Just One Example Of Tainted Tim's Ethical Lapses Exposed In The Below Article: Teva Pharmaceuticals gave him $12,000 for travel to the August 2006 Democratic Governors Association meeting in Aspen. The Israeli drug company lobbied the state government and later bought a facility in Forest, Virginia.
Kaine accepted clothes, vacation as gifts
By Isaac Arnsdorf
The former Virginia governor's $160,000 in disclosures could be a political liability for Clinton's leading VP pick.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine took advantage of the state’s lax gift laws to receive an $18,000 Caribbean vacation, $5,500 in clothes and a trip to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA basketball Final Four during his years as lieutenant governor and governor, according to disclosures he filed.
Now a leading contender to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Kaine reported more than $160,000 in gifts from 2001 to 2009, mostly for travel to and from political events and conferences, according to disclosures compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. The givers included political supporters, a drug company that soon after bought a facility in Virginia, and Dominion, the state’s biggest provider of electricity.
While legal under Virginia’s unusually permissive ethics rules, the gifts could become attack-ad fodder after similar presents led to corruption charges for Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose conviction the Supreme Court overturned Monday. Republicans could also use the records to portray Kaine as part of the self-dealing establishment in a cycle animated by hostility toward the political class.
Virginia’s standards are widely perceived as too permissive, especially in the wake of the McDonnell case. And even the appearance of lower standards could become an issue in the national spotlight.
“The danger here is that there’s already a narrative on Hillary Clinton: It’s crooked cronyism, and any pick or any other action that drives that narrative is going to be bad for her,” said Matt Moon, a former Republican National Committee deputy research director, communications director for the 2014 reelection campaign of Governor Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and now executive vice president of opposition research consulting firm Delve. “If you’re on the Clinton campaign side, you want to look at potential vulnerabilities in how a VP pick would drive an opposition narrative.”
Kaine has acknowledged the defects with his state’s policies, especially compared with the federal restrictions he now faces as senator. “With no limit on the amount of such gifts and with the exceptions for friends and family so broad, Virginia’s system is all but guaranteed to create problems,” he wrote in a 2013 Washington Post op-ed. “The benefits of the federal rule are obvious. I regret that I didn’t propose adopting it when I was governor.”
Shortly after winning the governorship in 2005, Kaine and his family vacationed on the exclusive West Indies island of Mustique in a house belonging to Charlottesville-area investor James B. Murray Jr. Murray made a fortune investing in cellphones together with Kaine’s Senate predecessor, Mark Warner. Murray invited Kaine to spend a week at his house to relax after the campaign.
“I didn’t consider it a gift: There was no cash, I just let him use a house,” Murray said in an interview with Politico. “There was no quid pro quo. I don’t have any business with him.”
For the purpose of the disclosure, Kaine’s staff determined that $18,000 was the fair market value of a week’s stay. Kaine paid all his own expenses besides lodging.
“It’s just the kind of thing you do for a friend, but who’s to draw the line?” Murray said. “It’s probably better to declare everything.”
Kaine also accepted $5,500 worth of clothes in 2003 and 2005 from Stuart C. Siegel, a close friend and campaign booster who was then chairman of a Virginia-based discount menswear company. The disclosure also lists a baccarat crystal vase, valued at $0. Siegel didn’t answer a request for comment through a foundation of which he’s a board member.
Most of the gifts came in the form of travel to conferences or campaign events. President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign gave Kaine $45,000 for airfare and lodging. Kaine’s own leadership committee, Moving Virginia Forward, footed $20,000 of travel expenses. The Democratic Party of Virginia paid almost $11,000.
Richmond-based power company Dominion gave Kaine $2,000 for travel to meetings of the Democratic Governors Association and Southern Governors Association and to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA Final Four in 2006. Kaine rode on Dominion’s jet because he missed the commercial flight he booked to attend a state legislator’s funeral. A regulated utility, Dominion lobbies the state on energy policy.
Teva Pharmaceuticals gave him $12,000 for travel to the August 2006 Democratic Governors Association meeting in Aspen. The Israeli drug company lobbied the state government and later bought a facility in Forest, Virginia. BET co-founder Sheila C. Johnson treated him to $4,250 for two dinners, travel to a charity benefit and a trip to Denver. ADR Software CEO E. Scott Kasprowicz, a conservationist and an environmental advocate, paid $3,000 for travel to political and charity galas.
By contrast, Kaine’s successor, Bob McDonnell, along with his wife, Maureen, accepted — and failed to disclose — loans and gifts totaling more than $175,000, including vacations, clothes and a Rolex watch, all from Jonnie Williams, a businessman who wanted government help promoting a tobacco-based dietary supplement.
In McDonnell’s defense, his lawyers tried to argue that Kaine accepted more gifts. But as the details of McDonnell’s indulgences emerged at trial, a jury convicted McDonnell on 11 felony counts in 2014. Before sentencing, Kaine was among many political leaders of both parties who sent letters asking the judge for leniency, citing McDonnell’s efforts to restore felons’ voting rights.
