Republicans have announced that their convention will be Sept. 1-4.
Democrats had already set their dates for Aug. 25-28, just after the 2008
Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Republicans invited more than 30 cities to make a bid: Anaheim, Calif.;
Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver;
Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Kansas City, Mo.; Memphis,
Tenn.; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York; Orlando,
Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.;
San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis, Mo.; and Tampa.
Iowa Democrat scandal
Harkin & Vilsack caught up in web
Sen. Tom Harkin -- who normally shucks and jives the public better than most
politicians -- has really put his foot in it this time. Harkin has been
connected to a job training pay scandal. Federal officials are investigating
the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium for what state auditors
allege are excessive salaries paid to top officials. CIETC paid Chief
Executive Officer Ramona Cunningham $795,384 over the past 2 1/2 years,
making her one of the highest-paid public officials in Iowa.
How Harkin stepped in it is by saying that he was unsure whether the
principal in the scandal -- Cunningham -- had met with his staff or with him
at his Washington office, or whether he had met her at one of his regular
constituent breakfasts. However, the training center is named after
Harkin because he sent so much money to CIETC. Also, there was a big picture
of Harkin and Cunningham embracing on the training organization’s website.
Harkin normally would have said how he was just working to help bring poor
people out of poverty and the goals of the organizations were noble; etc…
This time he went for the ," I don’t know these people and got caught."
Look for him to pick up his normal jive about how he is fighting for the
little guy. Of course, that winds up being some bureaucrat taking our money.
Speaking of getting caught. While all of this was going on back home, Iowa
Governor Tom Vilsack was away at the Pennsylvania convention of the AFL-CIO
where he opined that President Bush was incompetent and derided Republicans
as corrupt. Ironically, during his speech Iowa was learning that Vilsack's
administration was trying to cover up the pay scandal at his Workforce
Vilsack had appointed his old Democrat buddy Sen. Richard Running to be the
head of the agency. Running’s underling Jane Barto tried to call off federal
investigators last year as they began an inquiry into excessive salaries at
In November of last year, Kelly Taylor, a budget analyst for Iowa Workforce
Development, called federal officials about what to do about the excessive
salaries. He then talked to his boss James Quinn, then the chief financial
officer of Workforce Development, informing him that the CIETC salaries were
not reasonable. Quinn then talked to the Department of Labor official in
Chicago and was informed that Iowa Workforce Development should file a
request for an investigation by the inspector general.
When this was then brought to Barto’s attention, she called the Department
of Labor saying that Iowa would handle the investigation. They did not.
The difficulty for Vilsack is that this incident involves the South Side Des
Moines Democrats who somehow deliver large quantities of absentee votes for
Democrats and non-profits
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-VA) seems to be in trouble with five of his
non-profit organizations according to the New York Times. Mollohan earmarked
a $103 million to go to one of his non-profits, the Institute for Scientific
The most ambitious effort by the congressman, Alan B. Mollohan, is a
glistening glass-and-steel structure with a swimming pool, sauna and spa
rising in a former cow pasture in Fairmont, W.Va., thanks to $103 million of
taxpayer money he garnered through special spending allocations known as
The headquarters building is likely to sit largely empty upon completion
this summer, because the Mollohan-created organization that it was built
for, the Institute for Scientific Research, is in disarray, its chief
executive having resigned under a cloud of criticism over his $500,000
annual compensation, also paid by earmarked federal money.
It is reported that Mollohan earmarked $250 million to some five non-profits
that he set up. Several Republican leaders have called for Mollohan's
removal from the House ethics committee, where he is the senior Democrat.
21 months to Iowa
Chris Cilliza’s column
"The Fix" in the Washington Post is titled "The Friday Line: 21 Months
The big news is that another Bushie signed on with Sen. George Allen (R-VA)
and that person is Mary Matalin.
The odds on "The Fix" seem to have changed for two candidates. One is
Governor George Romney (R-MA) who Cilliza believes that his Mormon religious
beliefs may not be so big of a handicap. The other was Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
who seems to be developing a personality.
Reform of 527s
Before recessing, the House passed the Reform of 527 Act by a vote of 218 to
209. The Act would regulate soft money into 527 political action
organizations. (Iowa Presidential Watch is a regulated 527 uncoordinated
PAC) The bill would also strengthen political parties.
Currently, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National
Republican Campaign Committee are limited from giving more than $79,000 in
coordinated funds to House candidates; the limits for the parties' two
Senate committees are higher -- ranging from $79,000 to $2 million per
Because of this, the committees have spent large sums of money on
independent expenditures that could not be coordinated with the candidates.
With the new law, the committees will be able to coordinate the expenditures
with the candidate and their messages.