Baldimo
 
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 04:24 pm
Critics question candidate's links to project's insurer
By John Solomon, Associated Press, 2/5/2004
WASHINGTON -- A Senate colleague was trying to close a loophole that allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal dollars from the Big Dig. Senator John F. Kerry stepped in and blocked the legislation.

Over the next two years, the insurer, American International Group, paid Kerry's way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least $30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential campaign. Company executives donated $18,000 to his Senate and presidential campaigns.
Were the two connected? Kerry says not.
But some government watchdogs said they see the tale of the Massachusetts senator's 2000 intervention, detailed in documents obtained by the Associated Press, as a textbook case of the special interest politicking that Kerry rails against on the presidential trail.
"The idea that Kerry has not helped or benefited from a specific special interest, which he has said, is utterly absurd," said Charles Lewis, head of the Center for Public Integrity , which just published a book on political donations to the presidential candidates.
"Anyone who gets millions of dollars over time, and thousands of dollars from specific donors, knows there's a symbiotic relationship. He needs the donors' money. The donors need favors. Welcome to Washington. That is how it works."
Kerry's office confirmed yesterday that as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee he persuaded committee chairman John S. McCain, Republican of Arizona, to drop a provision that would have stripped $150 million from the project and ended the insurance funding loophole. The Massachusetts Democrat actually was angered by the loophole but didn't want money stripped from the project because it would hurt his constituents who needed the Boston project finished, spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said.
When the "AIG investment scheme [came] to light, John Kerry called for public hearings to investigate the parties involved and the legality of the investment practices. However, he firmly believed cutting funding for the Big Dig was not the answer," Cutter said.
Instead of McCain's bluntly worded legislation, Kerry asked for a committee hearing in May 2000. Kerry thanked McCain at the start of the hearing for dropping his legislation, and an AIG executive was permitted to testify that he believed the company's work for the Big Dig was a good thing even though it was criticized by federal auditors.
"From the perspective of public and worker safety and cost control, AIG's insurance program has been a success," AIG executive Richard Thomas testified.
Asked why Kerry would subsequently accept a trip and money from AIG in 2001 and 2002 if he was angered by the investment scheme, Cutter replied: "Any contributions AIG made to the senator's campaign came years after the investigation."
The New York-based insurer, one of the world's largest, declined to comment on its donations to Kerry, simply stating, "AIG never requested any assistance from Senator Kerry concerning the insurance we provided the Big Dig."
During the 1990s, Kerry and the state's senior senator, Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, helped win new federal funding for the project as its costs skyrocketed. In 1998, Kerry was credited with winning $100 million in new federal funding. But in 1999, the Transportation Department uncovered a financing scheme in which the project had overpaid $129.8 million to AIG for worker compensation and liability insurance that wasn't needed, then had allowed the insurer to keep the money in a trust and invest it in the market. The government alleged AIG kept about half of the profits it made from the investments.
Outraged, McCain submitted legislation that would have stripped $150 million from the Big Dig and banned the practice of allowing an insurer to invest and profit from excessive premiums paid with government money. But Kerry and Kennedy intervened, and McCain withdrew the legislation in 2000 in favor of the hearing. In September 2001, Kerry disclosed to the Senate ethics office that AIG had paid an estimated $540 in travel expenses for a speech Kerry gave in Burlington, Vt. A few months later in December 2001, several AIG executives gave maximum $1,000 donations to Kerry's Senate campaign on the same day. The donations totaled $9,700 and were followed by several thousand dollars more over the next two years.
The next spring, AIG donated $10,000 to a new tax-exempt group Kerry formed, the Citizen Soldier Fund, to lay groundwork for his presidential campaign. Later in 2002, AIG gave two more donations of $10,000 each to the same group, making it one of the group's largest corporate donors. Representative James P. McGovern, Democrat of Worcester, credited Kerry for getting McCain's legislation blocked in favor of a hearing, saying Massachusetts lawmakers "were on the side of good government here but also concerned the language might go too far and put more of a burden on a Massachusetts project."
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Is this Kerry bending to a special interest group? It would appear so, wonder why this hasn't been more of an issue.
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cannistershot
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 04:44 pm
Re: Kerry's Big Dig scandle
Is this Kerry bending to a special interest group? It would appear so, wonder why this hasn't been more of an issue.[/quote]


Because it wasn't Bush.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 04:51 pm
It's amazing what passes for scandal these days. I sure do miss Clinton.
0 Replies
 
cannistershot
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 04:57 pm
FreeDuck wrote:
It's amazing what passes for scandal these days. I sure do miss Clinton.


I don't! But if he had 2 more years he could of been as bad as Carter.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:01 pm
They gave him a trip to Vermont??? Shocked All the way from Massachusetts?? Evil or Very Mad Omigod... how freakin' awful! Twisted Evil

I am shocked. SHOCKED. Too bad I've already voted or THIS would definitely have caused me to change my vote. Thanks SO MUCH for this amazing news flash. Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:03 pm
Xena's already tilled this very unfertile ground.
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:05 pm
Thankfully, I still have time to change my mind. This late-breaking scandal is appalling. To think this man could still be elected president!

