Bluegrass Bus Discount

Kentucky Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes “Is Drawing Criticism For Receiving Discounted Services From Her Well-Connected Father.” “Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is drawing criticism for receiving discounted services from her well-connected father that may have violated a federal campaign finance law.” (Phillip M. Bailey, “Report: Alison Lundergan Grimes May Have Received Illegal Campaign Help From Her Father,” WFPL, 8/19/14)

  • WFPL Headline: “Report: Alison Lundergan Grimes May Have Received Illegal Campaign Help From Her Father.”(Phillip M. Bailey, “Report: Alison Lundergan Grimes May Have Received Illegal Campaign Help From Her Father,” WFPL, 8/19/14)
  • The Hill Headline: “Kentucky Democrat Grimes Under Fire For Father’s Help.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Kentucky Democrat Grimes Under Fire For Father’s Help,” The Hill, 8/19/14)

Grimes Is Traversing Kentucky In A Shiny Campaign Bus Rented To Her From Her Father’s Company “For A Fraction Of What Other Companies Would Charge.”  “Alison Lundergan Grimes has barnstormed Kentucky in her 45-foot-long campaign bus, rolling up to raucous rallies and posing for photos next to the vehicle bearing an oversized image of the Democratic Senate hopeful. Left unmentioned amid the hubbub is this: Her father’s company acquired the bus just as the campaign got underway last year — and is renting it to his daughter for a fraction of what other companies would typically charge, according to a POLITICO analysis. Federal campaign finance law bars a campaign from receiving goods and services below the fair market value from a corporation, regardless of whether it is owned by a family member.” (Manu Raju, “The Grimes Family Discount,” Politico, 8/19/14)

Grimes Rents The Bus For About $456 A Day, Considerably Less Than The Typical Charge Of $1,500 To $2,000 A Day For A Similarly Sized Bus. “A review of Federal Election Commission records shows Grimes paid less than $11,000 through June to rent the bus for at least 24 days, amounting to about $456 per day. Officials at four bus companies said they typically charge $1,500 to $2,000 a day to rent a similarly sized bus, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign said it spent at least $2,200 per day to rent essentially the same bus during a swing earlier this month.” (Manu Raju, “The Grimes Family Discount,” Politico, 8/19/14)

Grimes Is Paying “Much-Lower-Than-Market Rate” For The Bus Owned By Her Father. “The Democrat challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing scrutiny over her campaign bus, which she’s renting from a company owned by her father at what may be a much-lower-than-market rate.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Kentucky Democrat Grimes Under Fire For Father’s Help,” The Hill, 8/19/14)

  • According To A Kentucky Bus Operator, The Industry Standard Is About $2,000 A Day. “Several bus operators said the campaign appears to be paying significantly less than usual for its daily rental costs. ‘It typically costs about $2,000 per day,’ said an operator of a bus company working in Kentucky, who asked for anonymity to avoid angering potential clients. ‘That’s the industry standard.’” (Manu Raju, “The Grimes Family Discount,” Politico, 8/19/14)

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Another Broken Promise: Obama Works Behind “Closed Doors” With Lobbyists On Immigration Policy

Obama Is Currently Working To Draft An Executive Action “Almost Entirely Behind Closed Doors, Where Lobbyists And Interest Groups Invited To The White House Are Making Their Case Out Of Public View.” “Since then, the process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency — and his most consequential use of executive power — has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view.” (Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions,” The New York Times, 8/18/14)

  • Working With Lobbyists Has Opened Obama “To Criticism That He Is Presiding Over Opaque Policy-Making, With The Potential To Reward Political Backers At The Expense Of Other Interests, Including Some On The Losing Side Who Are Threatening To Sue.” “It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests, including some on the losing side who are threatening to sue.” (Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions,” The New York Times, 8/18/14)

Administration Officials Have Said Obama Has Met With “An Array Of Lawmakers, Experts And Business Leaders For A Wide Range Of Perspectives To Inform His Plans For Executive Actions.” ““White House officials say Mr. Obama has been inclusive as he looks to wield his authority, reaching out to an array of lawmakers, experts and business leaders for a wide range of perspectives to inform his plans for executive actions.” (Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions,” The New York Times, 8/18/14)

