It just keeps getting worse…

By VA Blogger

CQ broke the story yesterday regarding Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California. The long and short of it is that Jane Harman offered to help get charges of spying reduced on two members of AIPAC, and in return an unnamed “Israeli agent”, whom she was on the phone with, would lobby Nancy Pelosi to appoint her chair of the Intelligence Committee.

The story gets a bit uglier after that, as Harman then agreed to defend the DoJ for the very wiretapping program that caught her in the above events, in exchange for the DoJ dropping their investigation into Harman.

So why am I writing about it? Because the New York Times is reporting that the lobbying consisted of Haim Saban, a longtime AIPAC supporter, threatening to withhold contributions to Nancy Pelosi unless Harman was named Intelligence Chair in 2006. (h/t Gardner). So Haim Saban was the stick in a twisted tale of spying on the U.S., corruption of contributions, and quid pro quo backroom deals for positions overseeing national security.

And Haim Saban was the single largest donor to Terry McAuliffe, donating $251,000 to his campaign last quarter. In his quest to buy the Governorship of Virginia, McAuliffe has solicited an unprecedented amount of funds from such sources as The Donald Trump, the illegitimate father of Liz Hurley’s kid, and a pro-AIPAC lobbyist who attempted to use his extreme wealth to elevate a Congressman to a position where she could reduce charges of espionage against the United States of America.

No wonder Terry McAuliffeis the most disliked of any candidate for Governor. He should immediately denounce Saban and return all of his contributions, and maybe not plan so many fundraisers in Hollywood (unless he decides to run for the Governor of California, instead of Virginia or Florida).


Comments

  • Ryan says:

    Wow. This is bad.

  • HR Spiker says:

    The odds of McAuliffe returning ANY campaign funds are roughly comparable to Steve Waters winning the Lt Governor’s race in 2013…you do the math

  • What a web of intrigue!

  • This Doesn't Stand Up says:

    Taking a quick look at open secrets takes most of teh sting out of this story. Harman was passed over as Intelligence chair, yet Haim Saban and his wife have kept on donating to Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi individually and the DCCC. Since he supposedly threatened to cut off funding over Harman he’s given more than $60 grand to Pelosi and the DCCC, not to mention hundreds of thousands to other Democrats.

    There’s simply no evidence that he ever did anything unethical here. Plus, your claim that he “attempted to use his extreme wealth to elevate a Congressman to a position where she could reduce charges of espionage against the United States of America,” is utter bullshit. There is no allegation anywhere that he did that. Harman didn’t need the promotion to wade in, indeed the allegation is that she waded in and didn’t even get the position.

  • VA Blogger says:

    The fact that Harman didn’t get picked as Chair is irrelevent, as is the fact that Saban never followed through on the threat. The point of the matter is that Saban was in the middle of these discussions, where the aim was to elevate Harman to a position of more influence (even if she could wade in as a regular Congressman).

    While the actions they actually did is very important as well, the FACT of the matter is that this was all being discussed, and Saban was intended to be used in the middle of it all.

    You can generate run-around excuses, but it doesn’t do anything to disprove the type of lobbyist Haim Saban is, and the fact that he was one of McAuliffe’s first calls when T-Mac discovered he lived in Virginia, and was McAuliffe’s top donor. It’s exactly the type of backroom deals and quid pro quo negotiating that McAuliffe thrived in as DNC Chair, and exactly the type of Governor we don’t need.

  • Bill Kuster says:

    um….I thought that is what supporters try to do all the time…try to get their guy/girl elevated higher…just like your shilling for McDonnell.

    Now it turns out these 2 gentlemen will not be prosecuted.

    What exactly is your point?

  • kelley in virginia says:

    we can whine about this all day long, but this is standard operating procedure for many politicians. and it sounds very Chicago-like. The Chicago corruption candidate carried Virginia, don’t forget.

    we need to be squeaky clean and we need to really work hard between now & November.

  • VA Blogger says:

    Compare Bill Kuster’s language of “getting their guy elevated” with bk1969’s comment in the Washington Post blog:

    “Top Democratic donor in the country and the fact that he donated to the ex head of the DNC is supposed to be a story? All based on supposed phone calls of politicians trying to move up congressional ladders? Nothing to see here, move on…”

    I guess the paid McAuliffe commenters on blogs have adopted this line as their official response for the story.

  • VA Blogger says:

    And then there’s Ben’s spin that I’m just racist!

    http://notlarrysabato.typepad.com/doh/2009/04/what-an-antisemitic-rant-looks-like.html

    Can’t say I exactly saw that one coming.

  • This Doesn't Stand Up says:

    The type of lobbyist he is? what the fuck is that supposed to mean? That he’s jewish?

  • VA Blogger says:

    Where are people pulling this “because he’s Jewish” crap from? No, because he’s the type of Hollywood mogul that people rely on for contributions, so he can use his wealth to try and influence things like Committee appointments.

