The New York Post’s front page story today is on the conflict of interest arising from guests on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC show “Hardball” contributing to his wife’s Congressional campaign. Kathleen Matthews is vying for the open seat in Maryland’s 8th District.
From the Post:
“The political action committee for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) gave $10,000 to Kathleen’s campaign on June 20, 2015 — two days before Gillibrand appeared on ‘Hardball.’…Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) contributed $1,000 on Jan. 11, 2016, one day before she was interviewed on the program…Chris Matthews’ guests, their spouses or their PACs donated $79,050 as of Dec. 31 — about 5 percent of the $1.5 million Kathleen had raised as of then…At least 11 of the donations came from guests after they appeared on Matthews’ show.”
This seems damning, but rest assured, she needs that money to get elected so she can impose spending limits on future campaigns. The top issue on her campaign website is campaign finance reform, which reads, in part:
“I support pragmatic campaign finance reform that would bolster the influence of small donors through a federal matching funds program and I would curb anonymous donations through greater transparency and reporting requirements. I also support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United that would allow Congress to bypass the Supreme Court and impose campaign spending limits… In her campaign, Hillary Clinton has proposed additional measures, which I support, to enhance the voices of engaged citizens who can’t write big checks, including a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose their campaign contributions to shareholders.”
This is typical Democrat candidate platform. The irony, of course, is we already have the transparency Democrats claim we so desperately need. We don’t need an amendment, legislation, or any sort of government action to promote transparency; we have Opensecrets.org, a “Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy.” Searching for “Kathleen Matthews” in Opensecrets.org reveals:
“Like Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest, Matthews — a former local TV anchor who became a Marriott International exec and is married to MSNBC host Chris Matthews — is the pick of the Democratic establishment. That’s abundantly clear from scanning the names that turn up in her FEC filings. She has the highest number of donors who once had voting privileges in the House or Senate — former Reps. Vic Fazio, Harold Ford and Martin Frost and former Sens. Tom Daschle and John Breaux, to name a few. She has entertainment industry celebs like Barbra Streisand, Rob Reiner and Ed Begley. And she has drawn the support of a boatload of people tied to the White House of President Bill Clinton: former chief-of-staff Mack McLarty and his wife; Bob Bennett, the lawyer who represented Clinton in his dustup with Paula Jones; former Treasury Department official Roger Altman; former Commerce Secretary William Daley; and Don Baer, who was a senior adviser to Clinton…She also has the corporate crowd sewn up, with gifts from the likes of Keneth Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express, and Ursula Burns, who holds the same positions with Xerox. And let’s not even get started on the hotel industry’s enthusiasm for filling her coffers — cash has rained down not just from Marriott executives and family members, but from Jim Abrahamson, CEO of International Hotels and Resorts; Starwood Hotels CEO Adam Aron; Jonathan Tisch, chair and CEO of Leow’s Hotels; boutique hotelier Ian Schrager and many, many more. Ted Leonsis, the owner of several professional Washington sports teams including the Wizards and the Capitals, is also in the cast…One indication of Matthews’ popularity with muckety-mucks: She has101 donors who report that their title is “founder,” “president,” “CEO” or “chairman” of their place of employment. Raskin comes in second with 64, Kumar Barve with 62 and Will Jawando with 37. Granted, anyone can incorporate and call themselves a CEO, but the entities listed by Matthews’ donors tend to be household — or at a minimum around-the-Beltway — names.”
Matthews is not putting her money where her mouth is (pun intended). Despite Matthews’ on-air disclaimers that he will not use his position to promote his wife’s run, nobody should be surprised at this “scandal.” Chris Matthews has been a part of the DNC establishment for decades. He was on the staffs of several Democratic Congressmen, a speechwriter for President Carter, and chief of staff to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill. The real conflict of interest is not payola via “Hardball.” It’s a candidate benefiting from the very things the rails against. If the dreaded “Citizens United” decision is so immoral, unethical and oppressive of those of us not plugged into the power structure, why doesn’t she lead by example?
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