Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boxer-ing Day

You may recall my complaining earlier about the revelation that CA GOP candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, once donated money to *shudder* Barbara Boxer. I may have even said that such an act was a sign of shocking political naivete from someone who would lead a wholesale reform of CA government. Whitman has been the victim of a steady drumroll of critical stories concerning her spotty voting record and her endorsement of certain Democrats (as if members of the CA media could give a damn about that). Hugh Hewitt engages in a heroic bit of deconstruction of a typical "She Didn't Vote!" story that ran in the "Sacramento Bee": Fun With "Journalists," Sacramento Bee Edition
Two things stood out in the McIntosh piece that raised very red flags. Those flags got bright red indeed when I called McIntosh this morning and he wouldn’t answer any questions about the piece. “We are not going to discuss sources on any story,” he huffed, and then sent me on to his editor Amy Chance. When I got Chance on the phone and asked some very basic questions about the article, she became very defensive, demanded to know if I had gotten my information from the Whitman campaign, and then after objecting that I had called her cold, told me she needed to get back to a meeting and hung up on me. I’ll play the interview on today’s program.
Go ahead and read the whole thing, but the essence is that the reporter and editor ran a thinly sourced story that could have easily been written about Nancy Pelosi or Dianne Feinstein, if the "Bee" actually cared.

But what was really interesting was the very important question of Whitman's relation to Boxer. Whitman admits to donating to Boxer in 2003 specifically because Boxer was "good" on the issue of internet taxes (never mind that she was bad on everything else). But, Whitman also knows something about her rival Steve Poizner:

I also asked Bounds about the Whitman 2003 campaign contribution to Barbara Boxer, and whether Whitman had contributed to Boxer’s campaigns in 1996 and 1990.

“No,” he responded. “As it has been reported in several news sources dating back to 2003, as CEO of eBay Meg joined other Republicans and Barbara Boxer to fight against internet taxes. This decision was good for Silicon Valley, good for eBay and good for Californians. Meg only contributed to [Boxer’s] 2004 re-election campaign and 94-percent of her contributions have gone to Republicans, a significantly higher percentage than Steve Poizner.” (emphasis added)

Ooooohhhh! Hewitt does some more digging: Steve Poizner's Contributions to Democrats
I asked the Poizner campaign for a response and got two e-mails from Press Secretary Jarrod Agen. The first:

Steve’s contributions to Republicans is over 91%, without including more than $3.5 million that Steve has given to conservative propositions in California.


I followed up and inquired about where the 9% had gone, and got this response:

Steve attended two Gore fundraisers with his wife, who is a Democrat, in 2000. Those events accounted for $1k to Gore and $10k to the DNC.

Steve’s wife also wanted to give to the 2000 recount, so Steve made a $10K contribution to the recount in 2000 from their joint checking account.

Finally, in February of 2001, Steve and his wife attended an event for Kerry’s Senate campaign which accounts for $2k.

As Hewitt says, now we know that Poizner and Whitman have donated scraps of money to Democrats, but that won't help us decide who is best positioned to win a state-wide election and lead a much-needed reform effort.

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