He’s From That Other Washington, And That Makes It Okay

After the various fundraising scandals that sank many Republican political careers (our own J. D. Hayworth may have been torpedoed, in part, by his association with Jack Abramoff), the sick bastard inside of me worried that the Republicans would learn from these mistakes and not affiliate themselves with some of the more unsavory characters that they have been raising money from.

Well, as it turns out, there is not much danger of that.

Tom StewartEnter Tom Stewart. Stewart, his wife and his company’s PAC, has given $13,000 to John Shadegg and $20,000 to the Arizona Republican Party. Like many members of the Thurston Howell wing of his party, he doesn’t let his belief in free markets interfere with his trying to get his share of government contracts. He was living in Washington State until he got fed up with their inheritance taxes. He pulled up stakes and moved to Scottsdale.

The guy may have just finally worn out his welcome too. He’s had numerous battles with the Seattle City Council. A few years back, his company, Service Group of America, was involved in a controversy over state food service contracts. Even worse, his company was fined $60,000 dollars for distributing tainted meat.

But hey, given who throws money around to politicians, this is pretty tame stuff.

Stewart’s most spectacular violation, at least in terms of the punishment, was back in 1998 when he pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws. He was fined $570,000 for an illegal contribution to an initiative campaign, plus, get ready for this, $4.2 million for illegal contributions to the campaign of Republican congressional candidate Peter von Reichbauer. Stewart had had his employees give to von Reichbauer’s campaign, and he would reimburse them from company funds. This is considered a big no no, since it amounts to a corporate contribution. In addition to the fine, he was subjected to house arrest, had to wear an ankle monitor, and do 160 hours of community service.

Did this make him persona non grata in Republican circles in Washington? Not immediately. He still hosted the annual Republican picnic at one of his homes, before dialing back his activity with the party. Maybe they no longer wanted to have anything to do with the man.

Here in Arizona though? Well, I guess our Republicans don’t have the same standards.

6 thoughts on “He’s From That Other Washington, And That Makes It Okay

  1. Tedski,

    This is pathetic. The mention of Abramoff is meaningless. He was giving money to congressmen in a quid pro quo manner and sometimes receiving specific votes in return. In that case the elected official is as guilty as the lobbyist.

    In your ad hominem attack on Stewart you give no example of him ever asking for or receiving anything in return for his donations. Therefore there is no crime on the part of the recipient. On top of that you describe his past crimes but give no facts pointing to a current crime. Nice job of forgiveness.

    You make a clear case that Stewart had some issues in the past with donations and that his company was fined for substandard product. You could make the same case against Taco Bell or Wendy’s over some problem they had with their supplier chain at one time. Are they to be forever guilty? What about Johnson and Johnson with their Tylenol scare back in the 80’s?

    Why don’t you save your time for a real issue when a crime has taken place that is current news?

  2. Kid-

    Given that he’s got a history of playing fast and loose with campaign finance laws, I’d say it’s pretty relevant. I suppose the next time that some Republican brings up Dennis DeConcini’s decades old foibles when discussing Democratic finances, you’ll be right there talking that down too, right?

  3. If I tried to pin DeConcini’s past on Giffords because he wrote a $1,000 check to her campaign it would be a pretty weak argument. But I am not making such a pathetic argument.

    Maybe Tom Stewart is the scum of the earth but you have not made a case that he has asked for or received anything of value based on his donations. Therefore the people to whom he gives the money are not necessarily tainted. Lots of businesses have made mistakes and been fined. If the guy goes shopping at Costco does that make Costco a bad corporation for taking his money? No. Your argument is really weak in this case.

  4. Wow. Great catch Tedski. I thought Renzi was oozing sleaze because of his piddly $25,000 FEC fine for corporate contributions. $4.2 million? Wow.

    Kid, your argument proves once again that the GOP has an absolute tin ear when it comes to how average voters view political corruption. They aren’t stupid. They know corruption when they see it; they don’t need a road map or legally satisfactory proof – they have common sense.

  5. Mike,

    Renzi is suspected of doing a favor in office for financial gain. If that is true it is a serious offence.

    There is no such allegation even being made in regard to Tom Stewart. I may have a tin ear toward the electorate but that is not the case I am trying to make here. Tedski’s attack piece is an empty attempt at guilt by association.

    I hope for your side that all of Gifforrds’ contributors are perfect and innocent in every way if this is to be the new standard.

    What if someone convicted of possessing child porn 10 years ago gave $500 to Gabrielle. Can our side then claim she supports child porn?

Comments are closed.