Thanks so much, Baldimo, for bringing this to our attention!
0 Replies
 
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:10 pm
Piffka wrote:
They gave him a trip to Vermont??? Shocked All the way from Massachusetts?? Evil or Very Mad Omigod... how freakin' awful! Twisted Evil

I am shocked. SHOCKED. Too bad I've already voted or THIS would definitely have caused me to change my vote. Thanks SO MUCH for this amazing news flash. Rolling Eyes



Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
0 Replies
 
Dookiestix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:20 pm
reaching...
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:22 pm
Just think, though, if Kerry is elected, the GOP already has a head start on trying to subvert the vote of the people.

Raise your hand if you remember Whitewater!
0 Replies
 
Dookiestix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:25 pm
Quote:
I don't! But if he had 2 more years he could of been as bad as Carter.


Yeah, all those jobs and surpluses and not being nearly as hated around the world as we are today. Boy, imagine if America had two more years of THAT...

Laughing
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:36 pm
To bad most of the jobs lost from the Clinton years were non-jobs. I mean how long can someone be employed by a company that doesn't exist in the real world. Who wants back a job that didn't exist except in the world of 1's and 0's?

Surpluses only existed because Clinton under funded the military and was cutting their funding. How many people lost those jobs because of a military hating president? There's a reason I didn't sign up to serve under Clinton, democrats hate the military.
0 Replies
 
Dookiestix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 05:53 pm
Too bad Republicans thwarted bills introduced that would have kept those cheatin' accountants from doing exactly what they did in allowing those non-jobs to only exist on paper.

Too bad Cheney and Enron got together and screwed California of billions of dollars, helping the state (the 6th largest economy on the planet) to spiral into massive deficits.

Too bad the Pentagon is against a Democratic Senator's bill to reimburse the soldiers and their families who had to dig into their own pockets to finance their own body armor and other essential supplies Bush overlooked during the invasion of Iraq.

Too bad when Democrats want to honor our troops and those who have died, that the Sinclair Broadcasting Group refused to televise Ted Koppel's memorium of our fallen sons and daughters.

And isn't it amazing that when we actually DID invade Iraq and bomb Afghanistan, Bush and Cheney changed their tune in their criticism of the Clinton military from ridiculing it for not having enough forces to handle our current international crisis, only to change their mind when we are now STUCK in this Iraqi quagmire.

There's a reason I didn't vote for Bush. Because Republican neoconservatives would rather elect a moron than a man who can actually think for himself.

It really is just too bad.
0 Replies
 
Joe Republican
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 09:52 pm
Baldimo wrote:
To bad most of the jobs lost from the Clinton years were non-jobs. I mean how long can someone be employed by a company that doesn't exist in the real world. Who wants back a job that didn't exist except in the world of 1's and 0's?


What a pathetic statement. Those jobs don't count, they weren't real, it was all a lie, Bush told me so Rolling Eyes Does Bush tell your psyche how take a crap too?

Quote:

Surpluses only existed because Clinton under funded the military and was cutting their funding. How many people lost those jobs because of a military hating president? There's a reason I didn't sign up to serve under Clinton, democrats hate the military.


According to your warped view of reality, the economy in the 90's was all fake, people lost jobs (how you figure out this one I have NO idea) and the people who were lucky enough to have jobs really didn't exist.

God, and I thought Manson was a lunatic.
0 Replies
 
Instigate
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 10:03 pm
I think that what Baldimo meant was that many people were employed and invested in companies that didnt make any money, dot-coms and many tech companies to be precise: a massive slew of companies that were unable to compete, or were based upon goods and services that nobody wanted or the market was already saturated with.
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Nov, 2004 10:06 pm
Thanks for posting this, Baldimo. I had no idea!

BTW, how's your training going? Any word on when you might have to deploy?
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 11:22 am
Instigate wrote:
I think that what Baldimo meant was that many people were employed and invested in companies that didnt make any money, dot-coms and many tech companies to be precise: a massive slew of companies that were unable to compete, or were based upon goods and services that nobody wanted or the market was already saturated with.


This was my point. I was one of those people who was sucked in to thinking that it was going to last and tried to jump on the band wagon of the internet boom and almost lost my ass because of it. Not because of investments but because of changing careers. Most of the "jobs" that were created in the 90's didn't have a life expectancy past the dot com boom and this has been proven. Most of the money made on the stock market during the 90's was from over investment on unproven ideas and none exist companies. These jobs will not be returning and that is a good thing.
0 Replies
 
cannistershot
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 11:25 am
Dookiestix wrote:
Quote:
I don't! But if he had 2 more years he could of been as bad as Carter.


Yeah, all those jobs and surpluses and not being nearly as hated around the world as we are today. Boy, imagine if America had two more years of THAT...

Laughing



I don't remember the jobs and surpluses with Carter. I seem to remember gas lines, hostages in Iran........
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 11:39 am
Baldimo had to reach back and find a newspaper article that was over 9 months old to slander Kerry at the last minute. This smells of desperation on the part of neocons and related fringe elements. Tonight should be interesting
0 Replies
 
cannistershot
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 11:41 am
Acquiunk wrote:
Baldimo had to reach back and find a newspaper article that was over 9 months old to slander Kerry at the last minute. This smells of desperation on the part of neocons and related fringe elements. Tonight should be interesting



Or it may be next week.......... Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
 

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