“It seems fair to examine any request for mercy by exploring whether the petitioner has been merciful in similar circumstances,” Kaine wrote. “I am convinced that Governor McDonnell showed mercy to convicted felons not for political reasons or because he had anything personally to gain by doing so.”
McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison but appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. This week the justices vacated the conviction, reasoning that hosting an event or setting up a meeting didn’t amount to an official act, like a vote, grant or rule, in order to qualify as corruption.
The original gift disclosures by Kaine that generated the Virginia Public Access Project’s data were collected by the Secretary of the Commonwealth but routinely purged after five years.
Donovan Harrell contributed to this report.________________
Even before he was picked, Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine was met with progressive anger for his views on banks, trade, abortion and other positions out of step with the base she needs to attract. Here’s the greatest hits from night one:
“Liberal Groups Were Teed Up To Criticize The Pick” Of Kaine
The Huffington Post: “(Clinton’s) Choice Could Also Aggravate The Elizabeth Warren Wing Of The Democrat Party…” “Kaine may help Clinton carry that state, but her choice could also aggravate the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democrat Party, which sees the Virginian as a business-friendly centrist unlikely to champion their top financial reform goals.” (The Huffington Post, 7/22/16)
The Washington Post: “Liberal Groups Were Teed Up To Criticize The Pick” Of Kaine. “Even before Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) was unveiled Friday as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, liberal groups were teed up to criticize the pick.” (The Washington Post, 7/22/16)
Charles Chamberlain Of Democracy For America Said Kaine’s Support For Wall Street Should Be “Disqualifying.” “On Thursday, as speculation was mounting that Kaine would be Clinton’s choice, Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the activist network Democracy for America, which backed Sanders in the primaries, said that it should be ‘disqualifying’ for any potential Democratic vice-presidential nominee to ‘help banks dodge consumer protection standards.’ That was based in part on a bipartisan letter that Kaine signed on Monday urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ‘carefully tailor its rulemaking’ regarding community banks and credit unions so as not to ‘unduly burden’ these institutions with regulations aimed at commercial banks.” (John Wagner, “Kaine’s VP Pick Greeted By Blowback From Progressive Groups,” The Washington Post, 7/22/16)
“On Friday, Norman Solomon, The Coordinator Of A Group Billing Itself As The Bernie Delegates Network, Called Kaine ‘A Loyal Servant Of Oligarchy.’” (John Wagner, “Kaine’s VP Pick Greeted By Blowback From Progressive Groups,” The Washington Post, 7/22/16)
· “The Group Has Threatened To Protest During The Democratic Convention If Kaine Is The Pick.” (John Wagner, “Kaine’s VP Pick Greeted By Blowback From Progressive Groups,” The Washington Post, 7/22/16)
The Washington Post Headline: “Kaine’s VP Pick Greeted By Blowback From Progressive Groups” (The Washington Post, 7/22/16)
Los Angeles Times Headline: “Progressive Groups Have Already Warned They Aren't Ready For Tim Kaine” (Los Angeles Times, 7/22/16)
Politico: “Kaine’s Selection Likely Won’t Satisfy The Liberal Wing Of The Party…” “Kaine’s selection likely won’t satisfy the liberal wing of the party, which had pushed for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or another liberal stalwart to balance out Clinton.” (Politico, 7/22/16)
Washington Examiner’s Byron York: “MSNBC Debate: Kaine Is A Progressive. No, He's Not.” (Twitter.com, 7/22/16)
Los Angeles Times: “Some Progressives And Former Backers Of (Sanders’) Presidential Candidacy Signaled Their Dissatisfaction With The Choice Of Sen. Tim Kaine…” “Some progressives and former backers of Bernie Sanders' presidential candidacy signaled their dissatisfaction with the choice of Sen. Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton's running mate before it was even announced.” (Los Angeles Times, 7/22/16)
Adam Green, Founder Of The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Questioned The Choice Of Kaine And Attacked His Support For TPP. “Adam Green, founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which was neutral in the primary but has ties to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, questioned the choice of a running mate who supports the Trans Pacific Partnership. ‘It will be very ironic if voters go into election day thinking Donald Trump is better on the TPP issues than the Democratic Party,’ he said.” (Michael A. Memoli And Evan Halper, “Progressive Groups Have Already Warned They Aren't Ready For Tim Kaine,” Los Angeles Times, 7/22/16)
Slate’s Nora Caplan-Bricker Called Kaine’s Selection “A Symbolic Kick In The Teeth For The Feminist Organizations That Faithfully Championed Hillary Over Bernie Throughout The Long Primary Season.” “It’s not just that Kaine, like all 47 veeps in our nation’s history, is a white dude, not a ‘first’ who could have driven home just how historic Hillary’s candidacy is. He’s also, at least in his personal views, opposed to abortion due to his Catholic faith—a symbolic kick in the teeth for the feminist organizations that faithfully championed Hillary over Bernie throughout the long primary season.” (Slate, 7/22/16)Complied by the RNC