PAC-Man Simmons Holds Stones, Eyes Glass House

From Politico, Rob Simmons is starting his fundraising where he left off, with lobbyists and Washington insiders:

Former GOP Rep. Rob Simmons has been positioning himself as a clean -hands alternative to Senate banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, who has been mired in mini-scandals surrounding his mortgages and the AIG bonus fiasco.

But Simmons has own connections to the banking and real estate sectors. An example — his March 31st “Meet-and-Greet” event at the National Senatorial Campaign Committee, which will be hosted by a handful of industry-connected lobbyists.

Listed on the invite: Quinn Gillespie & Associates execs Marc Lampkin and Dave Lugar, who both represent TARP recipient Bank of America, and Allison Giles, who works with the National Association of Realtors.

Plus there’s Breaux Lott lobbyist Bret Boyles, who represents Arsenal Capital Group, Chevron and Shell Oil.

The idea that Simmons is trying to portray himself has an outside reformer is almost laughable. As an incumbent, in the 2002, 2004, and 2006 cycles, he took more money in from PACs ($3,459,658) than he did from individuals (3,383,407)! His campaigns were a creation of lobbyists, PACs, and Washington insiders.

And that’s without even mentioning the nearly $50,000 in contributions he took from the FCI All-Stars Abramoff, DeLay, and Cunningham…

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52 responses to “PAC-Man Simmons Holds Stones, Eyes Glass House

  1. Nice of them to hold the event on 3/31, so we can get an extra 3 months of milking the point you’re making here.

    The new site will be http://www.joinrobsimmons.com, by the way. Still password protected.

  2. famillionaire

    The point of this post is not lost on me at all, but if I were advising Simmons I would tell him that this is a discussion I would love to have all campaign long.

  3. Take apart Chris Murphy’s fund raising too won’t you?

    Seriously; when did anyone ever see a state rep challenger receive more out of state donations than in state, and virtually none from in district?

    I’m confident that currently his efforts are even more “confusing”.

  4. Seriously; when did anyone ever see a state rep challenger receive more out of state donations than in state, and virtually none from in district?

    Murphy was elected to the assembly at 25. If I were to run for office now seeing as how I’m around that age, I too would rely on a lot of out of state contributions simply because those are the people I might know best at that time (i.e. college friends). It’s not like he was getting money from AIG and huge corporations; he was getting them from friends his age.

  5. Seriously; when did anyone ever see a state rep challenger receive more out of state donations than in state, and virtually none from in district?

    You are factually incorrect: Murphy raised 91% of his contributions from in-state donors in his first state rep race, and 97% of his contributions in-state for his second.

    1998
    http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=23997

    2000
    http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=24368

  6. he was getting them from friends his age.

    Really?

    I take it you took a look?

    Amazing how many people “his own age” went to school with his father and were in their 40’s and 50’s

    Equally surprising is how many folks he already knew from California.

  7. Rob keeping doing what you are doing raise the cash and work hard!!

    Dodd has been shaking down and threatening PACs for the last 20 years, it is finally catching up with him.

  8. You are factually incorrect: Murphy raised 91% of his contributions from in-state donors in his first state rep race, and 97% of his contributions in-state for his second.

    No – and you’re not including the questionable “paid volunteers” he enjoyed the last 2 weeks of the campaign (they came in by the busload (literally))

    Interesting you would post a link illustrating clear violations of what was then law wherby no one (including mom and dad) could legally donate more than $250 to an assembly candidate.
    MURPHY, CATHERINE & SCOTT L $750 2.89% Lawyers & Lobbyists

    The data doesn’t resemble the photocopies I collected at the SOS office that year either – which is pretty interesting too; and I wish to heck I had stashed those away now.

  9. I take it you took a look?

    I didn’t but mattw did and he absolutely OWNED you….

  10. No – and you’re not including the questionable “paid volunteers” he enjoyed the last 2 weeks of the campaign (they came in by the busload (literally))

    What does that have to do with your previous problem of how money was raised? Now you’re just pulling stuff out of you know where. Since when is a campaign not allowed to spend money on hiring staff?

