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GOP Jobs-Gate: In MI-01, Benishek Offers Rival a Job to Step Aside.

June 21, 2010

a Red Dog Exclusive!

525 miles from end to end, covering 31 counties, and nearly 25,000 square miles, Michigan’s 1st Congressional district is the second largest district east of the Mississippi.  MI-01 is currently held by Bart Stupak (D) who, due to his own political missteps,  is not seeking re-election.

If you recall, back in March, Stupak traded in his pro-life values for a worthless piece of paper, instantly going from a hero in the fight against Healthcare Reform, to the butt of every political joke for weeks.

Stupak’s betrayal placed him square in the middle of the Tea Party Express’ crosshairs; their number one target in 2010.  Facing insurmountable criticism and pressure, Stupak announced that he would not seek another term in Congress.

Dan Benishek

While the Tea Party itself was targeting Stupak for defeat, Tea Party members, Conservatives and pro-life advocates flocked to support the only candidate registered to run against Stupak at that time; Dr. Dan Benishek. In just a few weeks Benishek went from unknown political novice to the man who could replace Bart Stupak.  Benishek who only only had a few followers on Facebook and Twitter, suddenly had thousands and with these new followers came an abundance of political donations.

In the bat of an eye, Benishek was whisked off to New York and Washington, meeting with GOP moneymen and big-wigs while, at the same time, garnering coveted guest appearances on Hannity and the Mark Levin Show.  It is estimated that Benishek has raised a grand total of $320,000 to date, with $171,346 of that coming within days of Stupak’s Healthcare betrayal.

But as we have seen in the past, instant fame and money can corrupt a person.

Well aware that they would have to compete against a candidate flush with new money, five other Republicans (Don Hooper, Linda Goldthorpe, Jason Allen, Tom Stillings and Patrick Donlon) decided to challenge Benishek for the MI-01 Congressional nomination.  Two of those candidates, Linda Goldthorpe and Don Hooper, had previously run for the MI-01 seat.

Don Hooper

2010 will be the 5th time that Don Hooper has challenged for Michigan’s 1st Congressional seat.  In his previous races, Hooper has built his own Conservative following, outside the auspices of the Michigan Republican Party.

Late in the afternoon on May 23rd,  Benishek called Don Hooper and asked if he could stop by Don’s house for a visit.  Hooper obliged and after a few minutes of chit chat, Benishek got straight to the point;

“Well Don, the reason I am here, I would like you to drop out of the race and work for me.”

Hooper was furious!  He told Benishek that no job would get him out of the race; “not for $10 million”, “not to save his own life” would he drop out of this race.

So once again a political job was offered to a candidate in order to get him to abandon a race and, as with Sestak and Romanoff, that candidate flat out refused the offer.

What is most fascinating about the offer is its timing.  Benishek spoke with Hooper on May 23, 2010, just five days after Joe Sestak beat Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary.  That date is important because at that time the entire news media was crucifying the White House for details about the job offer that they made to Sestak.

Dan Benishek thought that making a similar offer would be the best way advance his own candidacy.

You can learn a lot from how a man reacts under pressure.  When faced with great pressure, Bart Stupak gave in to the corruption of Washington; he betrayed everything he believed in and sold out the voters of Michigan for a handful of silver.

It seems as if the same Washington pressure that did in Bart Stupak has already corrupted Dan Benishek as well.

UPDATE: 6/21 4:30 pm – Earlier today, Dr. Dan Benishek did submit a written comment to Red Dog Report which reads, in part:

I have never offered any candidate a paid position in exchange for dropping out.

I simply encouraged Don Hooper to get behind my candidacy…

As of this afternoon, Dr. Benishek has refused interview requests by Red Dog Report.

“Whoever solicits or receives, either as a political contribution, or for personal emolument, any money or thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. Whoever solicits or receives any thing of value in consideration of aiding a person to obtain employment under the United States either by referring his name to an executive department or agency of the United States or by requiring the payment of a fee because such person has secured such employment shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. This section shall not apply to such services rendered by an employment agency pursuant to the written request of an executive department or agency of the United States.”

