Boxer bought endorsement from Waters in 2004, 2010

posted at 3:35 pm on September 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

What does the chair of the Senate Ethics Committee have in common with one of two House Democrats expected to go on trial for ethics violations?  Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate panel, paid $5000 for the endorsement of Maxine Waters this year and $25,000 in 2004, according to Big Government.  This year’s payment for inclusion in Waters’ mailer came when the investigation into the ethics of Waters was well known.

First, though, the Washington Times explains Waters’ scheme to get unlimited donations from her colleagues:

Rep. Maxine Waters has turned political endorsements into a family business, using federal election laws to charge California candidates and political causes to include their names as her personal picks on a sample ballot, or “slate mailer,” she sends to as many as 200,000 South Central Los Angeles voters, records show.

Some statewide candidates paid as much as $45,000 for their share of the costs to be included in the mailer, according to state and federal election records, and while it can be costly for the candidates, the mailer has proved profitable for Mrs. Waters’ daughter, Karen.

Karen Waters’ public relations firm, Progressive Connections, has been paid $354,500 since late 2004 to direct production and distribution of the mailer – about a third of the $1 million collected from the candidates and issue groups seeking to be included on the sample ballot, the records show.

In 2004, the FEC ruled that this scheme was legal, but it hardly exemplifies an ethical approach to either endorsements or contributions.  Having family members involved in the pipeline at least gives the impression that this is a way for Waters to gain personal benefits from political contributions.  The Sunlight Foundation says it’s the equivalent of “selling” her endorsement, while CREW noted that it seemed designed to benefit her family, including her husband.

The chair of the Senate Ethics Committee seems remarkably unperturbed by the problem, even while the Waters investigation has been public knowledge.  There is a reason for that, which is that nepotism runs in the Democratic family:

Critics charge that Boxer has actively aided and abetted this scheme, both in the context of her 2004 and 2010 re-election campaigns.

In 2004, Boxer paid $25,000 for Waters’ endorsement.  But ahead of this year’s California primary—in which Boxer faced no serious competition– and when it was well-known that Waters was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, Boxer paid Waters $5,000 for her backing.  It is this later payment that those monitoring Waters’ ethical woes say could act as an anchor tied to Boxer’s ankle, as she heads towards November.

“The amount is lower than what Boxer paid in 2004, yes,” said one Republican operative with whom we spoke.  “But the Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee paying for an endorsement of an official under investigation for ethics infractions connected to her using her standing to benefit her family when that fact has been widely reported presents a major optics problem, to say the least.  Ethics are already something of a surprise Achilles Heel for Boxer.  Her committee let Chris Dodd off the hook, and she’s been criticized for using her repeat candidacies for the financial benefit of her family, too.”  Added that operative,  “This is an attack ad waiting to happen.”

Indeed, Boxer has been called out for steering about $500,000 in contributions made to her political action committee to her son’s consulting firm between 2001 and 2009.  Like Waters’ scheme, this arrangement has attracted the attention of CREW, which focused on Boxer in a 2007 exposé entitled “Family Affair.”  “Waters’ problems run far deeper, of course,” said the same operative.  “But there are some interesting parallels here, to be sure.”

Democrats came to power in 2006 in large part by promising to “drain the swamp.”  That doesn’t mean that individual members of both parties won’t commit ethics violations, but Boxer’s position as chair of the Senate’s enforcement panel while participating in Waters’ scheme certainly tells a story about the commitment to clean government in the Democratic Party.


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None of this is surprising. Why did people think the Swamp Thing was going to drain it’s own habitat?

Guardian on September 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

The Dems are one vast influence peddling operation.

rob verdi on September 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Now THIS is what I call a very nice SEPTEMBER SURPRISE!!! Although, I am not surprised at the behavior of the parties involved. LOSERS!

HomeoftheBrave on September 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

As long as they didn’t call her ma’am, everything is just fine.

MississippiMom on September 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Culture of Corruption.

WisCon on September 7, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Boxer is fighting her last round…she may even lose SF she is so inept…

right2bright on September 7, 2010 at 3:43 PM

WOW

gophergirl on September 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

I really think it’s much worse than I thought.

Oink on September 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Karen Waters’ public relations firm, Progressive Connections

‘nuf said… corruption was bound to come of it.

mankai on September 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Senator Babs is just keeping it real, she’s down with the brown.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate panel, paid $5000 for the endorsement of Maxine Waters this year and $25,000 in 2004

On the bright side, Water’s endorsement is down 80% in market value in six years.

Vashta.Nerada on September 7, 2010 at 3:48 PM

I was wondering earlier how Boxer was going to find a way to lose the close Senate race to Fiorina. Breitbart then obliged me with this story, as tying Boxer to the shiathouse-rat crazy Waters should be enough to sink her with a lot of Cali voters.

teke184 on September 7, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Democrats came to power in 2006 in large part by promising to “drain the swamp.” That doesn’t mean that individual members of both parties won’t commit ethics violations, but Boxer’s position as chair of the Senate’s enforcement panel while participating in Waters’ scheme certainly tells a story about the commitment to clean government in the Democratic Party.

