Dallas-Mavs.com Forums
Old 02-15-2005, 02:35 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 695
vinnieponte is on a distinguished road
Default Hmmmmmm...Fishy

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A big Republican donor goes to his governor and senator, saying he was told by President Bush's chief fund-raiser he'd be getting a plum ambassadorial appointment but it wasn't delivered. The senator takes his case right to the top of the White House.

Nothing happens for two years.

The donor then helps stage a fund-raiser for Bush. A week later, the donor lands an appointment as the chairman of the federal board overseeing billions of dollars of student loans.

The aggressive job campaign of businessman Duane Acklie — detailed in the Nebraska gubernatorial files of new Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns — provides a rare window into donors, their access and their rewards.

And there's a twist.

Acklie named names — including chief fund-raiser Jack Oliver — and committed to writing one of the unwritten rules of politics: Presidents for years have rewarded big donors with plum ambassadorships.

"My only interest, if I am going to serve, would be in serving as an ambassador or in a position involving trade," Acklie wrote in a May 2001 "Dear Mike" letter to then-Gov. Johanns. The letter was contained in the official gubernatorial correspondence obtained by The Associated Press under Nebraska's open records law.

"Jack Oliver told me several weeks ago that he was informed that I would not receive one of the eight major ambassadorships but would be receiving an ambassadorship," Acklie wrote.

The owner of Crete Carrier Corp., a major trucking company, even wondered aloud why he hadn't yet landed an ambassadorship when other Republicans who helped elect Bush in 2000 had already gotten theirs.

"Most of the appointments have been made. That is perfectly OK, and if others have done more work for the party, are better qualified or have helped the Bush team more, I certainly understand," Acklie wrote. "I don't understand why I haven't heard a single thing after Jack Oliver's comment to me."

Acklie and Oliver both declined to be interviewed for this story.

Johanns' office said the new agriculture secretary may have tried to help Acklie with the White House but couldn't recall for sure. Johanns considers Acklie a "fine person" and would have no problem endorsing him, Agriculture Department spokeswoman Alisa Harrison said.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., however, remembers providing assistance.

He personally wrote the president and talked on the phone with White House chief of staff Andrew Card, personnel director Clay Johnson and political adviser Karl Rove, trying to get Acklie an appointment.

Hagel's message was "this is one of Nebraska's leading citizens, he's been successful in business, a civic leader, that kind of thing," spokesman Mike Buttry said.

The White House said it takes recommendations on appointments from all sorts of sources and then makes decisions on the merits.

Federal bribery laws prohibit public officials from directly promising a government action in return for donations or fund-raising help.

Charles La Bella, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw the 1990s investigation into Clinton-era fund-raising abuses, said Acklie's letter wasn't specific enough about a quid pro quo to warrant criminal prosecution.

"I think it's standard operating procedure," said La Bella, the former head of the Justice Department (news - web sites)'s campaign finance task force. For it to cross the line into illegality, there has to be a "very crystal-clear quid pro quo," in which someone pays to get a specific office, or is promised a specific job if they give a certain amount, La Bella said.

Larry Noble, the former chief enforcement lawyer for the Federal Election Commission (news - web sites), said Acklie's letter "shows that contributions and fund raising do equal access and jobs."

"There's a lot of lobbying for these jobs," Noble said.

For decades, presidents have rewarded some of their biggest supporters with coveted diplomatic jobs. Former President Clinton (news - web sites) picked five $100,000-plus Democratic donors to be ambassadors in his first year in office. At least two dozen of Bush's 2000 "pioneers" — $100,000-plus fund-raisers — or their spouses won ambassadorships.

Oliver was Bush's fund-raising chief in 2000, overseeing the pioneers before moving over in 2001 to oversee the Republican National Committee (news - web sites)'s fund raising.

"RNC officials do not play a role in presidential appointment decisions," RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said, declining to further address Oliver's dealings with Acklie.

Two years after his futile quest for an ambassadorship, Acklie established himself as a top moneyman for Bush's re-election effort.

Acklie helped organize a $400,000 Omaha fund-raiser headlined by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) in July 2003 and was on his way to becoming a "ranger," an honorary campaign title bestowed on those who raised $200,000 or more for Bush. Last year, Acklie also became a "super ranger," raising at least $300,000 for the RNC.

A week after the Omaha event, Bush nominated Acklie to the Student Loan Marketing Association's board of directors as its designated chairman. Acklie lost the post when the board was dissolved late last year.
vinnieponte is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 02-15-2005, 03:57 PM   #2
Diamond Member
Dooby's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 5,832
Dooby is just really niceDooby is just really niceDooby is just really niceDooby is just really niceDooby is just really niceDooby is just really niceDooby is just really nice
Default RE:Hmmmmmm...Fishy

For what it is worth, the article states that Jack Oliver is Bush's "Fundraising Chief ", which is actually incorrect. He is a major fundraiser, I think deputy finance chair either of Bush 2000 or Bush Cheney 2004, but he is not the "Chief Fundraiser". Not going to bore anybody with the details or dispute anything else in the article, just pointing out that is in error.

Several other points that I think make this a non-story:

A $400,000.00 fundraiser for a President didn't get you much in 2000. When Bush was governor, he once raised $13M in 6 weeks.

A lot of people gave $100k to the RNC. A couple of dozen people raised more than a $1M. I seriously doubt anyone promised this guy much of anything.

I know from experience that when a guy wins political office there are a lot of supporters that overinflate their importance and expect to be offered some kind of job or appointment. Most of these people end up disappointed.

Finally, who gives a rat's ass? It is an ambassadorship! It is the geopolitical equivalent of an apendix. In this day and age, we have things called telephones and airplanes which allow diplomats based in the states to conduct diplomacy abroad. All an ambassador does now is show up at parties and drink.
At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell. – Thomas Fuller
Dooby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2005, 05:51 PM   #3
Diamond Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 3,705
Smiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud ofSmiles has much to be proud of
Default RE:Hmmmmmm...Fishy

That sounds fun. Where do I sign up for an ambassadorship? [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif[/img]
Smiles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2005, 08:29 PM   #4
Diamond Member
Mavdog's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,014
Mavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud ofMavdog has much to be proud of
Default RE: Hmmmmmm...Fishy

historically, that is done with the high $ check......
Mavdog is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:26 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.