Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mark Udall: The Candidate Who Took Money from Jack Abramoff Firms

The Left in Colorado must be bitterly upset to learn that only one candidate in Colorado's U.S. Senate race has ever taken money from Jack Abramoff-associated firms, and that's Mark Udall:
U.S. Senate candidate Mark Udall took $1,500 in contributions from two firms that once employed disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Udall's campaign spokeswoman Taylor West said the donations from the companies' political-action committees to the Eldorado Springs Democrat's congressional campaigns were legal.

But, she said, Udall plans to donate the $1,500 to an organization in the Marianas Islands that assists victims of human trafficking.
Though we have reason to be skeptical about anything Taylor West says, if this is indeed true, it is the right thing for Mark Udall to do. It took him a long time to come around to it, though, seeing as the contributions were made in 2000 and 2002.

Better late than never. At least perhaps this story will begin to shut up the Big Blue Lie Machine's attempted slime job on Republican opponent Bob Schaffer. Maybe, just maybe, they'll stop trying to manipulate connecting the Abramoff dots and look for some other bit of gotcha politics to play. Mark Udall will want them to stop, lest it brings up this bit of unfortunate news again.


alan said...

If Udall's returning Preston Gates and Greenberg Traurig donations was "the right thing to do," then presumably you'll now be calling for Schaffer to return donations from Benigno Fitial and others linked to Abramoff's lobbying on behalf of the Northern Mariana Islands, won't you? You know, the direct and highly implicating links that you and Wadhams just kind of blink and pretend don't exist?

Not that I'm even beginning to address your factless wholesale denial and weak-minded obfuscation of the whole Schaffer/Abramoff controversy, but this is as good a place to start as any.

Ben DeGrow said...

Are you going to make the argument that money from Abramoff's firm and money from Abramoff's friends and acquaintances is equivalent? As it stands, this is a subjective discussion of which money is tainted by which person who was acquainted with someone else, etc.

If sins truly have been committed by either candidate in taking this sort of money in the past, isn't it just an acknowledgment that they did wrong but now repent? Would that stop your attacks on Schaffer, if he gave back all the money from people you didn't like?

If there was no wrongdoing on the part of either candidate in accepting these contributions - it was without any intent of wrong doing (& Taylor West said it was legal) - then what is accomplished by giving the money back now?

Unless accompanied by evidence that something illegal or unethical was done, the mere contribution says little or nothing. But you will continue to play on the perception of wrongdoing, just as Udall gave the money back out of feared perception of wrongdoing.

alan said...

Actually, you've made my point for me: this really isn't about the money. Dick Wadhams and his loyal shills (that's you) tried to make it about the money with this "revelation" about Greenberg Traurig/Preston Gates donations to Udall--but if Udall is "guilty" of something for receiving those contributions than so are dozens of other officials, most of them Republicans.

You're right about the money being perceptual and subjective--even though you and Wadhams hoped to use it as a shield against the real questions, which involve Schaffer's "Potemkin village" tour of the CNMI, and his subsequent official actions that were precisely aligned with the Abramoff strategy of stalling reform in the territory. This is about how Bob Schaffer, either willingly or negligently, abetted a scheme that deprived workers of basic rights (and even their unborn children) for the enrichment of Chinese nationals who wanted to manufacture their products in the same sweatshop conditions found in China while still being able to label them "Made in the USA." This is about Schaffer's unyielding and deeply troubling opposition to human rights reform in the CNMI, reforms which Udall co-sponsored repeatedly while Schaffer took parasailing trips to Saipan and declared the situation there a "model" for the rest of the country. This is about how Schaffer enabled a medieval nightmare of abuse and exploitation on American soil, a nightmare that is only now ending with a different majority party in Congress.

So yes, Ben, you bet, there's no "wrongdoing" in the acontextual act of accepting money from someone legally contributing it. Unfortunately for you, Dick Wadhams, and Bob Schaffer, though, the money is just one asterisk in a much larger story.

alan said...

Good form, Ben. You go right on ignoring comments you find uncomfortable. Ever noticed how we lefty bloggers generally don't moderate our comments? Ever wonder why?

It's because we, unlike you, don't fear honest debate.

Ben DeGrow said...

Sorry I didn't moderate your comment quickly enough, Alan. As to ignoring your comments, in case you haven't seen it:

Comment moderation is a safeguard to keep out profanity and libel. Your contrived sense of moral superiority is unbecoming.