Blumenthal took PAC money despite claims to have refused it

When Richard Blumenthal jumped into the vacuum left by Chris Dodd’s sudden urge to retire from the Senate, most analysts wrote off the Connecticut race as a preordained hold for Democrats.  After all, the Attorney General was a tremendously popular politician, long considered ripe for the national stage, and Blumenthal faced only a former Congressman and two political neophytes as potential candidates.  A funny thing has happened on the way to the electoral forum, however — Blumenthal has been exposed not once but several times as dishonest.  In the latest scandal, his claims to have rejected PAC money has been shown false by the Linda McMahon campaign:

Richard Blumenthal’s words are haunting him again. Already forced to apologize for saying he had served “in” Vietnam in the Marine Reserve rather than stateside, the state attorney general’s campaign for U.S. Senate is now being challenged to explain his assertion that he had “never taken PAC money” and has “rejected all special interest money.”

Federal records show that he has accepted $480,000 in political action committee money since he made that claim in January. Moreover, his Republican opponent, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, points to nearly $17,000 Blumenthal received as a state legislative candidate in the 1980s — a figure Blumenthal’s campaign does not dispute.

If the money amounted to just a few thousand dollars, perhaps Blumenthal could be forgiven; after all, not every donation over the transom gets the candidate’s attention in a campaign.  No one raises $480,000 in seven months without knowing where it originated, however, not unless the candidate is a complete empty suit acting as a puppet for his handlers.  In fact, no one raises that kind of money from any sector without actively campaigning for it.

Why did Blumenthal make that claim?  He wanted to show that he could beat McMahon and her self-funded campaign without selling out:

Blumenthal was then asked how tough the race would be — and how expensive.

“I’ve never taken PAC money, and I have rejected all special interest money because I have stood strong and taken legal action against many of those special interests,” he responded.

When pressed again on how much the race might cost, Blumenthal said it was too early to tell but said he was going to run a “very grass-roots campaign” and seek fundraising “from ordinary citizens.”

Blumenthal’s campaign said that he didn’t lie about this, and that he was talking about his previous runs for AG.  The context of the interview, however, was on the Senate race, for which Blumenthal had announced his candidacy the day before.  And the point that Blumenthal was making was to differentiate himself as a candidate for this race, not for the races he had already won.

Would MSNBC have had Blumenthal on a live interview to give a historical perspective on long-past races for state office in Connecticut?  Hardly.  Blumenthal was campaigning for this office, not reliving his glory days, and everyone knows it.

This race was Blumenthal’s to lose.  So far, he’s doing a great job of it.