No, Ed—you don’t get it–must be that reptilian side of your brain again. Drain the swamp does not mean to get rid of ethics violators..No, it means to marginalize republicans and get rid of Blue Dogs so they can’t play in the swamp. Then, after they get wiped out this year, a new crop of fetid statist liberal teat suckers is on its way in 2012. So, Nancy’s plan is right in the middle of phase II. It’s the bottom feeders that are going to pop up next year that we really need to worry about.

ted c on September 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Democrats came to power in 2006 in large part by promising to “drain the swamp.”

With jackals like Boxer the swamp could never be drained.

Schadenfreude on September 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

mctowler on September 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

No, we vote in this country. Don’t forget it.

dogsoldier on September 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Boxer paying cash to another nutcase liberal to buy her support should not surprise anyone with a brain. Boxer gets elected in California where integrity has been missing for decades. Look at who wins the elctions there and ask how have they not already been bankrupt years ago.

volsense on September 7, 2010 at 3:56 PM

These are the influencial woman of California. No wonder we are broke and the laughing stock of the nation.
I can only pray the witch Boxer is defeated and Waters is censored.

FireBlogger on September 7, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Lifetime bans on lobbying, serving on corporate boards and government related non-profit work for anyone willing to accept the privilege of serving the in the US Congress.

Anyone cynical enough to believe our government is corrupt to the core and that most taxpayer money is wasted, is probably being an optimist.

rickyricardo on September 7, 2010 at 3:57 PM

no surprise here. but this is more complicated that the avg voter wants to understand.

kelley in virginia on September 7, 2010 at 3:58 PM

What good is my money if it can’t buy her the things she wants.

Tommy_G on September 7, 2010 at 3:59 PM

As the election returns roll in, I certainly hope Future Former Ma’am Senator Boxer looks like this.

ted c on September 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM

We’re going to need a bigger drain.

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 4:01 PM

“It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title”

Jocundus on September 7, 2010 at 4:03 PM

ssdd with these folks…

cmsinaz on September 7, 2010 at 4:03 PM

mctowler on September 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

No, we vote in this country. Don’t forget it.

dogsoldier on September 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Original quote is gone. Must have been a doozy.

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 4:03 PM

hey, ted c., our wonderful Congressman answered affirmatively when asked would he vote (again) for Pelosi as Speaker. Perriello, D, VA5: one & done.

roberthurtforcongress.com

kelley in virginia on September 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Dear Lord…

May Mrs. Boxer have a head on collision with Mrs. Pelosi on her way down.

turfmann on September 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM

kelley in virginia on September 7, 2010 at 4:06 PM

kelley in virginia on September 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM

one and done is right on lil’ Tommy P….I look forward to firing him then seeing him in the unemployment line or doing the duffel bag drag back home to whatever the hell is it that he thinks he can do….

ted c on September 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM

I confess I don’t get why this little maneuver is a violation of ethics. As I understand it politicians pay printing and mailing costs to be on a flyer that has a ‘slate’ style sample ballot. Is this REALLY buying an endorsement? I don’t see how, unless the printing and mailing costs are far less than the buy-in and profit is made or your opponent can get the endorsement by paying the buy-in fee.

Maybe I’m just ethically challenged (I’d hate that as compared to a Washington politician) but I just don’t see the infraction…ethically.

Lucy, please esplain!

JonPrichard on September 7, 2010 at 4:08 PM

kelley in virginia on September 7, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Thread winner. I agree completely.

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 4:10 PM

An endorsement from Maxine Waters is that much?

Sorry Babs, you got gypped.

Shiny_Tiara on September 7, 2010 at 4:13 PM

My question is: Is this just something that Waters does or is it something they ALL do? Both sides, that is. Waiting for this to play out. Make no mistake, I think Waters and Boxer are slime but I want to know EVERYONE who does this sort of thing.

Jarhead68 on September 7, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Boxer will simply use the standard Democrat defense:
Geez, I’m a Democrat…we’re not SUPPOSED to have ethics!!”

Justrand on September 7, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Nanzi (“It takes a woman to clean up the House”) Felonosi needs to be tarred with this at warp speed.

Western_Civ on September 7, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Hey, Babs? Call me. My endorsement, by coincidence is also $25k. I’ll even vote for you for $50k(it shouldn’t matter I don’t live in California).

Squiggy on September 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Thread winner. I agree completely.

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 4:10 PM

heh. smartass.

ted c on September 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Vote Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Maxine Waters out of office in 2010!

Carly Fiorina is the Republican candidate who is running against Boxer for California’s Senate seat.

Learn more about Carly Fiorina at her campaign website:
http://www.carlyforca.com/

Bruce Brown is the Republican who is running against Rep. Maxine Waters.

