Corrupt Politics, But No Charges

Filed in Delaware by on December 29, 2013

That is the title of the NJ article that tries to summarize the investigation that resulted in the recent report from special prosecutor E. Norman Veasey. If you are interested, you can also read the entire 101 pages of the report here (pdf). I haven’t finished reading the whole of the document, but here are a few thoughts:

1. This is mostly focused on the big events uncovered over the past several years — the Tigani business, the Zimmerman business and the Kemal Erkan business. They did, however, seem to have reviewed the Campaign Finance reports of other sitting politicians and it interests me that there wasn’t *more* here.

2. LLCs are really a toxic thing for campaign contributions and a toxic thing for campaigns. Yes, there is the contribution loophole, and yes the Markell campaign made use of it, and it seems that the Markell people had some information that should have caused them to reject these contributions. I get that these were just a few of the many contributions, but these were from the group of people that pretty much everyone in the state thinks have bought all of the politicians. Working the loophole may not have been illegal, but it sure looks corrupt no matter how you cut it. In previous reporting on Zimmerman, the NJ noted that he was frustrated enough to yell at a judge that he didn’t get anything for his contributions. Which is as it should be, but the fact that Zimmerman could try to use this as an explanation tells you what game he thought was afoot. This has got to come to an end.

3. Lots of explanations as to why there are no referrals for prosecution here and that is disturbing. I am not a prosecutor, so I’m sure Veasey’s reasoning is correct, but this doesn’t make the process look like it is going to get more transparent, cleaner or even more accountable. It just looks like business as usual will continue.

4. I wanted to know where the PIC and the Department of Elections was in all of this — and it seems as though the PIC is understaffed, underfunded and just not able to do the job it should. Still, I know that people here on this blog have picked apart campaign finance reports of some individuals, so I still wonder why NOTHING seems to be reviewed or enforced.

5. The Model Law recommendations are very interesting, and frankly, if I were Jack Markell and the Dems I would pick this up and make serious Campaign Finance reform a priority for next session. Understand that the reform committee is meeting and not yet done, but I think that the only clean way of addressing the corruption cloud is make campaign finance reform a priority and make everyone unfailingly accountable.

I’m sure there’s more and I’m still vacationing so may not get to read all of this for a few days. Let us know what you think about this report, and I’m especially interested in what those of you reading the complete report get from it.

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  1. John Young says:

    Jack Markell has not earned the right to make meaningful campaign reform for his successors.

  2. puck says:

    Markell accepted and encouraged illegal campaign contributions? Yet another example of his self-promoting antics. His ego and lack of management skills are on full display for all to see.

  3. cassandra m says:

    You forgot to say that this is just one more attempt to keep a white man down.

  4. anon says:

    It’s funny how this piece receives no comments or even an editorial from the paper. Corruption and no charges. Illegal activity and not a peep from the regulars. If this had been Stewart, Flowers or Kowalko there would have been a public hanging on Rodney Square. Sure there is no double standard. Embarrassing Delaware. Just embarrassing.

  5. puck says:

    The Flowers expense issue, ummm… pales in comparison with this Governor’s campaign contribution scandal.

  6. Truth Teller says:

    I didn’t vote for this Jerk of a governor so all you folks who did deserve what you got, The liquor guy is in jail for doing the same things why not these crooks?? just the Delaware way

  7. puck says:

    Now we know why other offices find it so easy to properly track their expenses: Their donors pay for everything.

  8. anon says:

    Good one Puck. Lol!

  9. cassandra m says:

    The AP’s (via the WaPo) reporting on Veasey’s report.

    A campaign finance investigation in Delaware has ended with an independent counsel finding no credible evidence that candidates for state office or their staffs knew about illegal campaign contributions.

    The 101-page report by independent counsel E. Norman Veasey, a former Delaware Chief Justice, was released Sunday. Veasey and his team spent more than two years investigating after he was appointed by Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden in 2011. More than 60 people were interviewed and thousands of documents examined during the course of the investigation.

  10. WDDE ‘s quotes from Elaine Manlove are discouraging for those of us who believe reforms are in order as a priority for 2014 –
    http://www.wdde.org/54871-campaign-finance-abuse-reports-delaware

  11. Turk 184 says:

    All very, very sad…….

  12. cassandra_m says:

    Manlove is right in that more transparency won’t necessarily prevent more abuse of the campaign reporting laws. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t make the process more transparent. People intent on abusing the system will do it — transparency means that there is a better chance that they’ll get caught at it. Or that voters will know where a candidate’s interests lie. And I’m not sure I understand the point of the employer reporting, either. It doesn’t tell you anything about collusion or reimbursement schemes. Disclosure of LLC partners can tell you about who is surpassing the legal limits of contributions, though.

    Lavelle weighing in to ALSO note that new campaign finance laws aren’t needed pretty much gives up the entire game. It’s a signal that the GOP is perfectly happy with less transparency too, and won’t be pushing the Democrats for anything better.

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