  11. I didn’t but mattw did and he absolutely OWNED you….

    No – neither of you is looking at all the donations.

    Only those over 200 or associated with a specific trade/union/business group or sector are showing.

    Same with the incumbents records for the same period which, for example don’t list me, my wife, or others I recall from the time.

    That’s the weakness to all the online lookup sites.
    For example I donated around a grand to McCain but since I did it in a series of 100 – 150 donations (none over 200) my name doesn’t appear on any of the sites.
    Which is *why* I donated a series as opposed to larger lump sum; because once some GOP groups notice you..well your postman might ask for another route.

  12. Since when is a campaign not allowed to spend money on hiring staff?

    The campaign didn’t – and there’s the rub.

  13. Matt & Scanman; I notice neither of you seems to be interested in addressing this:

    MURPHY, CATHERINE & SCOTT L $750 2.89% Lawyers & Lobbyists

  14. famillionaire

    Matt & Scanman; I notice neither of you seems to be interested in addressing this:

    MURPHY, CATHERINE & SCOTT L $750 2.89% Lawyers & Lobbyists

    I don’t know for sure, but I would guess there were two $250 donations and then an in-kind donation of hosting a fundraiser. Since they counted “candidate contributions” as contributions, I would venture that they are treating all such forms of legal contributions under one banner.

    And ACR, though I know not about what you are talking specifically, you and I have both seen the ‘busloads’ of ‘volunteers’ come in for Dem and Rep candidates from all over (Remember the 50 or so kids working for Dandrow on election day in 2002?). Are they paid for this specific work? I can’t speak to all instances, but on the national level the more organized groups that can actually fill a bus are generally not going to risk their organizations or careers by breaking the law for a Congressional candidate.

  15. MURPHY, CATHERINE & SCOTT L $750 2.89% Lawyers & Lobbyists

    Are you sure those are Murphy’s parents? I don’t their names and they could be aunts/uncles…

  16. And ACR, though I know not about what you are talking specifically, you and I have both seen the ‘busloads’ of ‘volunteers’ come in for Dem and Rep candidates from all over (Remember the 50 or so kids working for Dandrow on election day in 2002?). Are they paid for this specific work? I can’t speak to all instances, but on the national level the more organized groups that can actually fill a bus are generally not going to risk their organizations or careers by breaking the law for a Congressional candidate.

    Exactly. That is just the nature of politics. Ryan Suerth’s campaign for state Senate this year had high school kids from outside the district holding his signs who didn’t even know if he was a Dem or Repub put knew they were getting paid cash to pollstand for like 7 hours in North Branford.

    Keep in mind: it’s hard to get diehard volunteers at the state level. Most people care about federal/national politics and would rather donate their time to the bigger causes because they feel more important. If you have to pay some kids to stand outside and hold a sign or bus in some friends from out of state, I don’t see the problem with that.

  17. I don’t know for sure, but I would guess there were two $250 donations and then an in-kind donation of hosting a fundraiser. Since they counted “candidate contributions” as contributions, I would venture that they are treating all such forms of legal contributions under one banner.

    I don’t know who they are — they also gave $1500 to Rowland that same year. It’s almost like… the legislature re-wrote campaign finance laws between 1998 and now! Go figure. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to find out.

  18. Are you sure those are Murphy’s parents? I don’t their names and they could be aunts/uncles…

    Yes.

    And 250 was the total limit, no in-kind stuff, none of that.
    250 per donor, period.
    The link absolutely exposes a violation.

    And ACR, though I know not about what you are talking specifically, you and I have both seen the ‘busloads’ of ‘volunteers’ come in for Dem and Rep candidates from all over

    Speak for yourself; I’ve only seen a BUS come in loaded for one candidate; and it was full of adults, not kids, not college kids – grownups.
    We’re not talking about rallies or something here; a busload of people that swept up and down streets, hitting every door; leafleted parking lots, etc.
    Nothing showed up on any subsquent reports; not the bus itself, nothing at all as if it never happened.

