Five weeks before Jeff Merkley spoke of the Obama spirit of reconciliation during the Senate Democratic caucus meeting that eventually voted 42-13 to allow Joe Lieberman to keep his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee gavel, Lieberman donated $5,000 to incumbent Oregon GOP Senator Gordon Smith’s reelection
Lieberman’s support of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the presidency was well known, punctuated by his nationally televised speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul criticizing Obama as not prepared to be president. His endorsement of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has served as the top Republican beside him at the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also was well known in Democratic circles.
But not even Merkley knew of Lieberman’s backing of Smith in their critical Senate race, until Capitol Briefing alerted his staff today.
"We were surprised to hear this news, but it’s time to put the election behind us. Jeff Merkley is looking forward to working with all his new colleagues on an agenda that will put our nation back on track," said Julie Edwards, spokeswoman for Merkley.
Lieberman didn’t only reach across the aisle: when it came to protecting his Homeland Security cronies, he went to the other side of Capitol Hill, too.
Lieberman’s support of Smith came the same weekend he wrote an op-ed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press defending Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) for his work as chairman of an investigative subcommittee on Lieberman’s homeland security committee. The same day he wrote a check to Smith, Lieberman’s ROC PAC gave $5,000 to Rep. Peter King, the Long Island Republican.
Of course, Lieberman also railed against the achievement of a 60-seat majority that the caucus’ kumbaya moment is supposed to achieve, given good fortune in Minnesota and Georgia:
In radio and TV appearances the final days of the campaign, Lieberman also frequently said that a Democratic majority of 60 votes, a filibuster-proof level, would be a bad thing.
Proving that it’s really all about the Benjamins, Lieberman’s Senate staff defended his donations and noted that they were vastly outweighed by the Senator’s donations to Democrats:
Lieberman’s office acknowledged his donation to Smith, but noted that he worked hard for other Democrats as well. "While the Senator’s political action committee donated to a very few Republicans, the Senator’s pacs donated and raised over a half million dollars for wide range of Democratic candidates and organizations in this past election cycle," Marshall Wittmann, his spokesman, said.
So would incoming DSCC leader Menendez and outgoing chair Schumer care to clarify? Exactly what level of support is required to offset actual monetary contributions to GOPs? How much does a sitting Senator need to donate to the incumbency protection racket in order to go rogue for special favorites on the other side of the aisle?
What’s an op-ed for Norm Coleman cost?
How much does the DSCC get when Lieberman hosts a fundraiser for Susan Collins?
What’s the DSCC offset for five grand to Gordon Smith?
Which Democratic House members benefitted from the five grand Joe gave Peter King?
Show your work, please, gentlemen — grassroots Democrats require some transparency on this.