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Old 02-28-2004, 02:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
Cracking the Whip
 
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Another Kerry Article - Kerry rips execs, then takes their money

This is the best the Dem's can field?

Or is it all in the name of "beat Bush"?

When do you become so much like the man you want to beat that there's no difference?

I mean, at least with Bush you knew he was from Oil money and was in tight with the energy industry and he never pretended otherwise.

But it seems that Kerry is willing blow smoke up his followers rears and he expects them to like it.

------------------------------------------------
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4375999/

Kerry donors include ‘Benedict Arnolds’
Candidate rips tax-haven firms, but takes execs' cash



Chris Hondros / Getty Images
Sen. John Kerry campaigns Wednesday in St. Paul, Minn.



By Jim VandeHei

Updated: 12:34 a.m. ET Feb. 26, 2004Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, frequently calls companies and chief executives "Benedict Arnolds" if they move jobs and operations overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

But Kerry has accepted money and fundraising assistance from top executives at companies that fit the candidate's description of a notorious traitor of the American Revolution.

Executives and employees at such companies have contributed more than $140,000 to Kerry's presidential campaign, a review of his donor records show. Additionally, two of Kerry's biggest fundraisers, who together have raised more than $400,000 for the candidate, are top executives at investment firms that helped set up companies in the world's best-known offshore tax havens, federal records show. Kerry has raised nearly $30 million overall for his White House run.

Kerry has taken aim at "Benedict Arnold" companies as part of a much broader political and policy debate over stemming the flow of well-paying U.S. jobs overseas, a chief cause of unemployment, especially in the hardest-hit manufacturing sector. Kerry's solution, detailed in a speech yesterday in Toledo, is to enforce trade agreements, track and slow the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, and stop government contracts and tax incentives from going to companies that move operations or jobs offshore.


• More politics news


Kerry has come under attack from President Bush, as well as some Democrats, for criticizing laws he voted for and lambasting special interests after accepting more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years. Some Democrats worry that Kerry is leaving himself open for similar attacks on the latest issue.

Given the vast sums raised during the presidential campaign as well the growing number of companies with offshore operations, it seems almost inevitable that candidates would receive contributions from some of them.

Bush has taken exponentially more from these companies than Kerry, though the president has not made a major campaign issue out of clamping down on them.

'Not to my knowledge'
On Monday, Kerry was asked why two of his biggest fundraisers were involved with "Benedict Arnold" companies. "If they have done that, it's not to my knowledge and I would oppose it," Kerry told a New York television station. "I think it's wrong to do [it] solely to avoid taxes."

Then he sought to clarify his position: "What I've said is not that people don't have the right to go overseas and form a company if they want to avoid the tax. I don't believe the American taxpayer ought to be giving them a benefit. That's what I object to. I don't object to global commerce. I don't object to companies deciding they want to compete somewhere else.''

David Roux, who has raised more than $250,000 for Kerry since 2002, is co-founder of a California company that helped purchase Seagate Technology Inc. four years ago and incorporated it in the Cayman Islands, one of the world's best-known tax havens. Roux described himself in an interview last fall as the "anchor tenant in John Kerry's fundraising mall."

While the State Department lists Seagate as among the companies that reincorporated offshore to save on taxes, Roux said yesterday that he works for a "global" company forced to make "thoughtful" business decisions about where to locate its offices and jobs. Roux said he does not consider Seagate or himself a "Benedict Arnold." That term, Roux said, "is, like many things in politics, a label that [was] meant to cover a lot of sins."

Stephen J. Luczo, chief executive of Seagate, has contributed $4,000 to Kerry, the maximum allowed under law, and $2,000 to the candidate's legal defense fund. Luczo was on vacation and not available for comment, according to his assistant.

Thomas F. Steyer, who said he has raised around $200,000 for Kerry, is partner at a California investment firm called Hellman & Friedman LLC that helped set up an insurance company in Bermuda, another popular tax haven. The insurance company -- Arch Capital Group Ltd. -- stated in a 2000 Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was sinking roots in Bermuda to reduce its U.S. tax bill.

Steyer said that it "wasn't my decision" to set up the company in Bermuda and that he now spends less than 10 percent of his time at Hellman & Friedman. "I believe American citizens should pay their American taxes," Steyer said. He said he "absolutely" does not consider himself part of a "Benedict Arnold" enterprise.

Defining the phrase
Steyer and Roux have hosted fundraisers for Kerry and are listed by his campaign as among three dozen supporters who have "bundled" $100,000 or more each, which means they get credit for packaging individual donations to reach that total.

When asked for the definition of a "Benedict Arnold" company or CEO, Stephanie Cutter, Kerry's spokeswoman, said: "Companies that take advantage of tax loopholes to set up bank accounts or move jobs abroad simply to avoid taxes." She pointed to a list compiled by Citizen Works, a tax-exempt nonprofit group that monitors corporate influence, as a source of the companies that fit the candidate's definition.

