The website is called “KeepingGOPHonest” and it touts itself as part of the “Truth Team,” “paid for by Obama for America.” The site features a gloves-off critique of the business morals and backgrounds of some wealthy and prominent contributors to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. Is this just another campaign tool? Not so, suggests one pundit who sees a disturbing reflection of former President Richard Nixon’s hit lists.
The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel
recently made the comparison in an editorial:
“Richard Nixon's ‘enemies list’ appalled the country for the simple reason that presidents hold a unique trust. Unlike senators or congressmen, presidents alone represent all Americans. Their powers—to jail, to fine, to bankrupt—are also so vast as to require restraint. Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice. Save Mr. Obama…”
Despite such criticism, no one has yet pulled the plug on the site, which boldly hammers away at some of the more high profile Romney supporters. Here’s some of the pitch, from the KeepingGOPHonest website, word-for-word:
"As the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney is relying on a cadre of high-dollar and special-interest donors to fund his campaign. Giving information about his real policy intentions and high-level access for cash, Romney and Republicans are working hard to pull in as much money as they can from wealthy lobbyists, corporations, and PACs. But just who are the people that Romney has called on for campaign cash?
"A closer look at Romney’s donors reveals a group of wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records. Quite a few have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of many Americans, and still others are donating to help ensure Romney puts beneficial policies in place for them. Here’s a look at just a few of the people Romney has relied on:
"Donors who benefit from betting against America
"Paul 'Chip' Schorr: Paul Schorr has given $112,500 to Romney’s presidential ambitions through Super PAC and direct campaign donations. As a partner at Blackstone, Schorr closed a deal in 2007 to outsource the services of seven U.S. companies to a firm in India, boosting that firm’s profits by $220 million and making millionaires of the Indian management team. In 2006, he arranged a buyout of a Colorado travel reservations company that led to 841 layoffs while Blackstone and its partners recouped the billions of dollars they invested in less than a year.
"Sam and Jeffrey Fox: Sam and Jeffrey Fox serve as co-chairman of Romney’s finance operation in Missouri and, together, have donated $220,000 to Romney’s presidential ambitions. They also control the Harbour Group investment firm which bragged about buying automotive accessories manufacturing company in Kansas in 1997 and moving production to Mexico. In 2002, the Harbour group’s Mexico operation decided to outsource to China because China was 'offering incentives and making it easy to open operations there.' The Chinese government awarded Sam Fox the Marco Polo Award for “his company’s role in China’s economic development and his humanitarian contributions to that country.
"T. Martin Fiorentino: T. Martin Fiorentino is on Romney’s Florida finance team and has bundled over $140,000 for the Romney campaign. He also lobbied on behalf of Lender Processing Services, a 'foreclosure mill' that paid him to lobby on legislation aimed at preventing lenders from 'making loans that borrowers would have difficulty repaying.' The government has reprimanded Lender Processing Services “for unsound practices related to residential mortgage loan serving and foreclosure processing.
"Romney’s stances on social and economic issues, like his long-standing alliance with Big Oil, attracts the contributions of high-dollar donors who are interested in pursuing a specific agenda. Here are just a few of special-interest donors that Romney is taking money from:
"Louis Moore Bacon: An early mega-donor for Romney, Louis Moore Bacon donated $500,000 to the Restore Our Future Super PAC. Bacon makes his profit off of oil, first making a huge profit from successfully betting that gas prices would rise before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1989. Bacon’s firm, Moore Capital, was fined $25 million for attempting to manipulate certain commodity futures markets.
"Thomas O’Malley: Thomas O’Malley is the CEO of PBF Energy, America’s fourth-largest petroleum refining company, and gave $100,000 to Restore Our Future. Not only did PBF energy help drive gas prices up this year by curtailing gas production, but it spilled 6.6 million gallons of oil at a refinery in New Jersey. The release of toxic gas and eventual explosion at another of its refineries in Delaware also directly contributed to a spike in gas prices.
Kent Burton: Kent Burton is one of Romney’s new bundlers who raised more than $25,000 in one month for Romney’s campaign. He is also a registered lobbyist for a wide array of energy clients, including Marathon Oil and Shell Oil.
Frank Vandersloot: Frank Vandersloot is the national finance co-chairman of the Romney campaign and, through his company Melaleuca, has donated $1 million to Restore Our Future. He is also a “litigious, combative, and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement” who “spent big” on ads in an “ultimately unsuccessful effort to force Idaho Public Television to cancel a program that showed gays and lesbians in a favorable light to school children.”
“These are wealthy individuals, to be sure, but private citizens nonetheless,” admonishes Strassel. “Not one holds elected office. Not one is a criminal. Not one has the barest fraction of the position or the power of the U.S. leader who is publicly assaulting them.”
Strassel goes on to cite an expert: “We don't tolerate presidents or people of high power to do these things,” says Theodore Olson, the former U.S. solicitor general. “When you have the power of the presidency—the power of the IRS, the INS, the Justice Department, the DEA, the SEC—what you have effectively done is put these guys' names up on ‘Wanted’ posters in government offices.”
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