Learn more about Bruce Brown at his campaign website:
http://www.bbrownforcongress.com/

There are only 56 Days before the November election and early voting generally starts 30 days before election day.

Now is the time to be talking to all of your friends and relatives to make sure they know who to vote for in this critically important election.

wren on September 7, 2010 at 4:19 PM

So this is what Progress looks like? Kinda… ugly.

karl9000 on September 7, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Cozy. Do Babs’ donors know about the way she’s spending their money. Silly me, they’re all part of the D crowd.

Kissmygrits on September 7, 2010 at 4:26 PM

The Dems appear to have perfected the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch my back” and the “Keep it all in the family” method of abusing campaign donations.

onlineanalyst on September 7, 2010 at 4:34 PM

The swamp’s drain is clogged…with cash.

cartooner on September 7, 2010 at 4:48 PM

I’d love to see this mailer that Waters sends out- does it mention that she is paid to put those names on “her slate of candidates”? Shouldn’t there be full disclosure to the voters? She is giving her approval based on a payment. Did she approach any contenders and give them a chance to up the bid?

We have a weak FEC if this passes muster.

Isn’t this the same thing as giving business to a military contractor you have done business with before a open bidding process is complete?

journeyintothewhirlwind on September 7, 2010 at 4:55 PM

$25k down to $5 in 6 years. Waters finds out that even race hustlers have to face competition once 1600 Penn. Ave gets involved…

phreshone on September 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Bit of a mark-down this year. Going out of bidness sale?

mojo on September 7, 2010 at 5:14 PM

How can it cost 25K in 2004 and 5K in 2010 and go out to 200,000 voters and be considered Boxer’s share of the distribution cost?

Forgive me but I think mailing costs have went UP since 2004?

This is bogus.

journeyintothewhirlwind on September 7, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Define crooked?

Has anybody paid attention to the oath of office these liars take? Treason???

tarpon on September 7, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Boxer stinks of either stupidity or desparation. Paying $5000 for an endorsement by Maxine (Miss Ethics) Waters?!?!?

Stupidity on one hand, deparation on the other. Neither is becoming to a Senator.

Of course, she is a Dem. Right now, she is probably both, and this may be par for the course.

Moron

DuctTapeMyBrain on September 7, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Circular firing squad.

unclesmrgol on September 7, 2010 at 5:49 PM

The mostest transvoluted house evah!!!!

about as transparent as 3 feet of wet mud.

RealMc on September 7, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Circular firing squad.

unclesmrgol on September 7, 2010 at 5:49 PM

they’d find a way to screw that up too……

RealMc on September 7, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Wonder if this will find its way into an attack ad by Fiorina.

Steve Z on September 7, 2010 at 6:10 PM

In 2004, the FEC ruled that this scheme was legal, but it hardly exemplifies an ethical approach to either endorsements or contributions.

Unreal, A big reason why our poitical system is teetering on collapse.

whbates on September 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Lucy, please esplain!

JonPrichard on September 7, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Article says that the printing and mail costs of $354,500 are only about a third of the money actually collected; in other words, Progressive Connections was clearing a cool $100K per annum that Ms Waters’ Korean/Vietnamese/Hispanic constituents could never have had a hope of getting paid for identical services, because they are not related to aristocracy like Karen is.

rwenger43 on September 7, 2010 at 6:21 PM

Please call me Senator White Guilt please.

Hummer53 on September 7, 2010 at 6:32 PM

In my hometown we had a longstanding rep who made it to the Speakership only to be taken down with a 43-count indictment for corruption, faulty bookkeeping and embezzlement from a supposedly charitable event.

Many pols don’t understand why it is ‘unethical’ to directly peddle influence but perfectly ‘acceptable’ to do it indirectly. Can’t say it’s always clear to me, either.

Why else would a guy work for 30+ years to become Speaker if he wasn’t going to be allowed to profit from his influence? /sarc

(Note to Ms Waters: see the Founding Fathers, most of whom took pay cuts to serve in Congress)

rwenger43 on September 7, 2010 at 6:36 PM

This is totally unexpected…

lovingmyUSA on September 7, 2010 at 6:37 PM

“Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate panel, paid $5000 for the endorsement of Maxine Waters this year and $25,000 in 2004″

On the bright side, Water’s endorsement is down 80% in market value in six years.

Vashta.Nerada on September 7, 2010 at 3:48 PM

+1

rwenger43 on September 7, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Senator Babs is just keeping it real, she’s down with the brown.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Knowing Babs the Bigot , she probably threw in some fried chicken and watermelon to “sweeten” the deal, and show that she’s not racist and stuff…

cableguy615 on September 7, 2010 at 6:53 PM

They drained the swamp… its called ‘wetlands’ now.

No more swamp!

So simple…

ajacksonian on September 7, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Umm, does this mean “buying” black voters via Maxine donations?

AshleyTKing on September 7, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Hey, if the libs can get dead people to vote for them, what surprises you about this. They’re all corrupt and need to go.

Wills on September 8, 2010 at 8:38 AM