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Use of campaign funds to pay family members

Beltway Buzz has some interesting facts on the Tom DeLay family payments from campaign funds, how common (and legal) the pratice is, and how Much Barbara Boxer, Bernie Sanders, et al, have paid their wives or children (much more than DeLay), just in case CNN fails to mention this. Boxer paid her son $150,000 in 2002, for example, while Bernie Sanders paid his wife and stepdaughter over $150,000 since 2000.

Discussions - 9 Comments

Is there some deeper layer of argumentation here, something besides grotesquely partisan sniping? So, above and beyond whether DeLay could be nailed for this or not, do you feel that the practice of paying family members from campaign funds is ethically and morally acceptable? If so, then why bother to even point out the extent to which Dems engage in the practice? To me, the practice seems reprehensible, regardless of what political party the person belongs to.

Also, I have to say that I was surprised that no blog posters here at NLT found this WashPost article , or at least the conservative conference which it discussed, to be worth a mention. Especially since it’s about conservative leaders meeting in Washington to discuss "judicial tyranny," impeaching Supreme Court justices (Justice Kennedy, in particular), and the courts’ power to review religious displays, the Pledge of Allegiance, same-sex marriage and the Boy Scouts. Phyllis Schlafly was there to remind fellow conservatives that, when it comes to judicial tyranny, "The people who have been speaking out on this, like Tom DeLay and Senator Cornyn, need to be backed up." No disavowal here of Cornyn’s disingenuous "concern" that more judges will be killed if they don’t start making proper judgments. It’s time to storm the courthouse with torches and pitchforks!

Oh, BUT THIS IS THE BEST PART. Constitutional lawyer and author Edwin Vieira spoke at the conference and invoked Joseph Stalin as inspiration for a solution to the aforementioned problem of "judicial tyranny.":

"Vieira continued by saying his ’bottom line’ for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: ’no man, no problem,’" Vieira said.

"The full Stalin quote, for those who don’t recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." So, no incitement to violence here, right, guys????

The article states that Vieira delivered the Stalin line twice "for emphasis." The writer also notes that this wasn’t exactly a group of Ann Coulter’s frothing fans:

"This was no collection of fringe characters. The two-day program listed two House members; aides to two senators; representatives from the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America; conservative activists Alan Keyes and Morton C. Blackwell; the lawyer for Terri Schiavo’s parents; Alabama’s "Ten Commandments" judge, Roy Moore; and DeLay, who canceled to attend the pope’s funeral."

In addition to these folks, Michael P. Farris, chairman of the Home School (isn’t this a big cause for Mr, Knippenberg here?) Legal Defense Association, was there to target Kennedy as a likely "poster boy for impeachment." For heaven’s sake, even one of your Claremont darlings, William Dannemeyer was in attendance!

But if a conservative using Stalin quotes to make his point doesn’t get your collective pet goat, then perhaps nothing will. After all, you have pie "assaults" to fret about!

But let us remember that this is a "story" from the "Washington Post". Catch the drift?

Oh, I get it, "jesse fan." I guess the Post writer just fabricated Vieira’s Stalin quotes from whole cloth. Those people never met, never had a conference. How strange!

Frank, who were the speakers at this conference? They were mostly people toward the fringe, which probably explains why no one at NLT particularly cared. You should see it as a good sign that most conservatives ignore their extreme bedfellows, rather than embracing and lauding them the way the left embraces extremists like the crowd. Who the hell is Edwin Vieira? I don’t even know. By contrast, the most extreme members of the left are well-known and influential beyond their small number.

Don’t be obtuse, Ohio Voter. DeLay was still happy to deliver the welcome message via video (He had to attend the funeral of that anti-Iraq War nut Pope John Paul II), and I believe he’s House majority leader. Or is that a fringe character for you now?
And the lawyers for Schiavo’s parents, Judge Roy Moore, Alan Keyes, and (arguably) Phyllis Schlafly are some pretty big names, especially at this point in time. I KNOW there has been some cheering here at NLT for Judge Moore and the Schiavo parents’ lawyers.

Like I said, who the hell is Edwin Vieira? You are the one being obtuse. Some unknown speaker makes a comment at an event primarily featuring the fringe (to use your examples, a judge removed from office by a state AG from his own party; a thrice-failed Senate candidate; and the head of a small and uninfluential interest group) and you act like it’s the end of civilized society. I wonder how much outrage you showed when moveon ran ads on their website comparing Bush to Hitler, or when Al Gore gave speeches in front of a giant mushroom cloud, or when a bunch of socialists got together at Yale last weekend to discuss the "need" for a new Constitution. Please. If it makes you feel better to nitpick incidents of right-wingers saying stupid things, go ahead. It won’t change the fact that right-wing crazies are small in number, but the nut jobs completely dominate your party. The voters have obviously figured this out already.

"your party"???? You assumed wrongly, pal. I’m no Democrat. But as long as you’ve initiated the guessing fun, I’d guess that your and Vieira’s views on the judiciary are not very different; perhaps you take a milder approach for the solution to the "tyranny." As for my examples of the conference participants, I also highlighted Tom DeLay - is the House majority leader a right-wing crazy on the fringe, or not?

Did Tom DeLay invoke Joseph Stalin, or did Edwin Vieira? You are really reaching by trying to hold DeLay accountable for something said by someone else, at a conference he did not even attend. Maybe if he had been there, he would have reacted the same way you have. How do you know, other than guessing?

I don’t think McCoy is trying to hold DeLay ACCOUNTABLE for Vieira’s comments. He just pointed out that it wasn’t some small-time meeting of John Birchers in a guy’s rec room; the conference was much more mainstream than that. The article says that after Vieira made the Stalin reference, the audience laughed. Somehow, I can’t see DeLay standing up all of a sudden and exhorting Vieira to have some restraint and decency - especially since DeLay has made some quasi-threatening remarks of his own regarding the judiciary!

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