Daily Archives: March 17, 2011

Talking Points Memo: Feds Say Big GOP Donor Lampooned Elderly Investors In $200M Ponzi Scheme

March 17, 2011- Timothy Durham, the chief executive officer of National Lampoon, Inc., who donated major money to Republican candidates, was arrested by the FBI Wednesday for allegedly running a $200 million Ponzi scheme.

The indictment said that Durham and an associate used loans to "maintain their lifestyles and to pay for personal expenses," according to Reuters. Durham had $150,000 wired over so he could spend it at a casino, while his associate James Cochran took $50,000 to pay country club fees, according to the indictment.

Durham served as CEO of Fair Finance, a consumer finance company in Ohio, which is at the heart of the alleged scam. As the New York Times reports, Durham was accused by a bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance of lending himself $54 million, much of which was used to help finance a lavish lifestyle — "at his Indianapolis home, a 45-car garage housed an Aston Martin designed to look like the car James Bond drove in Goldfinger,' while in Miami he kept a four-bedroom yacht."

Talking Points Memo: Republican Voters Like Scott Walker More Than Top GOP Pres. Candidates

March 17, 2011- Scott Walker's approval rating may be in the dumps with his constituents, but by taking on public employee unions, he's made himself quite popular with Republicans nationwide.

In fact, a new PPP poll of registered voters finds that Republicans actually like Walker better than the big-name GOPers who are considering presidential bids. That shows that Walker, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has become a Republican favorite for his tough budget talk and his willingness to butt heads with unions. But it also underscores how tepid Republicans are toward their current slate of presidential aspirants, and how a fresh conservative face could shake up the GOP primary next year.

In the poll, 55% of Republican voters said they have a favorable opinion of Walker, compared to 11% who had an unfavorable opinion of the first-term Governor, giving him a +44 point split overall. But in results from the same poll released Wednesday, the four most prominent prospective GOP candidates — Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich — posted slimmer favorable margins.

Center For Public Integrity: Haley Barbour’s money juggernaut for 2012

March 11, 2011- In a few weeks one of Washington’s political grande dames, Julie Finley, will host a fundraiser for Haley Barbour, who boasts a Midas-like rolodex of his own.

On March 2, the two-term Mississippi governor and prospective presidential candidate expects to raise big bucks for Haley’s PAC with lots of help from former K Street colleagues who have signed up to haul in $10,000 each.

“Haley has a terrific capacity to raise a lot of money, probably the broadest base of any Republican in the running,” Finley, a former ambassador, told the Center. The fundraiser will be held at Finley’s home in northwest Washington.

The event is yet another sign that Barbour is inching towards a run to secure the GOP nomination, a move that many of his old lobbyist buddies are eager to see him make. Barbour has said he won’t decide until spring.

Much of the fundraising for the bash is being spearheaded by lobbyist Kirk Blalock, who was a top aide to Barbour years ago when he ran the RNC’s successful 1994 election campaign—a campaign that put the GOP back in control of Congress.

Talking Points Memo: Wis. GOP State Senator Brings In National-Level Campaign Talent

March 17, 2011- In a sign of just how high the stakes could be for the the potential state Senate recalls in Wisconsin, in the wake of the recent passage of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union bill, one of the targeted Republican legislators has hired a campaign manager with national experience.

As the Fond du Lac Reporter notes, GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper has hired Jeff Harvey, whose previous high-profile campaigns have included roles with Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ). Harvey arrived in the state this past weekend.

In addition to the new anti-public employee union law, Hopper faces other obstacles related to his ongoing divorce, and public accusations of adultery by his estranged wife. A survey released earlier this week by Daily Kos, conducted by Public Policy Polling (D), showed Hopper trailing a generic Democrat by a margin of 49%-44%.


The Nation: Meet US Uncut

March 17, 2011- Last month, journalist Johann Hari wrote an article for The Nation called “How to Build a Progressive Tea Party” in which he detailed the sudden and rapid evolution of UK Uncut, a British movement formed to curb corporate tax dodging. At the time, Hari’s wish was for the cause to cross the pond and take root in America.

It took about a month for the dream to become a reality. A young man named Carl Gibson from Mississippi read Hari’s article and immediately felt inspired to launch US Uncut. The reasoning behind his motivation was simple.

“I have one dollar in my wallet. That’s more than the combined income tax liability of GE, ExxonMobil, Citibank and the Bank of America. That means somebody is gaming the system,” says Gibson.

Gibson set up a website, and almost overnight franchises sprung up across the country, and a national day of action was declared for protests at Bank of America. I attended one such US Uncut protest in New York City.


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