  • “The Go-It-Alone Approach Has Left The Administration — Which Claims To Be The Most Transparent In United States History — Essentially Making Policy From The White House, Replacing Congressional Hearings And Floor Debates With Closed Meetings For Invited Constituencies.” ​(Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions,” The New York Times, 8/18/14)

FLASHBACK: During His 2008 Campaign, Obama Spoke Out Against The Influence Of Lobbyists Engaging In “Secret Meetings”

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In 2008, Obama Said Washington Needed To Reform It’s Politics “By Taking Power Away From The Lobbyists That Kill Good Ideas And Good Plans With Secret Meetings And Campaign Checks.” OBAMA: “And change in Washington is what we need right now. Now, Green Bay—Green Bay, I want to be honest with you. I want to be honest with you. This change is not going to be easy. It’s going to require reforming our politics by taking power away from the lobbyists that kill good ideas and good plans with secret meetings and campaign checks.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 9/22/08)

More High-Flying Turbulence For Air Mary

A Review Of Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Official Office Disbursements And Campaign Records Show That She May Have Violated Federal Law Again By Using Taxpayer Dollars To Charter Private Planes To Fundraise. “Vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is under renewed scrutiny for potentially violating campaign finance laws by tapping official Senate funds to cover the cost of fundraising trips. A review of Landrieu’s office expenditures and campaign records reveal two trips from 2012 that may have been improperly billed to her Senate office rather than her reelection campaign.” (John Bresnahan and Manu Raju, “Landrieu Faces More Travel Questions,” Politico, 8/18/14)

Landrieu’s Disbursement Records Show That On August 23, 2012, Taxpayers Paid $6,787 On Private Air Travel To Shreveport For Landrieu. “On Aug. 23, 2012, Butler Aviation charged $6,787 for an in-state flight for Landrieu that included multiple stops. The flight was from New Orleans to Vadalia to Shreveport to Alexandria and back to New Orleans, according to official disbursement records Landrieu filed with the Secretary of the Senate.” (John Bresnahan and Manu Raju, “Landrieu Faces More Travel Questions,” Politico, 8/18/14)

  • On That Day, Landrieu’s Reelection Campaign Reported An “‘In-Kind DonationFor Catering And Room Rental In Shreveport And Bossier City.” On the day of Landrieu’s Aug. 23, 2012 trip, Federal Election Commission records indicate the reelection campaign received an ‘in-kind donation’ for catering and room rental in Shreveport and Bossier City, which is about two miles from Shreveport. Landrieu aides said the trip included a ‘meet and greet’ for young professionals hosted by the campaign that was incidental to the official stops she attended that day.” (John Bresnahan and Manu Raju, “Landrieu Faces More Travel Questions,” Politico, 8/18/14)

“On Oct. 18, 2012, Butler Aviation Charged $3,437 From A Landrieu Flight From New Orleans To Opelousas To Patterson Back To New Orleans.” (John Bresnahan and Manu Raju, “Landrieu Faces More Travel Questions,” Politico, 8/18/14)

  • On That Day, Landrieu Attended A Campaign Fundraiser In Morgan City, “Which Is About Seven Milles From Patterson.” “On the same day as the Oct. 18, 2012, trip, local newspaper reports indicate that Landrieu spoke at a fundraiser held at the Petroleum Club in Morgan City, which is about seven miles from Patterson.” (John Bresnahan and Manu Raju, “Landrieu Faces More Travel Questions,” Politico, 8/18/14)

Last Week, Reports Emerged That Landrieu Charged Taxpayers For Fundraising Trips To Lake Charles, LA And Dallas, TX

An Official Records Review Found That Landrieu Billed Taxpayers $8,900 To Charter Private Plane Travel To Attend Two Separate Fundraisers.  “In one instance, Landrieu spent more than $3,200 in taxpayer money for a roundtrip flight from New Orleans to Lake Charles for a November fundraiser, though federal law doesn’t allow such payments. Tax dollars are prohibited from being spent on campaign travel, which must be paid with campaign funds. … Now, Landrieu is reimbursing $5,700 for a September flight from Shreveport to Dallas that was charged to her office. The senator’s office said Landrieu was traveling through Dallas on a charter so she could take a connecting flight to Washington and a fundraiser was added to her schedule for her stopover.” (Melinda Deslatte, “Landrieu Reimbursing Senate For Charter Flights Involving Campaign Events, Criticized By GOP,” The Associated Press, 8/14/14)