Thursday, October 12, 2017

Can one really ‘give back’ a campaign contribution once money was spent?

Let’s say one thing up-front; the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein probably is a pig!
Weinstein still has his Oscar

The reports are coming out about how Weinstein has treated various women – including many who appeared in the films he produced. We may hear in coming days of more and more actresses willing to admit publicly of things they were pressured to do for Weinstein’s gratification.

BUT THERE’S ANOTHER thing we’re going to see a lot of in coming days – political people trying to rewrite history in ways that would make it appear they never relied on Weinstein’s financial support to get themselves elected to office.

For Weinstein throughout the years has been one of the big-money interests who has supported Democratic Party candidates for high-ranking office across the nation. It was supposed to be evidence that Weinstein was a “progressive-minded” guy with high-minded ideals on many social issues.

Now, we have many political people checking their campaign finance records to see how much money they ever received from Weinstein – and are now going out of their way to publicly make charitable contributions of their own for identical amounts.

Just a couple of examples include Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. – both of whom would like for us to believe they never took Weinstein’s money.

OBAMA: $61,900

WORKING ON WOMANHOOD is a Chicago-based group that has received $10,900 from Emanuel, and will get another $2,000 in the near future. The larger figure is the total of two donations Weinstein made to Emanuel mayoral campaigns, while the $2,000 is for a donation Weinstein made to an Emanuel congressional campaign back in 2004.

The Chicago Sun-Times also reported that $1,000 will be donated to the American Red Cross by Durbin – an effort to erase the contribution Weinstein made back when Durbin first ran for the U.S. Senate back in 1995.

Now before anybody thinks I’m trying to single out Emanuel or Durbin for abuse, keep in mind that I realize this is a common tactic by political people who certainly don’t want to be tainted by their ties to someone who later turns out to be scummy in nature.
EMANUEL: $12,900

There have been many charitable organizations used by government officials to try to erase their potential sins-by-association. I’m sure the organizations were able to put the money to good use.

BUT JUST AS I always thought right-wing idiots who wind up taking money from white supremacists or other leeches on our society shouldn’t be able to erase their stain so easily, I’m not sure that anybody should be so quick to dismiss the Weinstein affair.

What we really need is an honest accounting of his behavior and efforts to try to raise the level of conduct in our society so that we stop harassing women just because. Merely giving up some money that came from campaign contributions seems like a lazy effort to make the problem “go away” without doing anything to make it actually go away.
DURBIN: $1,000

Besides, my own gut feeling is that the money donated to campaigns by Weinstein certainly got spent years ago. Trying to give it away now doesn’t erase the fact that there was a Weinstein impact to the past elections.

It seems like a lazy response to a very real problem.

WHAT WE NEED is for people to speak out with more than their campaign wallets. Take former President Barack Obama (whose own presidential re-election campaign of 2012 received over $61,000 in Weinstein donations) – he and one-time first lady Michelle issued their statement denouncing Weinstein’s behavior and saying, “We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories.”
TRUMP: Saying as little as possible about issue

Which stands out compared to the thoughts expressed on behalf of our current president. Donald J. Trump admitted recently that he knew Weinstein personally, and was “not at all surprised” to hear such stories.

Of course, Trump himself probably can’t go farther in being critical of Weinstein because there are many tales out there of pre-presidential Trump behaving in a boorish manner – many of which he told about himself throughout the years during appearances with broadcaster Howard Stern.

Which is just as much a problem as those elected officials who think they can make a perception problem go away by “returning” money they really spent years ago.


No comments: