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