November 06, 2006

Dave Reichert For Alaska

The FEC database is curiously addictive for reasons I can't explain. In the throes of some serious insomnia, I decided to click through Dave Reichert's contributions. Reichert's a Republican, so it isn't surprising that Wal-Mart's PAC has contributed $10,000 to his campaign fund since he was elected. It isn't particularly surprising that Patricia Herbold, a founding member of the Club For Growth who was rewarded by Bush with an ambassadorship to Singapore, earmarked $2000 to go to him through another committee.

But Reichert, who has so far managed to avoid the Alaska corruption taint to hit the campaign of fellow Republican Mike! McGavick, may have gotten off undeservedly. McGavick was found to have taken money from VECO energy corporation executives currently under FBI investigation in a major corruption scandal involving Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and several members of the Alaska State Legislature who called themselves, and I am not making this up, the Corrupt Bastards Club.

Another of the Alaska politicians to take money from VECO is Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who has a political action committee called the Midnight Sun PAC. One of their donors, Daniel Aronoff of Michigan and CEO of Landon Companies, contributed to Young's campaign and then his PAC after a $10 million federal earmark to study a freeway interchange near property owned Aronoff in Florida. Another Midnight Sun donor, Tom DeLay's shady brother, Randolph.

And there's a whole passel of contributions to the Midnight Sun PAC from executives and mining interests in Arkansas, as handily explained in an Anchorage Daily News review of Rep. Young's pay-to-play tenure as chair of the transportation committee:

... Young, famous for his annual pig roast fundraiser at a Veco executive's home and his crab feed in Washington, D.C., has no trouble stacking up checks from Alaska to Arkansas.

In fact, road builders, doctors and others in Pine Bluff, Ark., are among the most generous donors to Young's re-election campaign. Looked at by ZIP code, the list shows that more money comes from two sections of Pine Bluff than from any ZIP code in Anchorage, Fairbanks or anywhere else in Alaska.

... Just months after a flurry of donations from Arkansas reached his campaign account and his separate Midnight Sun political action committee last year, Congress passed a six-year transportation bill with more than $415 million set aside for special projects in that state. Alaska got about $1 billion for earmarks in a transportation budget bill unusually fat with money for special projects.

... In Arkansas, the earmarks included $72 million to extend Interstate 530 in the southeastern part of the state from Pine Bluff toward Wilmar. There's also $35 million to widen the street leading to Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, in the state's northwest corner. ...

And, of course, Midnight Sun also took in over $27,000 from a Bill J. Allen, now CEO of VECO.

Reichert's first campaign took in $2000 from Midnight Sun, while in 2005, they contributed over $4300 to his re-election fund. That's quite a cast of people to be taking money from while playing the silver-haired Boy Scout. But that shouldn't be surprising either. Dave Reichert, as his advertisements claim, has had plenty of experience. He just doesn't seem to have developed good judgement from any it.

Posted by natasha at November 6, 2006 04:39 AM | WA Politics | Technorati links |