    (Remember the 50 or so kids working for Dandrow on election day in 2002?)

    Actually no I don’t remember that; but I’ll take your word for it,

    Are they paid for this specific work?

    There was no “street money” used at all in that campaign – not her style nor the fellow that ran the campaign’s.
    Aside from election night itself I’ve never seen a GOP campaign or the party (local on up) even buy a pizza; we all reach into our pockets and never burden a campaign with those expenses.
    Dems simply operate differently.

    for a Congressional candidate.

    He wasn’t – he was member of the PZC and was a candidate for state rep.

  19. If you have to pay some kids to stand outside and hold a sign or bus in some friends from out of state, I don’t see the problem with that.

    I don’t know of any Republican campaign that has ever done so though some surely have; but I’ve never run across it and I’ve played the game for over 40 years; stuffed my 1st envelope about 50 years ago (because my sister told me to.)

    To me it would be like getting paid to usher or teach Sunday School at church; I’d feel dirty taking the money.

  20. I don’t know of any Republican campaign that has ever done so though some surely have; but I’ve never run across it and I’ve played the game for over 40 years; stuffed my 1st envelope about 50 years ago (because my sister told me to.)

    Well even if you haven’t seen it, I think we can both agree that it has been done. As I mentioned above, Ryan Suerth did it in the 12th SD in ’08. I was going from polling place to polling place giving pizza to our volunteers and saw two high school age kids wearing Suerth tshirts. When I asked them if they wanted pizza from our campaign, they said they were all set but I struck up a conversation with them and they told me they were high school students from West Haven (outside the district) who were told they would be paid cash for standing outside all day. They didn’t know what party their candidate was from and didn’t know a single issue he was running on.

    It’s happening whether you’ve seen it or not.

  21. Ichabod Crane

    I have a question.

    Does Gabe contribute anything to this site besides hit pieces on Republicans?

  22. Turns out the $250 limit has been in place since at least 1974 — but applies separately to the primary and general periods:

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/ps99/rpt/olr/htm/99-r-1227.htm

    The couple made 3 donations of $250 each — two before the nomination (3/13 and 3/15), one after (8/17).

    http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/contributor_details.phtml?c=23997&d=232873318

    It’s not difficult to find plenty of examples of this — see the top two Dems and Republicans in the 1998 cycle:

    Moira Lyons (donors Toni Fatone and Len Miller)
    http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=23963

    Al Adinolfi (donors Robert Reihl, Frank Nastri)
    http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=23749

    Joseph Serra (donors James Streeto, Jouis Torelli)
    http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=24074

    Themis Klarides (donors Leonard Crone, Richard Savitt)
    http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=23942

    Anyway, I’d love to hear what SEEC tells you if you call them, ACR. Maybe you did find something, but if you did, you found it on a whole lot of people (and not everyone was so studious about having donations both before and after the nomination date.)

    And if what you say about your donations to McCain is true, he has violated the law — federal candidates must report any donations when the aggregate amount from a donor is over $200 in a calendar year.

  23. I don’t know of any Republican campaign that has ever done so though some surely have; but I’ve never run across it and I’ve played the game for over 40 years; stuffed my 1st envelope about 50 years ago (because my sister told me to.)

    Even RTC members in the 4th complain about Shays and his street money.

    Does Gabe contribute anything to this site besides hit pieces on Republicans?

    Depends on whether or not you’d call Joe Lieberman a Republican.

  24. famillionaire

    And 250 was the total limit, no in-kind stuff, none of that.
    250 per donor, period.
    The link absolutely exposes a violation.

    Sorry, that’s not true. You could make a cash donation plus an in-kind while hosting a fundraiser. I can’t find my old campaign finance books, but I know that’s the case.

    There was no “street money” used at all in that campaign – not her style nor the fellow that ran the campaign’s.

