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Memo to Jerry Moran: Your campaign committee makes the PMA group look like Boy Scouts

The Hill recently reported:

The Hill’s Roxana Tiron reports, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) was among seven lawmakers cleared of wrongdoing by the House ethics committee Friday.

Tiahrt had been accused of exchanging earmarks for campaign contributions with the now-defunct lobbying firm PMA Group. The House ethics report said that investigators found no evidence that any lawmaker was banking on campaign donations when making decisions about earmarks that benefited PMA clients.

Moran’s campaign then did this:

“The fact there’s not apparently an ongoing inquiry by Congress, we don’t think that takes away from the manner in which Tiahrt has operated in the Congress for many years,” a senior Moran campaign official said on background. “You will hear more from us on that.”

I don’t think this is going to get Moran anywhere.  This kind of attack — the passive-aggressive, vague criticism — is done by campaigns which are in trouble.  In public, Moran says his Senate campaign is going great, but this criticism makes one wonder what the internal polling numbers are saying.

Just as importantly:  Moran doesn’t by any means have the upper-hand on “ethics.”  I’ve lost count of how many members of Moran’s steering committee were part of the JCCC Foundation in 2006 when its leaders tried — and failed — to pressure college trustees to stop investigating former President Charles Carlsen, after four women accused him of sexual harassment.  And still today, the private JCCC Foundation makes the PMA Group look like the Boy Scouts.  It is bailed out with $300,000 annually, and its current board includes several JCCC leaders who have already been proven to be corrupt — Terry Calaway, Lynn Mitchelson, Shirley Brown-VanArsdale, and Dick Bond (who led the failed pro-Carlsen effort in 2006, telling now-President Calaway, “I don’t care what Carlsen did.”).

The JCCC Foundation chair is Bob Regnier, a Jerry Moran supporter and Kansas City’s first TARP recipient — yes, taxpayers are bailing out both Regnier’s bank and his non-profit.  Regnier is a supporter of one “mainstream” group that publicly sent spies into Evangelical churches prior to the 2005 marriage amendment vote, and a second “traditional” group that in 2008 labeled as “racists” former Congressman Jim Ryun and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

Keep in mind, this senseless attack by Moran’s campaign was done AFTER a recent major campaign shake-up that led to the replacement of the campaign manager.

After the Moran campaign’s baseless criticism, well-respected Kansas leaders issued the following statements in support of Todd Tiahrt:

PRESS RELEASE

March 1, 2010

For Immediate Release
Speaker Pro Tem of the Kansas House Arlen Siegfreid (R-Olathe), House Majority Leader Ray Merrick (R-Stilwell), Assistant Majority Leader Peggy Mast (R- Emporia) and Majority Whip Rob Olson (R-Olathe) released the following statement in reference to a quote from Jerry Moran’s U.S. Senate campaign to The Hill Blog regarding Congressman Todd Tiahrt’s complete exoneration by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Siegfreid stated, “Todd Tiahrt is a man of honor and integrity, so it was no surprise to those of us who know him that he’s been fully exonerated by the Standards Committee. What does come as a surprise is the reaction from Jerry Moran, who appears poised to ignore the ruling and continue attacking Rep. Tiahrt on the issue. This isn’t the way to earn the respect of Kansans. I’m supporting a genuine statesman. Perhaps the news of Rep. Tiahrt’s exoneration and his opponent’s reaction tells voters all they need to know when choosing a Senator.”

Merrick said, “The unfounded political attacks against the character and integrity of Todd Tiahrt have no place in Kansas.”

“Apparently, the truth is not important to Jerry Moran. I am disappointed that after all his talk about his Kansas values and his Kansas roots, Jerry Moran brings the dirtiest of Washington politics home with him. Conservatives expect to be attacked by Nancy Pelosi and her liberal elite friends, but when a fellow Kansan seeks to perpetuate the same baseless, partisan slurs and false accusations it is negative campaigning at its worst. Kansans deserve better,” said Olson.

Mast stated, “Kansans believe that honesty and integrity are more than just words. We expect our political leaders to debate the issues with passion and vigor, but to conduct themselves and their campaigns with honor and truthfulness. To attack a man’s character without cause or justification is out of bounds. Jerry Moran and his staff should know better.”

Referenced quote from Jerry Moran’s campaign to The Hill Blog, “The fact there’s not apparently an ongoing inquiry by Congress, we don’t think that takes away from the manner in which Tiahrt has operated in the Congress for many years.” The senior campaign staff continued, “You will hear more from us on that.”

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Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

 


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