Democratic Senator are not running for reelection and are retiring.
The GOP pulling cash out of races it may think its candidates cannot win.
“As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan,” Politico on Monday reported.
Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight currently shows Democrats have a 64 in 100 chance of retaining the Senate, a number that’s been growing: On July 22 it was 50-50.
Watch Leader McConnell below or at this link:
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate … Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does not sound too confident in Republicans’ ability to retake the Senate pic.twitter.com/XK8G451i01
— The Recount (@therecount) August 18, 2022
Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report
Like nearly every candidate for elected office, entrepreneur and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the Republican Party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, has been giving speeches since he announced his run for office. Unlike nearly every candidate for public office, Walker has been charging for those speeches.
Not entrance fees for an audience to hear him speak, but actual speaking fees, paid by lobbying groups and even non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia.
And he’s racked up big money doing it as a declared candidate for elected office.
The fees he says on his disclosure form he’s received range from $12,000 to $60,000.
After having served as a U.S. Senator and then as a U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was flogged by Republicans for giving paid speeches after leaving the Obama administration, during the time she was a private citizen and far from declaring any intention to run for office.
But Walker is making money as a candidate for elected office, according to The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberg.
A lot of money.
“Herschel Walker—who has so far only agreed to participate in the one debate that provides topics in advance—has earned $569,000 in speaking fees since Jan. 2021,” Sollenberger reports, citing Walker’s financial disclosure.
“More than half” of that $569,000 “came after he launched his Senate campaign last August.”
That means Walker has raked in well over a quarter million dollars while a declared candidate for public office.
NCRM examined Walker’s annual SEC filing, dated August 15, 2022. It lists his declaration of candidacy for office as August 24, 2021.
In February of this year Walker was paid $60,000 by the University of North Texas for its Kuehne Speaker Series. Last year, before officially declaring as a candidate for office Walker was paid $35,000 by the All Sports Association, and $25,000 by the Boys & Girls Club of Gainesville, Georgia.
These payments and many others – 21 in total – are listed under the section titled “Honoraria Payments or Payments to Charity in Lieu of Honoraria.” The filing asks, “Did any individual or organization pay you or your spouse more than $200, or donate any amount to a charity on your or your spouse’s behalf, for an article, speech, or appearance?”
Walker answered “Yes.”
The filing asks, “Who received payment?” For each of the 21 entries Walker indicated “Self.”
Under “Activity,” each response was “Speech.”
There are many others.
Three days after officially declaring himself a candidate Walker was paid $35,000 by the Texas Bankers Association. A few days later $20,000 by the Georgia Realtors Association. $35,000 in October by the Baldwin County Community Drug Foundation.
In December of last year the Atlana Journal-Constitution reported Walker is “the richest man in Georgia Senate race.”
“U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is worth somewhere between $29 million and $65 million, and he pulled down about $4 million in income from late 2020 through late 2021, according to financial disclosures he filed late Wednesday,” the paper reported.
“About $400,000 of his earnings were from speeches he delivered to over a dozen groups, including charities such as the Boys and Girls Club that paid him as much as $27,000,” the Journal-Constitution confirmed at the time.
Walker, who was the subject of great controversy after The Daily Beast revealed in a series of reports that Walker, despite criticizing Black men for being absent fathers, has three secret children, and says he lied to his own campaign about their existence. In addition to his adult son, a popular social media influencer. One of the three is an adult but the other two and young children.
Walker has also taken money for speaking to anti-abortion organizations.
“He was paid $20,000 in October to speak to the Mid City Women’s Clinic in Hurst, Texas, and $27,000 in November to speak to the Pregnant Choice medical group in Augusta. Both are among a network of clinics that seek to deter abortions.”
Image: Screenshot via Facebook
Trump’s Fundraising Off Mar-a-Lago Raid Hit $1 Million a Day – and It’s Still Higher Than Usual
When Donald Trump announced that the FBI was raiding Mar-a-Lago his fundraising operation went into high gear, and produced tremendous results: up to $1 million a day, and still trending higher than usual more than a week after federal agents removed 20 cartons including at least 11 sets of classified materials.
“Contributions to Trump’s political action committee topped $1 million on at least two days after the Aug. 8 search of his Palm Beach, Fla., estate, according to two people familiar with the figures,” The Washington Post reports, calling it a “cash bonanza.”
“The daily hauls jumped from a level of $200,000 to $300,000 that had been typical in recent months, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss nonpublic information,” The Post adds, noting more than 100 fundraising emails have been sent. “The donations stayed unusually high for several more days and are still above average, both of these people said, though they have leveled off in recent days. There are more contributors than usual, these people said, and the average donation has climbed.”
Describing the Mar-a-Lago themed fundraising emails as a “firehose,” The Post offered some examples: “THEY BROKE INTO MY HOME,” “They’re coming after YOU,” and “THIS IS INSANE.”
“One message included a poll asking, ‘Do you agree that President Trump is being politically persecuted?’ Another promised ‘an exclusive 1300% MATCH today only!,’ a common tactic used to encourage people to respond immediately.”
The Daily Beast last week reported Trump’s “campaign wants to cash in on his Florida residence being raided by FBI agents. ‘My home, Mar-a-Lago, was raided by the FBI,’ an early Wednesday morning fundraising email stated. ‘These are dark times for our Nation,” the message continued. ‘WITCH HUNT,’ another email sent out by Trump’s Save America PAC declared, while soliciting donations.”
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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