Stop WC is you’ve heard this story before.
The first time it was Dorothy Oremus Lindauer who wanted to buy Alaska’s governorship for her husband, John. She spent $1.7 million on the effort. Of course, John claimed it was his money, which was a lie, which earned him a criminal conviction, a one-year suspended sentence, two years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $15,000 fine. That was after he finished third in the gubernatorial election. At sentencing, Lindauer’s attorney said Lindauer had elected to pursue business interests in Chicago rather than stay in Alaska. Duh.
That didn’t stop Dan Sullivan’s family from making massive contributions to his election as a U.S. Senator. He also had massive help from the Koch Brothers. They were more successful; Sullivan defeated Mark Begich and sits as Alaska’s junior U.S. Senator. WC has been unable to confirm rumors he has to have the Koch Brothers’ permission to go to the bathroom.
And now Francis Dunleavy wants to buy Mike Dunleavy a governorship.1 Frankie is a retired J. P. Morgan executive. It’s not Oremus’s Prairie Materials, but he can afford to do a few favors for his brother. As the Sullivan family must have thought, “What’s family for if not to buy a family member the elected office of their choice?”
This contribution was just one of many; Dermot Cole reports the total from Frankie alone is $275,000. Not Oremus amounts of money, to be sure, but then the campaign season is still young. And not too close to his brother. You can contribute just $500.00 to a political campaign, but there’s no limit in this post-Citizens United world to the amounts you can give to an Independent Expenditure Organization, which – wink, wink – operates “independently” from the Dunleavy campaign.
Right. At family dinners Mikey and Frankie just talk about baseball and the weather. How about those ‘Stros?
Now you might ask why Frankie has all the money and Mikey is just a state senator with a dream of running Alaska further into the ground. Frankie spent 25 years at Bear Stearns energy investments. When Bear Stearns went down in 2008 at the start of the Great Recession, the Bear Sterns assets were acquired by JP Morgan. Along with Francis Dunleavy. In 2013, JP Morgan was busted for manipulating electrical energy prices in California and the Midwest. That’s right; the division of JP Morgan that Frankie was running copped a plea and paid $410 million in fines and restitution. A few months later Frankie, at age 57, retired. Ahem.
So this is what Citizens United has given us: Purchased elections, what Dermot Cole calls “shadow campaigns,” buckets and buckets of dubious money and utterly corrupt politics. The author of the majority decision in Citizens United? Justice Anthony Kennedy. Think about that as you worry about his successor.
- Dermot Cole broke this story. But Dermot is much too nice in reporting it. Obviously, Dermot has no responsibility for the content of this post. ↩