February 06, 2004
Norquist to be investigated?

Remember this article about how Grover Norquist was going to help the GOP gain complete domination of American politics? Turns out it may contain a confession of wrongdoing in it:

Diners brushed past the men unaware, as Ken Mehlman and Grover Norquist hopscotched across state lines, refining what Norquist calls, with a wink, "our secret plan to seize power." Mehlman, the Bush-Cheney campaign manager, and Norquist, gardener of the conservative grass roots, were discussing a new tactic for the 2004 election: The campaign would activate the conservative base as it never had before.

Norquist, 47, is known for his weekly strategy sessions of conservatives, a Washington institution. But quietly, for the past five years, he also has been building a network of "mini-Grover" franchises. He has crisscrossed the country, hand-picking leaders, organizing meetings of right-wing advocates in 37 states. The network will meet its first test in the presidential race. On this evening at Harry's, several blocks from campaign headquarters in Arlington, Norquist presented his master contact list to Mehlman, mapped out and bound in a book.

"Fabulous, Grover. Awesome," Mehlman said, scanning the book like a hungry man reading a menu. "We're going to take that energy and harness it."

The binder was Norquist's gift to the presidential race.

Problem is, the gift of that binder may be in violation of campaign finance laws, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Americans for Tax Reform is a corporation and campaigns are prohibited from accepting contributions from corporations. According to FEC regulations, Bush-Cheney could not accept the list if it came directly from Americans for Tax Reform. CREW believes that Bush-Cheney may have also violated FEC filing requirements by failing to record the contribution of the list.

Forbes Magazine first noted this right after the WaPo article came out, but it's only just now that the FEC complaint has been filed. Here's CREW's statement, in which they also point out that even if Norquist could claim that his master list was his sole personal property, it would still have value in excess of the $2000 hard money limit.

Grover, Grover, Grover. What words will you use to describe Melanie Sloan and the FEC now that you've already called everyone you don't like Nazis? Those are the risks you take with hyperbole abuse, I guess.

Thanks to Alfredo Garcia for the tip.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 06, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

More Norquist. It's pretty nasty stuff, even for him.

Posted by: Linkmeister on February 6, 2004 8:02 PM

If Norquist is charged, and all the people named in his book of lists scurry like rats, perhaps that will reduce his disreputable effort to a size such that we can drown it in a bathtub.

Posted by: Steve Bates on February 7, 2004 7:40 PM

I wonder if there has been anyone else born in the twentieth century given the name grover.

Posted by: Tek_XX on February 8, 2004 1:10 AM

Steve Bates wrote,
"If Norquist is charged, and all the people named in his book of lists scurry like rats, perhaps that will reduce his disreputable effort to a size such that we can drown it in a bathtub."

I hate to rain on this parade, but an FEC investigation is about as meaningful as the Bush committee's forthcoming investigation of "intelligence failures."

From WaPo 2/12/97 "The Little Agency that Can't":
"Congress also imposed stringent limits on the FEC's powers: The commission can't launch criminal investigations, can't impose penalties on its own, can't get court injunctions before elections to halt illegal activity."

Posted by: Handy Fuse on February 8, 2004 9:02 AM

Handy Fuse, you're taking me waaay too seriously. I was just playing with Norquist's most famous quote. You're right about the FEC, though.

Posted by: Steve Bates on February 9, 2004 8:41 AM