Sunday, November 27, 2011

David Catanese Was Only Half-Right

Eleven days ago, I emailed David Catanese about factual errors in his reporting of Ann Wagner's third quarter fundraising. Wagner is running against Ed Martin in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District. This past October, Catanese reported:
Just over 20 percent of Wagner's third quarter donations came from employees of the national rental car company, where her husband is a vice president, according to an analysis by POLITICO.
Wagner, who is vying for the 2nd Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Akin, took in about $108,000 from Enterprise employees in Missouri and states as far away as Oregon, Nevada and Alabama.
Steven Nelson sets the record straight over at The Daily Caller. Wagner received about $202k in Q3 from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, it's subsidiaries, holding companies, employees and their spouses. In total, she's received nearly $250k of her million+ funding from sources linked to Enterprise. Catanese needs to correct the figures in his story.

Nelson at TheDC also noted:
In 2008 Enterprise requested bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, writing to Congress to ask for funds. According to the Wall Street Journal, language was inserted in the TARP bill by House lawmakers to enable the government to grant loans to rental car companies.
I hadn't known that Enterprise was on the dole for TARP funding. That explains why I haven't seen the Wagners at any Tea Parties.

Nepotism always has a corrosive effect on politics. In 2010 when Ed Martin was running against Russ Carnahan, Tea Partiers were appalled at the donations Carnahan received from his brother's wind farm business. As TheDC points out, Ann's husband "is Enterprise’s government and public affairs vice president and a registered lobbyist." In other words, we see a similar sort of crony capitalism today with the Wagners that we saw with the Carnahans back in 2010.

The story behind the data showing that Wagner's campaign has gotten about a quarter of its funding from Enterprise sources goes back to the document parties that kicked off in October of 2009. Some of the moms involved in those original document parties began to investigate Wagner's fund raising. That data is easily accessible at sites like The trick is determining who the employers are and if they're connected in an interesting way. In the case of Ann Wagner's Enterprise donations figuring out that the Crawford Group is an Enterprise holding company was a key discovery. This should serve as a rallying cry to Tea Party moms (and others) to dig into the donation data.

I was not involved in researching Wagner's contributions, though I have reviewed the data. Kudos to the moms who did the hard research and one in particular who led the effort. She and they understandably wish to remain anonymous.


Zotta's Perspective said...

On January 21, 2010 the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on campaign financing. The Majority opinion was that it violated the core of First Amendment principles of free speech. They believed corporations are entitled to the same right that individuals have to spend money on political speech for or against a candidate.

I disagree with the Supreme Court Decision allowing corporations/ corporate PACS to contribute to campaigns because some employees or shareholders may have different political views than the corporate leaders. Unions should not be allowed to contribute to campaigns for the same reasons because some of their members may not like the choices of their leaders. It should be individuals making their own choice and not GROUP think when it comes to elections.

Individuals should be able to contribute as much as they want, when they want, to whomever they want as long as they fully disclose it. Like-minded individuals could pool their money together to form a Club with other individuals as long as there is full disclosure on who is in the club and the amount they contribute. In that way you do not have union dues being spent on campaigns that some members may be opposed to or corporations contributing to campaigns some shareholders may not agree with.

MO2 Resident said...

Greg, I don't think anyone is disputing the right of Enterprise to donate money to political candidates. The problem, as I see it, is one candidate is receiving an inordinant amount of money from a company which has strong personal ties to that candidate. If a bill comes up in Congress that would be detrimental to this large corporate donor, do you think the vote would be for or against the bill? Would the vote be influenced by these large contributions? Even if hundreds of $100-$200 donors were for such a bill, the person in Congress would more than likely be swayed by these contributions from the corporation.