Remember when Giuliani tried to use the tragedy of 9/11 to “postpone”
the mayoral electon in NY? There was an especially stark example of his
bullying contempt for proper democratic practice–and a sign of things
to come, as this news makes quite clear.
Here’s a guy who will use any pretext, and resort to any tactics, to pre-arrange
his coronation on Inauguration Day, 2009. In other words, he is the perfect choice
to carry on Bush/Cheney’s vast, protracted coup against democracy.
And so he bears close watching; and the Democrats must also be watched carefully,
and pushed as hard as possible for real electoral reform ASAP. For if they leave
the voting system as it is, merely adding a few bells and whistles (belated audits,
“paper trails,” etc.), Rudy’s troops–or Mitt’s, or Fred’s–will have no trouble
finding ways to steal the White House one more time.
September 28, 2007
MOUTH EXCLUSIVE: CALIFORNIA MONEYMAN UNMASKED
Rudy Giuliani’s top fundraiser, hedge fund giant Paul Singer, revealed himself today as the sole financial backer of a stalled ballot drive to turn California into a motherlode of Republican votes in 2008.
Singer’s disclosure, made in a statement to The Daily News, came a day after Republican operatives in the Golden State announced they were halting their ballot effort, in part because they were unsure of their own funders’ identity.
The group, Californians for Equal Representation, had received exactly one donation for $175,000, from a mysterious, Missouri-based corporation identified only as Take Initiative America.
The lack of specifics left organizers in California open to allegations they had something to hide, and several – among them lead lawyer Tom Hiltachk and spokesman Kevin Eckery – resigned Thursday rather than defend the arrangement.
“I have demanded that Take Initiative America fully disclose the source of its funds and have been assured that it will do so,” Hiltachk said in resigning. “Nonetheless, I am deeply troubled by their failure to disclose.”
But Singer, apparently eager to put the disclosure issue to rest, yesterday stepped out of the shadows to reveal himself.
“I contributed to the Take Initiative America because I believe in proportional voting in the Electoral College,” Singer said in a statement e-mailed to The News. “I made the contribution without any restrictions, including whether or how it would need to be disclosed. I left disclosure completely up to TIA.”
Sources added later that all $175,000 came from Singer, a founding partner of Elliot Associates, a $7 billion hedge fund with a long history of funding GOP causes.
The ballot initiative, if approved, would have changed how California apportions its electoral college votes. Under the states’ current winner-take-all system, the Democratic nominee has traditionally pocketed all 55 electoral votes in the left-leaning state – the nation’s largest electoral prize.
Instead, electoral votes would be apportioned to the winner in each congressional district – a change likely to shift up to 22 of those 55 votes into the GOP column, given the number of safely Republican districts in the state.
For the GOP, it would be a bonanza, akin to adding a large, new Republican state to the map.
“It’s the practical equivalent of painting Ohio or Pennsylvania red, before the election even starts,” said Republican consultant Dan Schnur.
Sources close to Singer insisted that his support for the ballot change was unrelated to his work for the Giuliani campaign, where he is a member of the national finance committee.
Campaign insiders say Singer has helped raise well over $500,000 for the former mayor’s presidential bid, making him their top rainmaker.
But opponents of the ballot drive scoffed at suggestions Giuliani wasn’t at least tacitly aware of Singer’s giving.
“It’s pretty clear that all of this is coming back to bite Rudy in his posterior,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, who had worked to defeat the ballot initiative.
Giuliani senior advisor Anthony Carbonetti said simply, “There is no coordination between the Giuliani campaign and any statewide effort.”
Either way, it seems unlikely Singer’s disclosure will resurrect the ballot push.
When told of Singer’s involvement late Friday, Eckery said simply, “I am glad someone is coming forward. And from our standpoint, it would have been perfectly fine to have his name earlier.”
– Dave Saltonstall