  • This Doesn't Stand Up says:

    You call him a pro-AIPAC lobbyist and then go on in your comment to say that I didn’t disprove what type of lobbyist he is, as though there is something wrong with being a pro-AIPAC lobbyist, in otherwords a jew

  • sally says:

    Drudge Report (linking to CQ Politics) has a story that the conversation in which California rep Harmon was wiretapped re help for AIPAC in exchange for pressure on Pelosi to make Harmon chair of the Intelligence committee in the House… ended with:

    Harmon “seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

    http://static.cqpolitics.com/harman-3098436-page1.html?docID=hsnews-000003098436&cpage=1

  • That post by NLS is ridiculous. I just commented so over there. I’ve defended him many times in the past, but this is indefensible. There is absolutely no anti-semitic bone in VAB’s body.

  • Israel is a country, not a religion. I support Israel as a country, but I draw the line at espionage against the United States. Does that make me anti-Semitic? I don’t think so.

    It’s utterly pathetic that one can’t criticize Saban for what he was trying to do without being labeled. Typical Democratic smear, and it’s neither fair nor is it appropriate. Sometimes I have to question NLS’ sanity.

  • RichmondDem says:

    Since when did NLS turn into Harris Miller?

  • RichmondDem says:

    “Sometimes I have to question NLS’ sanity.
    Brian W. Schoeneman ”

    It’s pretty clear he lost his marbles sometime between April and July 2008.

    IOW, sometime between when it became clear Hillary was not going to be the 44th President, and when it was clear Leslie Byrne would never win another election.

  • Not Verizon says:

    This is a bunch of nonsense. Did you hear that the Dems are planning on running Tom Bellanca against Frank Wolf next year? He ran once in Fairfax and lost in a primary.

  • Bill Kuster says:

    Hey Va Blogger – that’s because they are both my posts…bk are my initials…

  • VA Blogger says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Bill.

  • Bill Kuster says:

    oh and Va Blogger…I am not paid. Feel free to spread any other lies you think up tool.

  • VA Blogger says:

    I apologize. I thought I saw two different people trotting out the same line within a matter of minutes apart from each other, and figured it was orchestrated. Now that you have identified yourself as each poster, I retract my comments. They were made hastily and without all the facts.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    There is considerable rot behind this information, if it be factually correct. VaB was right to put it up.

  • So, I’m looking at the remnants of an exploding cigar on the Dems faces?
    Tie this sumbish to McCaulk’s ankle and throw him in the water.

  • VA Blogger says:

    Nova Scout, this is all based on WP and NYT reporting. If either of them post a correction, retraction, or a follow-up with more information, I’ll be right behind them.

    In fact, the only difference between what you’ll read here and what you’ll read in the WaPo (and Ben has even admitted this much) is that I said McAuliffe should return the money. So, for future reference, that’s the line between racist and non-racist.

  • Alexander Hamilton says:

    Candidates raise money because they have to, not because they enjoy it. The skyrocketing costs of campaigning are to blame here. Take a guess how much it costs to run a television ad in a major media market like N. Va. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars (for a thirty second ad!). The fact that Terry is better than most at fundraising doesn’t make him any more or less qualified to serve as governor. This shouldn’t be read as an attack on Terry but rather as an attack on the contemporary practice of politics. Believe it or not, most politicians are reasonable and decent people. It’s just that the Michelle Bachmanns of the world tend to attract all the attention because the lunatic fringe is more entertaining to the average viewer.

  • Dan (not the liberal) says:

    While the intention of this piece was good, I really did not like how you phrased “pro-AIPAC” lobbyist. I consider myself “pro-AIPAC” and that doesn’t mean I support Terry or spying or corruption or anything like that. This AIPAC supporter supports McDonnell.

  • VA Blogger says:

    Dan, I’m (mostly) pro-AIPAC myself. I didn’t phrase it in any way except that which is factual: Saban is a major pro-AIPAC lobbyist, and has been identified as such by many sources.

  • RichmondDem says:

    Alexander Hamilton–

    Excellent post, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    The solution is public financing of campaigns. In the long run, it will cost fewer tax dollars by removing pay to play schemes and improve government performance by letting politicians govern well instead of fundraise.

  • Good candidates actually do like fundraising. Fundraising is about more than just asking for money. Each person you get a donation from – even $5 – is a voter that is committed to voting for you. So, if anything, most good fundraising is an exercise in grassroots politics. Candidates should want to make calls, because it gives them a chance to interact with their future constituents in addition to raising money.

  • Nancy Pelosi is suddenly backpeddling on her promises of open government by challenging the ethics initiatives regarding this keg-o-powder?

  • RichmondDem says:

    “So, if anything, most good fundraising is an exercise in grassroots politics. Candidates should want to make calls, because it gives them a chance to interact with their future constituents in addition to raising money.
    – Brian W. Schoeneman ”

    Except that often “constituents”, especially in the case of a carpetbagger who has no roots in the place where he is running like T-Mac, means big business, Washington lobbyists, and out of state millionaires. They have more pull on a candidate than an average citizen who gives $100 every quarter. And the latter, not the former, is who public servants should be working for.

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