    Absolutely not what I was insinuating about Dandrow. I know who paid these kids in cash and it wasn’t the campaign. Some kids told me what was going on after that person gave them a good loud talkin’-to for not standing where they were supposed to and not handing out lit. I poll stood for hours with these kids that day as well as some good R’s who were upset at what was going on right in front of their eyes.

    Dems simply operate differently.

    C’mon ACR…you know that’s not true. Differently from you, maybe, but not differently in general when it comes to this topic. Don’t get me wrong, I despise all of that because it is a big root of corruption that continues to feed once the person is in office. I’ll say again, it is wrong no matter which party does it. And I have worked enough campaigns in this state and across the country to know that it is done by both parties with varying degrees of skill, underhandedness, criminality and just plain dumb stupidity (“I didn’t know you couldn’t do that!” has been said to me way too many times.)

  25. AndersonScooper

    Enough already!

    Can we please get back to the laugh of the day, which is that a Bush, D.C. insider Rob Simmons thinks he can get away with running as a populist change agent?

    Gabe has it nailed. What Rob Simmons cares about is getting back to the District, and its cocktail party circuit. It’s all about Rob, and Rob’s ego, and on the whole he’s as bad if not worse than that other exercise in vanity.

    If Simmons cared about the GOP, he’d get out of the way for the much more electable Caligiuri.

    But no, he’s off to the races, trying to raise as much cash as possible, even if it means turning to D.C. lobbyists….

  26. Does Gabe contribute anything to this site besides hit pieces on Republicans?

    Not that I’ve ever seen.

  27. C’mon ACR…you know that’s not true. Differently from you, maybe, but not differently in general when it comes to this topic

    See a lot of Republicans getting implicated for Acorn-like stunts have you?

  28. Sorry, that’s not true. You could make a cash donation plus an in-kind while hosting a fundraiser. I can’t find my old campaign finance books, but I know that’s the case.

    It would be listed differently under the old rules.

  29. C’mon ACR…you know that’s not true.

    Check out Rosa’s 1st race, her campaign bought two cars!

    Find me a Republican race where the candidate pulled a stunt like that.

  30. Well, ACR, let’s see what your friend does now that he is in the race….

    http://blogs.courant.com/capitol_watch/2009/03/sam-caligiuri-expected-to-anno.html

  31. Talking about donations, the Hartford Courant has a story of how AIG execs and their spouses were urged to give to Dodd as he expected to become chair of the Banking Committee.

    http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-chris-dodd-email-donations-0330,0,7052877.story

  32. AndersonScooper

    And PAC-Man Rob Simmons is going to reform business-as-usual in Washington D.C. how?

    This is the guy who took money from Tom DeLay. Whose PAC contributions in 2006 were greater than his individual contributions by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    If you ‘wingers think Connecticut voters will buy into Rob Simmons as the anti-Dodd, you’re dreaming.

  33. Listed on the invite: Quinn Gillespie & Associates execs Marc Lampkin and Dave Lugar, who both represent TARP recipient Bank of America, and Allison Giles, who works with the National Association of Realtors.

    So at his campaign event were two guys from a public affairs firm in DC that has represented one of the country’s largest banks. Yeah, I guess that makes Simmons’s dealings with industry insiders the same as Dodd’s.

    Notice the wording for Ms. Giles: she “works with” and not “works for”. That’s because Ms. Giles is not an employee of the NAR. She’s an employee of Quinn & Gillespie, and real estate isn’t even her specialty, it’s now healthcare. She probably did work on the NAR account in the past…

    I’m not a big fan of the realtor industry (they seem to use their position to keep their high monopolistic profits of 5% to 6%), but even if Ms. Gillespie was a direct employee of the NAR, why is that front page news? And why is the fact that this firm represents BofA a big deal?

  34. AndersonScooper

    I guess it’s not a big deal to hold D.C. fundraisers hosted by lobbyists and insiders….

    Unless you’re running as a supposed change agent.