18 USC Sec. 211 — Bribery, Graft and Conflicts of Interest: Acceptance or solicitation to obtain appointive public office

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy permalink
    June 21, 2010 12:20 pm

    Because CLEARLY Dan’s words amounted to a UCC-level violation of election law. There was no actual consideration offered. “I’d like to to drop out and come work for me” is not an offer. It’s just one competitor looking at another and saying, “Come ON, man. Seriously.”

    Nice try, scooter. Next time you author a hit piece, make sure you know what you’re talking about.

    • June 21, 2010 1:06 pm

      Hmm, looks like someone’s been to the Robert Gibbs school Subject avoidance; First the Jedi Mind trick denial, followed quickly with a personal attack. I am sure Saul Alinsky is proud of you.

    • Amy permalink
      June 21, 2010 2:25 pm

      I could never hope to live up to Gibb’s standards of subject avoidance. That’s a territory best left to White House Press Secy’s, defense lawyers, and Kanye West.

      This isn’t about me being a mean Gibbs-ite Jedi…it’s about me wanting you to be intellectually honest. I do not feel like this post is 100% intellectually honest; what you are alleging is incredibly serious. There is a great difference between a comment like Benishek’s–as presented here–and the situation the statute addresses. It’s just not on that level.

      Also, that was supposed to be “USC” not “UCC”…contract law is taking over my life right now. ‘pologies.

    • June 21, 2010 2:34 pm

      You avoided the second part of my comment, but we’ll gloss over that right now.

      Let’s talk about intellectual honesty and to do so I will ask you just one question; how much time and effort have you put into investigating this story?

    • Amy permalink
      June 21, 2010 4:45 pm

      /yawn

      I avoided the second half of your comment because it was reciprocity for my personal attack on you. Zero-sum.

      I’m not talking about the story as a whole–I’m talking about the smear campaign you’re trying to initiate.

    • June 21, 2010 5:00 pm

      I’m talking about the smear campaign you’re trying to initiate.

      It is nice to see that your exhaustive investigation has led to so many irrefutable facts and details.

      Stay classy Miss Alinsky.

    • June 21, 2010 9:51 pm

      If I reply, will this now be slimmed down to one letter at a time?

    • June 21, 2010 10:56 pm

      Only after an extended and pointless conversation.

  2. June 21, 2010 2:55 pm

    Sorry but it the only quote is “drop out and work for me”, I take that to mean work for his reelection. I don’t think he’s going to offer him a staffer spot and wouldn’t have any federal jobs to award.

    • June 21, 2010 3:06 pm

      I understand that you, and others, may interpret “drop out and work for me” to mean “volunteer”, but when the conversation took place there were only two men in the room one of them took it to mean a paid position with the campaign.

  3. Richard permalink
    June 22, 2010 10:45 am

    Come on man…This is weak!!! This type of hit piece is below a man of Don Hooper’s class. Anyone who has been in politics for more than a day knows that in this context, “work for me” means work to get Dr. Benishek elected. Since Dr. Benishek is not in an elected position, he has no jobs to give to anyone. If there is no job to offer, there can be no quid pro quo. Hooper can’t win, he should get out and support a man who shares his values. I can’t believe I just wasted 4 minutes of my life responding to this type of desperate, sad attack.

    • June 22, 2010 11:16 am

      You may not know this, but some campaign jobs are paid positions.

  4. True Conservative permalink
    June 22, 2010 1:52 pm

    As an American I believe that it is a Constitutional right to run for public office and not be asked to bow out. It clearly states that Benishek asked Don Hooper to quit running and to go work for Benishek.

    Work defined on thefreedictionary.com is as follows: 1. Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.
    2.
    a. A job; employment: looking for work.
    b. A trade, profession, or other means of livelihood.

    Employment and livelihood are both mentioned in the definition, this just goes to show that work is defined as a PAID position. To those of you that disagree let me ask you this; Would you WORK for nothing (wages or salary)? Or would you VOLUNTEER to do a particular thing and not be compensated? There is the key comparison– WORK=PAID, VOLUNTEER=FREEBIE

  5. Richard permalink
    June 22, 2010 3:23 pm

    This is truly pathetic. Are the Allen, Stillings or Hooper campaigns paying you folks to attempt to slime a good man. I guess this is what happens when your can’t get any traction in your campaign, you just try and rip a good man down.