According to federal election records, Kerry has received $119,285 from donors employed at what Citizen Works described as the "25 Fortune 500 Corporations With the Most Offshore Tax-Haven Subsidiaries." The list does not include nearly all of the companies that shave their tax bill by moving jobs and operations overseas, so Kerry has actually raised substantially more from firms qualifying as "Benedict Arnolds."

'Crystal clear'
Kerry has also received $20,100 in donations directly from individuals at companies with mailing addresses offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes, records show.

"Senator Kerry has made it crystal clear that he's going to close these loopholes, forever," said Chad Clanton, a Kerry spokesman. "Nothing will stop him. Period."

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), whose campaign gets most of its money from trial lawyers, has not described these companies in such harsh terms and has received less from them, Federal Election Commission records show. Edwards took in $500 from a Tyco International Ltd. employee and $75,000 from the 25 Fortune 500 companies with the most offshore-tax-haven subsidiaries.

Staff writer Dan Balz and researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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Old 02-28-2004, 02:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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*crosses fingers*

I wasn't going to bother to vote, but maybe I should vote for Kerry when my states primary comes around

The debates alone will be amazingly funny. To say Kerry has the personality of a dead horse is to be unkind to dead horses.
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Old 02-28-2004, 03:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Daily Howler has already ripped this article apart, but here's one from slightly more mainstream CBS News.

Quote:

Defining Special Interests

Republicans call John Kerry a hypocrite for vowing to cleanse the White House of special interests. They make three arguments. The first is very weak. The second is pretty weak. The third is strong, but it contradicts the first two.

The first argument is the simplest: Kerry takes money from special interests, too. Last week, the Bush campaign released a Web video titled "Unprincipled, Chapter 1." Kerry, the video charged, takes "more special interest money than any other senator." That's based on a January 31 Washington Post story, which noted that Kerry "has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years."

But the Post figure is misleading because it ignores the fact that Kerry has largely eschewed money from political action committees (PACs), a major source of funds for most of his colleagues. When you combine money from paid lobbyists and PACs -- which makes sense, since they're both conduits for "special interests" -- Kerry actually ranks ninety-second out of 100 U.S. senators. That doesn't make him pure, but it makes him purer than most serious candidates for the White House. And it puts him on a different planet from President Bush, who accepted more money from lobbyists last year alone than Kerry has in the last 15.

The second argument is that Kerry is a hypocrite not just because he has received money from special interests, but because he has repaid them with favors. In a February 7 column, New York Times columnist David Brooks noted that Kerry urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to help a woman with ties to the Chinese military list her company on the U.S. stock exchange -- and got a fund-raiser in return. Brooks says Kerry also supported a contracting loophole for the insurance company American International Group, which repaid him with donations. The Post, ABC News, and the Center for Public Integrity have cited similar stories.

Let's stipulate that Kerry has occasionally helped out his financial backers -- sometimes at the public's expense. Brooks says this makes Kerry's attack on special interests "phony." But virtually every governor or member of Congress -- which is to say, virtually every presidential candidate -- has raised money from people with an interest in legislation and at some time or another has written a letter, or voted for a bill, on their behalf. In the 2000 GOP primary, Bush even argued that anti-special interest crusader John McCain was tainted by "all those fund-raisers with lobbyists" he had held during his years in the Senate. And Bush was partially right.

By defining special interest influence so broadly that it encompasses any person who could realistically seek the presidency, Bush's defenders erase any distinction between the president and his critics. But some politicians serve special interests more than others. And there are ways, however crude, to measure that. For most industries seeking subsidies, tax loopholes, or regulatory exemptions, there are watchdog groups trying to stop them. For example, when politicians do favors for oil, mining, or timber companies, environmental organizations usually object. When they do favors for pharmaceutical or telecommunication companies, consumer groups object. These organizations may not always espouse the right policies, but they are a good barometer of how beholden a politician is to corporate special interests.

As it happens, they don't consider Bush and Kerry to be equally corrupted. Kerry's lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters is 96 percent. By contrast, the League gave Bush its first ever "F." Gene Kimmelman, senior director of public policy and advocacy for the nonpartisan Consumers Union, chides Kerry for not aggressively supporting competition between cable companies (telecommunication firms are among Kerry's biggest funders). But he says that, "overall, he's been a strong consumer champion." The nonpartisan Consumer Federation gave Kerry a lifetime rating of 85. As for Bush, Kimmelman says his "administration has bestowed enormous benefits on the largest corporate entities at the expense of consumers' safety and pocketbooks."

But why aren't environmental and consumer groups themselves special interests? The third critique of Kerry is that his definition of special interests excludes those that support him. In a February 15 column titled "THE 1ST 28 QUESTIONS FOR KERRY," George Will wrote, "Other than denoting your disapproval, what does the adjective mean in the phrase 'special interest'? Is the National Education Association a special interest? The AFL-CIO? ... Is the National Rifle Association a 'special interest'? Is 'special' a synonym for 'conservative'?"