    Rob Simmons is same-old, same-old. A Democrat-lite version of Chris Dodd. If Rob really cared about change, he’d be embracing the new guy Caligiuri. Instead he turns to his old D.C. buddies with the hope of building a big enough war chest to make this a fait accompli.

    Can one of you ‘wingers tell me why Connecticut should be eager to elect a 67yr old guy, to the party not in power, who will probably be dead in the grave before the GOP once again becomes the majority?

  35. who will probably be dead in the grave before the GOP once again becomes the majority?

    Arlen Specter recently showed us that you don’t need to be in the majority to be powerful (see card check).

    I guess some of us just want an elected official like Rob Simmons that doesn’t steal, cheat and lie.

  36. Can one of you ‘wingers tell me why Connecticut should be eager to elect a 67yr old guy, to the party not in power, who will probably be dead in the grave before the GOP once again becomes the majority?

    I remember reading about someone who ran against Strom Thurmond and used the “he’s old and about to die” argument. The opponent was about 30 years younger than Strom. Strom won the election. Then the other guy died a few years later. Strom lived another 20 or 30 years…

    But seriously, 67 is not that old. I have no reason to believe that Simmons is not mentally astute. And yes, if he wins, he’ll be in the minority party in the Senate (based on the seats that are up in 2010, there is no way the Republicans will retake the Senate. Zero chance. They could pick up a few seats, sure, but they can’t come close to retaking it. There will be no repeat of 1994 in the Senate).

  37. See a lot of Republicans getting implicated for Acorn-like stunts have you?

    Worse — in California, the GOP pays per piece, and re-registers people against their knowledge using clipboards that they claim are petitions for school funding or other things. They’ve actually been found guilty of genuine fraud that impacts real people.

  38. Check out Rosa’s 1st race, her campaign bought two cars!

    Find me a Republican race where the candidate pulled a stunt like that.

    Shays pocketed money every campaign by renting *his* car to the campaign — for something like $15,000 per cycle.

  39. Shays pocketed money every campaign by renting *his* car to the campaign — for something like $15,000 per cycle.

    No fair, I said find a Republican.

  40. No fair, I said find a Republican.

    You guys nominated him.

    I understand your sentiment — I just can’t figure out why Republicans never seem to handle this kind of thing at the primary or the convention.

    I may not like that Lieberman is still a U.S. Senator, but from an internal housekeeping perspective, it sure is satisfying to know that he lost his primary. And hell, it might even be fun to have him try to run again, if just for sport.

  41. AndersonScooper

    GMR–
    “Rob Simmons could be CT’s Strom Thurmond!”
    Now that’s a bumper-sticker I could sport proudly…

    ACR–
    Simmons is now speaking loudly against the admittedly imperfect stimulus bill. In fact he is now saying he would have voted against it.

    Well how about your boy Caligiuri? Would he have voted with Obama, or against Obama?

    My guess is Sam won’t have the balls to say what he would have done, for fear of alienating any of the Rabid Right base.

    Am I wrong?

  42. BTW, ACR, I responded with links to your assertion about the over$250 donations, but it’s been stuck in moderation for the last 7 hours.

  43. Well how about your boy Caligiuri? Would he have voted with Obama, or against Obama?

    He’s never voted for a tax increase and was the only member of the CT senate to vote “no” on the last budget.

  44. AndersonScooper

    Great non-answer ACR.

    The stimulus package was not a tax increase, nor was it part of the CT budget.

    Would Caligiuri have voted for the Obama stimulus package, as imperfect as it was? Or would he have stood with Mitch McConnell in 100% opposition to the new President’s plan?

    Do you really think the CT press is going to allow you guys to play fast and loose on this type of stuff? (even though I understand you GOOP’ers run chicken when it comes to showing your true colors).

    With the President on his plan to fix the economy? Or against the President, like a partisan Rob Simmons?

  45. AndersonScooper

    Bawk! …Bawk, Bawk, Baw-w-w-k!

  46. Bottom line is that most any federal elected official is going to need raise cash, and of that necessity, raise cash from someone/something that will later prove to be a liability.