  6. richard permalink
    June 22, 2010 9:55 pm

    Ok, so you weren’t paid. What campaign fed you this “tip”? Who are you working on behalf of? My gut says Allen. This type of smear campaign is what he excells at.

    • June 22, 2010 10:09 pm

      Ha ha, fed. I see myself sitting over here with a “will work for food” sign around my neck.

  7. June 23, 2010 12:37 am

    Here’s an intellectual freebie for you RedDog, if you wish to ask for a donation for posting a one-sided story to try to gain fame, you will be classified a useless source, and all of your posts hence will be questioned. You made your bed, now lay in it.

    • June 23, 2010 12:51 am

      FYI, I would LOVE to tell the other side of this story, but Benishek has REFUSED several requests for an interview.

  8. HillsdaleCollegeStudent permalink
    June 23, 2010 1:27 am

    This is a terrible article.
    First off, the idea the Stupak dropped out because of the TeaPartyExpress is a bold statement that cannot be supported by any solid fact. Its quite plausible he was sincere in that he retired because he wants to spend more time with his wife at home. Polling shows that roughly half of the district approved of healthcare reform, as embarrassing as I find that. So claiming he would have been voted out for that isn’t legitimate fact.
    Second, Benishek was not the only candidate in the race at the time of Stupak announcing he was retiring.
    Third, you leave Tom Stillings out of the candidate pool on the Republican side.
    Fourth, and this is where I begin speculation, it makes no logistical sense if you take the perspective that he thinks Hooper is a threat.
    Fifth, the law you cite has nothing to do with the situation if Benishek only meant a campaign job. That’s a completely legal move. If he had offered him a job in DC or to refer him to a government agency, then it becomes illegal.
    Sixth, as for Benishek, he already smeared his own reputation when he acted like a total asshole towards Senator Allen when he joined the race. Offering him a “tour of the district” when Allen moved his address was the move of a classless man since, while not a resident of the 1st District, Allen already represents 7 counties in the district.
    Seventh, just a side note, Stupak also gained $725,000 in airport improvement funds the same night he changed his vote on healthcare. He denies it bought his vote or was connected, but the fact the FAA chose that exact moment to announce it makes one question the legitimacy of Stupak’s denial.

    • June 23, 2010 6:56 am

      Wow, you are the most clueless commenter that has ever come to this site. Did you even read the article? Can you read?
      1) “Facing insurmountable criticism and pressure, Stupak announced that he would not seek another term in Congress.” – Does not say that it was “because of the Tea Party Express”
      2) Benishek was the only candidate “registered” to run against Stupak, others had declared their intentions, but had not registered as of yet.
      3) “five other Republicans (Don Hooper, Linda Goldthorpe, Jason Allen, Tom Stillings and Patrick Donlon)” – Stillings is clearly mentioned.
      4) “Hooper has built his own Conservative following” – does not say that he is a threat to win the race, just that he does have supporters.
      5) “any money or thing of value” – a paid campaign position involves money.
      6) and 7) are your opinions and have nothing to do with my article.
      Although it is good to see that you want to be involved in the political discussion, next time please take the time to read and understand the article before you go spouting off. You made yourself look completely stupid.

  9. June 23, 2010 6:58 am

    If it’s true, as you claim, that you’d LOVE to tell the other side of the story, why don’t you start by publishing Dr. Dan Benishek’s written comments in their entirety?

    I note with interest two messages you’ve posted written by Debbie Grabowski. She and her husband, Bill, are actively campaigning for Don Hooper. They moved to his area from Chicago 2 or 3 years ago. Perhaps Debbie doesn’t understand yet that Chicago-style politics doesn’t cut it with most people of the 1st Congressional District of Michigan.

    To insinuate that Dan Benishek is corrupt because he met with Scott Brown is a disservice on her part to an outstanding gentleman and honorable candidate.

    During the last mid-term election in ’08, another candidate made the same request of Mr. Hooper. Where was his outrage and indignation then?

