Thursday, October 28, 2010

Minnick: Buying His Seat... Again?

In all of the lies Congressman Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) and his campaign have employed in his re-election bid, the image of a man desperate for success and power has emerged. He has lied about his military service record, he has lied about his track record as a businessman, and he has lied repeatedly about his opponent's position on immigration (attacking him more for being Hispanic than being an immigration attorney). No matter how misled Idaho's voters have become due to the lack of fact-checking by the Idaho press and the active attempt at deception by Minnick's campaign, one thing has always been perfectly clear: Walt Minnick believes that with enough money he can buy his seat in Congress.

Still further proof that Minnick believes money can buy him power and influence, the 1998 publication Environment and Politics says that as CEO of Trus Joist International, Walt Minnick bought his seat on the board of the Wilderness Society. According to this source, $250,000 was sufficient for the purpose of buying a seat on the board of directors:

(Source: Doyle, Timothy and Doug McEachern. Environment and Politics. New York: Routledge, 1998.)

In 2008, while campaigning for the 1st congressional district seat that he now occupies, Walt Minnick, the progressive candidate that in no way resembles his 2010 self, touted his service on the board of directors of the Wilderness Society. His progressive, environmentally astute beliefs and positions were attractive to Democrats and some moderate Republicans. Little did we know then, he had "put up" $250,000 to secure that seat on the Wilderness Society board. It leaves a person wondering if he ever did hold progressive views on the environment or if being on that board was only politically convenient. Ever the opportunist, what's $250,000 to a millionaire like Minnick?

In July, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had a 20-1 money advantage to the Tea Party's Joe Miller. Lisa Murkowski lost the Republican primary to Joe Miller despite her final 10-1 fundraising advantage. When Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) lost his bid for nomination for re-election in that strange state Republican convention, he had raised $3.5 million. His opponent, Mike Lee, beat him for the nomination with a mere $128,000 raised before the convention. And in Delaware, Republican Congressman Mike Castle lost to Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell despite his $1.5 million campaign spending. Christine O'Donnell had raised $230,000.

A little closer to home, in the Republican primary for Idaho's 1st Congressional District, GOP front runner and "establishment candidate" Vaughn Ward had a 6-1 money advantage over Raul Labrador and lost in spectacular fashion. If this election cycle has taught us anything thus far, it is that a fund raising advantage does not mean what it has in the past--a sure win.

Walt Minnick may have gotten away with paying his way on to the progressive pleasing Wilderness Society Board, but not even Minnick can buy a seat in Congress.


Jared said...

Today was the first day of this campaign cycle that I actually thought Walt Minnick might lose this race. As it became clearer that Republicans would win the House, it just seemed odd that ID-1, which Cook rates at R+18 or so, would not change hands. Looks like the shear breadth of the wave looks to take out Minnick too.

If Raul Labrador wins, that essentially guarantees 4 straight competitive election cycles. The partisan makeup of the district hasn't really changed. It's just no one can hang on to the seat!

YJ Draiman said...

“Transparency and accountability is my motto”

In order to change direction, we must change the leaders and their staff

Decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world for many generations into the future. Ensuring that decisions being made about our energy, water, and natural resources are sustainable is central to this belief. This also applies to political, financial and economic decisions that affect/obligates current and future generations.