Will makes a good point. When Kerry refers to special interests, he is clearly referring to corporations. As he said on the night he won the Iowa caucuses, "I'm running to free our government from the grip of the lobbyists, the drug industry, big oil, and the HMOs. ... I'm running so you will have a president ... who will take on the powerful special interests." Will implies that, while Kerry may be opposed to these special interests, he is indebted to other ones -- in particular, environmental groups and labor unions.

But, if Will's critique is correct, Brooks's must be wrong. You can't accuse Kerry of being just as beholden as Bush to "the oil companies, the HMOs, and the drug companies" (Brooks's words) and simultaneously accuse him of being beholden to the environmental, consumer, and labor groups that oppose those companies. The truth is that Bush, like most Republicans, is more influenced by corporate "special interests," and Kerry, like most Democrats, is more influenced by non-corporate "special interests."

You can argue that Kerry's selective use of the term is fair. After all, if an interest is "special" because it is narrow, then Bush's backers deserve the term more than Kerry's, since big companies represent a narrower group of people than labor, environmental, or consumer groups. (There are exceptions: The GOP-leaning National Rifle Association and Christian Coalition have broader memberships than the Democratic-leaning trial lawyers.)

But, ultimately, the semantics don't really matter. Rather than screaming about who is more indebted to special interests, the Kerry and Bush campaigns should simply admit that they have ties to different ones and defend their associations. The president, I suspect, would have the harder time.


So yeah, 92nd of 100 senators in bringing in special interest money. What an asshole.
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Old 02-28-2004, 05:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If everyone else does it, does it make it right?

No.
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Old 02-28-2004, 06:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by seretogis
If everyone else does it, does it make it right?

No.
So why does the tilted right only feel it necessary to condemn john kerry?

Helllloooooo? Halliburton and big oil? Ken Lay helping to form energy policy? Too bad kerry is the only hypocrite we need to mention in dc, right?

Last edited by filtherton; 02-28-2004 at 06:36 PM..
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Old 02-28-2004, 06:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
Illusionary
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
*crosses fingers*

I wasn't going to bother to vote, but maybe I should vote for Kerry when my states primary comes around

The debates alone will be amazingly funny. To say Kerry has the personality of a dead horse is to be unkind to dead horses.
Well, he can at least, use big words and hold a conversation with someone of modest intellect, without embarassing himself.
I agree, the debate will be quite entertaining.
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Old 02-29-2004, 08:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: NJ
Quote:
Originally posted by filtherton
So why does the tilted right only feel it necessary to condemn john kerry?

Helllloooooo? Halliburton and big oil? Ken Lay helping to form energy policy? Too bad kerry is the only hypocrite we need to mention in dc, right?
Perhaps it's because Kerry is making this a key plank in his platform? I know that's why it bugs me. Hearing him rail against special interests to the cameras while gratefully accepting their money behind closed doors does not exactly inspire me to think of him as a leader. If he was truly against it he'd be #100 out of 100 because he wouldn't take the money at all.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparhawk
The Daily Howler has already ripped this article apart, but here's one from slightly more mainstream CBS News.



So yeah, 92nd of 100 senators in bringing in special interest money. What an asshole. [/B]
Am I talking to myself here? He takes in special interest money, like all Senators. But only 8 take in less than he does.
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Old 02-29-2004, 02:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Obviously sparhawk, they criticize because they hate the man. No amount of reasoning can quell the fires of unbridled hatred that many obviously feel towards john kerry.

R:"So your saying that since everybody does it it's all right?"

L:"So why only pick on kerry, why won't the tilted right acknowledge the lack of integrity in their own party's politicians?"

R:"Well, kerry says taking money is wrong and he still does it, so he needs to be singled out"

To which i might ask, are you aware of the irony in calling one politician out for lacking integrity whilst implicitly excusing the lack of integrity showed by the politicians in your own party?

Anyone backing bush ought to shy away from the "my guy has more integrity than your guy" line of criticism.
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Old 02-29-2004, 03:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparhawk
Am I talking to myself here? He takes in special interest money, like all Senators. But only 8 take in less than he does.
So why does he take it at all then SH? Why not say no to ALL of it if it is so vile?
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by onetime2
So why does he take it at all then SH? Why not say no to ALL of it if it is so vile?
To answer your question. Because he would have no chance whatsoever of running for "ANY" office in this country, unless he was extremely wealthy. Thus the need for finance reform.
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Old 02-29-2004, 05:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by onetime2
So why does he take it at all then SH? Why not say no to ALL of it if it is so vile?
Actually, the answer is which special interests he takes money from.

Obviously, Kerry is taking money from different special interest groups than other people and his disdain for "special interest" money is directed at groups he (and his supporters) think are not beneficial for the people he represents.

Is labor a special interest group? Is M.A.D.D. a special interest group? What about Exxon?

All of these can be classified as a special interest group, but to claim someone is a hypocrit because he or she accepts money from concerned mothers but doesn't think a particular oil company cares about the best interest of the people or the environment is an attempt to obfuscate the issue that corporate special interest groups are undermining our political process.
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