    Last Saturday, June 19th, Mr. Hooper was to speak at a TEA Party rally in Onaway. Because he didn’t like the order in which he would speak, he stood up and made a spectacle of himself by ranting at the organizers and at Dan Benishek, too. The Sergeant at Arms was called to remove him from the room.

    Might we expect the same behavior should he finally be elected to federal office?

    Unfortunately, your blog post was called to the attention of an Upper Michigan television station, which reported last night on Hooper’s bogus claim that he was offered a paid position with the Benishek Campaign. This may bring you some ill-gotten notoriety, Mr. Reporter from Pittsburg, but it may also bring you some shame.

    • June 23, 2010 7:09 am

      If it’s true, as you claim, that you’d LOVE to tell the other side of the story, why don’t you start by publishing Dr. Dan Benishek’s written comments in their entirety?

      The denial is part of the story and should be included, the remainder of the comments are nothing more than a campaign speech.

      And it’s PITTSBURGH.

  10. June 23, 2010 7:25 am

    As I’m also a ‘reporter’, I was given an opportunity to read Mr. Benishek’s comments. They don’t sound like a campaign speech to me.

    Won’t you reconsider and publish them?

    • June 23, 2010 7:35 am

      No, but I would be willing to link to an article that you write, if you are willing to do the same.

  11. Thinker permalink
    June 23, 2010 8:49 am

    I’m curious to see what Stillings has to say, seeing as how he did not respond to TV6 News. Is it typical to try to ask your opponents to opt out of a race? Miss CJ you seem so quick to throw a Chicago politics line out against people yet the candidate it seems you support is the one breaking out all the Chicago political machine moves, asking someone to step out of the race is a Chicago style move, watch the Blago trial. Just a little FYI.

  12. June 23, 2010 9:12 am

    Yes, it’s common.

    • Thinker permalink
      June 23, 2010 9:22 am

      I like how you failed to address Benisheks’ Chicago style of politics as well. This after you rant and rave about how one sided the article was. CJ Gimme a break. So fast to jump the gun and use jargin like Chicago politics when Benishek clearly loves that style, he asked Hooper and Stillings to back out,way to not deliver where the words meet the paper. 🙂

  13. June 23, 2010 9:40 am

    I saw only one question mark in your comments and I responded to the question, Thinker.

    As for your question, Brian, I’ll consider it, provided you’ve got your facts straight. That being ‘said’, I really do write, and not just for News with Views. I’ve a deadline to meet for a print publication, so I’d best get at it. Over and out…

  14. Karl permalink
    June 23, 2010 9:54 pm

    This is the most ridiculous non-story I ever seen. To ask a candidate to step out of the race, endorse your campaign & join on to help your party win in the General is something that every candidate that has a primary does & should attempt to do. This is not the same as offering someone money or a high paying political position to exit a race & it’s nothing like what POTUS tried to do by interferring in several State party Primaries. Benishek should make this offer to everyone challenging him in the Primary. This was just done in NY-1, Ny-2, NY-19, NY-20 & NY-24 to narrow the GOP Field in the last 2 weeks. As well as 20+ other states. NRCC & State parties encourage the strongest candidate to do this in every major pick-up race. When I worked for various State GOP as field director, I encouraged candidates to do this all the time. Large Primaries are bad for the Party! Either you know nothing about politics, are hard-up for a story, or you’re attempting to “consult” for Allen or Stillings, so you’re bashing the strongest candidate & an ethical man that is clearly in the lead.

    • June 23, 2010 10:21 pm

      It is standard practice for the party to ask a candidate to step aside if they feel he/she has no chance to win in the general, but the request becomes a story when one candidate allegedly offers another candidate a paid campaign position. Hooper says that it happened, Benishek says it did not. Local news in Michigan is covering the story as well.

      Now for you accusation that I am trying to “consult” for any of the candidates, I am not. Quite honestly that just sounds like transference on your part; a reflection of the sleazeball practices that you used as a field rep.

  15. Thinker permalink
    June 24, 2010 9:34 pm

    Ken, What makes Benishek an ethical man?? You are so keen to put that in your post but have no supporting facts.

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