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Hullabaloo


Sunday, July 28, 2013

 
Culture of corruption, Island edition

by digby

This would be shocking if it weren't so common among these New Dems:

A senior aide to Rep. Colleen W. Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) told his colleagues late last month that the nation’s top drug lobby had agreed to run a campaign supporting the congresswoman’s challenge to Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and wanted to coordinate it with her strategists.

Such an effort, described in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post, could run afoul of campaign finance laws, which prohibit candidates and their staff from substantial discussions with interest groups about their independent political activities.

Officials with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Hanabusa’s campaign denied that the group had offered to run such an effort but acknowledged talks about a possible fundraiser for Hanabusa and about the state of the race in general.

Campaign officials blamed the e-mail on a misinformed staffer.

“He made inaccurate assumptions about the type of help PhRMA could provide the campaign,” campaign spokesman Peter Boylan said.

Matt Bennett, a spokesman for PhRMA, said officials there did not offer to do a campaign on Hanabusa’s behalf. But he said the group had “preliminary” discussions about hosting an industry fundraiser for Hanabusa through its political action committee.

He also said that a PhRMA lobbyist had spoken with Jennifer Sabas, a top Hanabusa campaign adviser, but that they had talked only about the state of the Democratic primary campaign in Hawaii.

“They discussed the race and what’s happening on the ground,” Bennett said.

Boylan echoed that, saying Sabas did not provide PhRMA with any information “that would constitute coordination in violation of the law.”

But Clay Schroers, Schatz’s campaign manager, said the arrangement the e-mail outlines “is a deeply troubling situation, and Rep. Hanabusa clearly owes the people of Hawaii an explanation.”

The e-mail was sent June 28 from the Gmail account of Hanabusa’s deputy chief of staff, Christopher Raymond, to Sabas, Boylan and Rod Tanonaka, the congresswoman’s chief of staff. The Post obtained it from a person who received a copy and requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the contents.

The message described a practice that is often suspected but rarely revealed: interest groups coordinating their putatively independent efforts with the candidates they are backing.

“As I’m sure you have heard, PhRMA has committed to pulling together an independent expenditure on CH’s behalf,” Raymond wrote. “Nick Shipley (Government Relations VP) and Bob Phillipone (Senior VP) are the leads on this and would like to be put in touch with folks on the campaign. After having talked with Nick about this a little more, and based on our discussion, I came to the conclusion that is it the three of you the he would like to be in touch with. I am going to give him your email address so he can be in touch. I didn’t feel comfortable giving out your phone numbers.

“Should you be contacted by Nick or Bob please know they are good democrats,” he concluded.

Lulz. "Good Democrats." That's funny. More like "Good snake oil salesmen."

And I'm sure they know that New Dem Hanabusa will remember who her friends are when it comes time to sell out the people of her state. After all, she's got a proven record of doing that in the House.

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