As I reported yesterday, the wheels are coming off the Republican-sponsored initiative to split California's electoral votes and rig the electoral college system in favor of a Republican candidate in 2008. Lee's comment linked to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle that identified the big money man behind the initiative.
And guess what? He's a big contributor to Rudy Giuliani.
A major New York fundraiser for GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has been revealed as the money man behind a proposed ballot measure that would have changed California's winner-take-all Electoral College vote system - and likely benefited Republicans.
Paul Singer, a billionaire hedge fund executive and Giuliani policy adviser, acknowledged his role to the New York Daily News on Friday just a day after GOP organizers in California said they were folding their effort to collect signatures for the group called Californians for Equal Representation.
How thoughtful that a billionaire Wall Street hedge fund shark, shyster lawyer and Giuliani adviser decided to make such a hefty contribution to a ballot initiative here in California. The guy appears to be a real saint according to Wikipedia:
Singer is generally known as the original 'vulture' of the for-profit so-called 'vulture funds', which buy government bonds from poor countries and demand an exorbitant return on their loans. In 1996, Singer bought up some of the debt of Peru for $11 million and got back $58 million. He purchased a bond from the Democratic Republic of Congo for about $10 million, sued in court for $400 million and ended up with $127 million.
Sounds like a terrific guy. A real humanitarian who makes his living by suing destitute African countries for 10 times the value of their bonds which were about to be written off. I'm sure he earnestly wants to reform the electoral college to improve our democracy for all Americans. This crook is hip deep in the mud with the Giuliani campaign:
Singer is also the Republican Party's chief donor in New York, and has given a combined $1.7 million to the party since George W. Bush's first presidential campaign. Singer and Elliot employees make up the top contributor bloc to Rudolph Giuliani's 2008 presidential run, having donated $168,400.
The American people, and especially the people of California, deserve to hear from Rudy Giuliani himself about his involvement in this despicable effort to disenfranchise California voters and rig the electoral process to give us another Republican popular vote loser and electoral college winner. Giuliani should explain whether he had any idea that his top fundraiser who is based in New York had sooooooo much interest in California's electoral votes.
Attorney James Harrison has filed a complaint with the FEC and made a statement (excerpted below) that you can find in its entirety at California Progress Report:
Federal campaign law imposes strict limits on what Federal candidates can raise in terms of contributions. In fact, one of the primary purposes of the McCain-Feingold law was to prohibit candidates from raising what is known as soft money. In light of the, Federal election law prohibits an entity that is established, financed, maintained, or controlled, either directly or indirectly through a Federal candidate from raising contributions in excess of the Federal limits of $2300 per person per election or from impermissible sources.
Californians for Equal Representation, the committee that's behind the Republican power grab effort here in California needed money in order to pay for signature gathering efforts in the state. As of last week, the 23rd of September, they had not reported receiving any contributions. That day, they reported receiving a single contribution of $175,000 from a never before heard of Missouri limited liability corporation called Take Initiative America.
Upon closer inspection of Missouri records, it became clear that this entity, Take Initiative America, had in fact been created the day before $175,000 contribution was made, leading to the inference that it is nothing more than a shell. That led to the question: Where did they get their $175,000 from--where did it come from? How could an entity that's created in one day somehow earn $175,000 in one day?
So we would very much like the FEC to look into this, to determine what Mr. Giuliani knew, when he knew it, what conversations he and Mr. Singer had about the contribution, about Take Initiative America; how Take Initiative America was created, whose idea was it?
If it [the contribution] came from a corporation that he [Singer] controls, then that too would be impermissible because Federal candidates prohibited under Federal law from soliciting or accepting a contribution from a corporation.
We're also concerned that there may have been coordination between the Giuliani campaign and Californians for Equal Representation. In fact, Marty Wilson, the chief fundraiser for Equal Representation, who resigned just last week, was quoted in the press as saying that he had "heard" that the Giuliani people were interested in the effort in California, and that they were praying that it would commit--it obviously refers to the money.
What communications occurred between the Giuliani campaign and Californians for Equal Representation? Was Californians Equal Representation acting at the behest of the Giuliani campaign? Under Federal law, if a Federal candidate coordinates with another entity in making expenditures that may affect the outcome of the Federal election, that's considered to result in an in-kind contribution to the Federal candidate. We'd like the FEC to investigate to determine whether in fact in-kind contributions were made from Californians for Equal Representation to the Giuliani campaign in excess of the Federal limits.
Under California law, Californians for Equal Representation was required to disclose the true source of the funds. It identified Take Initiative California as the donor. But we now know from the Daily News reports that Mr. Singer intended his money to be used to support the effort here in California. So clearly take Initiative America was nothing more than a pass through. California law prohibits a person from making a contribution other than in his own legal name. And it requires that an intermediary disclose the true source of the funds.
In this case, in fact, the contribution was not made in Mr. Singer's legal name, and no intermediary was disclosed. In California, that's considered money laundering.
Also, because it appears that some of these potential violations may have been knowing or intentional, we've asked the FEC to refer this matter to the US Department of Justice and we've copied the Public Integrity Division of the Department of Justice on this letter.
Given what appears to be a conspiracy at work here, we think it's critical that the US Department of Justice get involved as well.
You can't make this stuff up folks. This appears to be yet another example of raw and brazen Republican corruption. We will keep you posted as this latest scandal unfolds.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!