Archive for June 4th, 2006

It’s late — almost midnight — we got back earlier today from a camping trip, which went remarkably well considering it involved two two-year-olds, but I saw this article about INSA in the Gazette, and…well…part of being a “successful” blogger, or at least prolific, is that it’s like a frickin’ disease and you feel compelled to post.

The FBI has gotten involved now, too.

Ostensibly, from the article’s input, the agency is looking into former UM official, Wayne Chesnut, and his activities in Texas subsequent to his helping set up INSA as a spin-off of the university.

There is no mention of Conrad Burns, who appropriated the funds for INSA, or former Burns’ staffer, Leo Giacometto, who was INSA’s lobbyist at the time. And maybe still, depending on whether Giacometto and the INSAites are lying sacks of sh*t or not. (You can probably guess where I fall on this matter.)

And then there’s Robert Brigham’s take on the scandal and how it should affect your vote in the Democratic primary. In the post he recalls when Max Baucus was criticized for taking money from Giacometto; apparently Morrison tacitly approved the "contribution" (bribe?):

Back then, I saw this as little more than a signal to Giacometto's K Street lobbyist buddies that Morrison wouldn't rock the boat. Given his infamous history in Montana Republican Party scandals, I saw Giacometto as potential political contrast while Morrison saw an opportunity to raise money. In my mind, this was a focus on the container instead of the content as Morrison wanted cash to run ads and was willing to sacrifice the message appearing in those ads.

Brigham sees in this Morrison’s willingness to take corporate cash and corporate marching orders from corrupt machine bosses. It makes some sense. How else would Morrison be able to raise so much money with neither support from the state Democrats and lawmakers and the state’s Democratic base?

It isn’t Morrison who received the overwhelming number of state lawmaker endorsements; that’s Tester. It isn’t Morrison who received the most in-state campaign contributions; that’s Tester. And it certainly isn’t Morrison who’s received the most “small contributions,” individual campaign donations under $100; again, that’s Tester.

Ask yourself, why is Morrison still in this race? Why hasn’t he withdrawn? The Tacke ethics and sex scandal immediately leveled the corruption edge he previously owned over Burns, even if it’s not on the level of the Abramoff mess or INSA. It’s not the amount of corruption that matters. If Morrison really wanted health care reform he’d have dropped out of the race, because he doesn’t have a prayer of beating Burns, not with the ethics issue thrown out the window.

And who knows? If what Brigham’s suppositions are true — at this point, I heartily admit, they are wild speculation — Morrison may have already dipped his nose into the Giacometti trough. Don’t you think if it’s true the Burns campaign knows about it? And is sitting on the information?

And to be honest, I don’t like that Burns has been too quiet about the Tacke affair. It stinks. With the Senator’s approval rating hovering in the thirties, with a majority of Montanans wanting a change, the Burns’ staff has to be crazy not to hammer away at the Democrats’ — i.e., Morrison’s — ethical entanglements.

If I have these doubts — a self-avowed liberal — what’s an independent thinking?

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