    For Simmons to paint himself as the White Knight untainted by “nasty” political fundraising is laughable.

  47. For Simmons to paint himself as the White Knight untainted by “nasty” political fundraising is laughable.

    rex,

    I’m not sure that’s Simmons’ campaign mantra. I think it’s has more like, “I never used my public service to violate the public’s trust.”

    can Dodd say the same thing? I guess Dodd could say it but is it believable?

  48. With the President on his plan to fix the economy? Or against the President, like a partisan Rob Simmons?

    I would hope the latter. The President’s economic plans are jokes. Firing CEOs and then demanding the headless company come up with a suitable plan in 30 days? Insisting that companies thrive by doing what they do worst? Threatening bankruptcy if they fail to pare down their operations AFTER doling out $35 billion in relief, when bankruptcy is the easiest and cheapest option for making a company smaller and more efficient? (Boldly stating that the American government will warranty cars produced by bankrupt companies?!?) It’s like they’re taking common sense and throwing it out the window, at every single opportunity.

    More importantly, what about his blind faith in Tim “Only the Little People Pay Taxes” Geithner? Where does his “sorry, buddy, you’ve still got the job” quote rank next to Bush’s “Brownie, you’re doing a heckova job”?

    The stated “urgency” on bailing out companies like AIG and the Big Three was that a “failure” of any of them would be catastrophic. What proof do we have that a failure would be any worse than the status quo?

  49. AndersonScooper

    Dobbs, love how you try to morph the stimulus package into the bailout, (which was the Bush bailout, btw.)

    My question was easy. Does Caligiuri join you ‘wingers, and Rob Simmons, in claiming that the President’s stimulus package was a mistaken idea?

    Would Caligiuri have voted against the legislation, imperfect as it was?

    The CT GOP is too partisan to stand with the President, even on matters as important as the economy, that’s obvious.

    The question will be, “What do CT voters want?” Representatives who stand with the President, or Representatives who stand against him?

  50. Dobbs, love how you try to morph the stimulus package into the bailout, (which was the Bush bailout, btw.)

    Some of the bailouts were Bush bailouts, some of them are Obama bailouts, but all of them are Congress’s bailouts. Either way, they’re all wrong. Let these companies fail, and let the bankruptcy courts pick up the pieces. That’s why we have a Bankruptcy Code. Also, the talk of economic Armageddon is ridiculous. If the failing companies perform a worthwhile service that can make money, someone will step up and fill the void in the market. If not, adios. That’s the way this country works.

    The question will be, “What do CT voters want?” Representatives who stand with the President, or Representatives who stand against him?

    Connecticut voters will vote with their wallets, period. They always do. Even Presidents who were extremely popular at one point in their terms have been given very short leashes when times are tough (see Ford, Carter, Bush 41), and Presidents who have been unpopular have sailed to reelection when things are going well economically (see Clinton, Bush 43). If things don’t improve, “Hope and Change” will be the theme in 2012, too.

  51. Moderated? Really? For this?

  52. Dobbs, love how you try to morph the stimulus package into the bailout, (which was the Bush bailout, btw.)

    Some of the bailouts were Bush bailouts, some of them are Obama bailouts, but all of them are Congress’s bailouts. Either way, they’re all wrong. Let these companies fail, and let the bankruptcy courts pick up the pieces. That’s why we have a Bankruptcy Code. Also, the talk of economic Armageddon is ridiculous. If the failing companies perform a worthwhile service that can make money, someone will step up and fill the void in the market. If not, adios. That’s the way this country works.

    The question will be, “What do CT voters want?” Representatives who stand with the President, or Representatives who stand against him?

    Connecticut voters will vote with their wallets, period. They always do. Even Presidents who were extremely popular at one point in their terms have been given very short leashes when times are tough (see Ford, Carter, Bush 41), and Presidents who have been unpopular have sailed to reelection when things are going well economically (see Clinton, Bush 43). If things don’t improve, “Hope and Change” will be the theme in 2012, too.

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