Oh my? This week, we had two incidents that should be filed under “Brown M&Ms alert.” By brown M&Ms, I’m referring to how the band Van Halen used to include in their contracts a clause requiring a bowl of M&Ms with all of the brown M&Ms removed. They didn’t actually want the brown M&Ms removed, they wanted to ensure that their contract was read, since part of their band’s show involved pyrotechnics, and they didn’t want themselves or anyone else getting hurt because the venue wasn’t prepared for this. So if they either asked about the M&Ms (or provided a bowl without the brown ones), then they knew the contract had been read. In other words, this was a check on the venue’s basic competency.
With that as prelude, we first visit the Buttigieg campaign where one of his chief fundraisers–not the wine cave guy!–did a boo-boo (boldface mine):
In a recent email exchange with a wealthy prospective donor, a top fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made an offer that was unusually blunt — even by modern pay-to-play standards…
“If you want to get on the campaign’s radar now before he is flooded with donations after winning Iowa and New Hampshire, you can use the link below for donations,” the fundraiser, H.K. Park, wrote in an email to the donor, which was reviewed by Axios….
Brendan Fischer at the campaign finance watchdog the Campaign Legal Center said the Buttigieg fundraiser’s pitch “is an example of a campaign offering potential donors an opportunity to buy influence.”
“It’s rare that the public has an opportunity to see it in writing,” Fischer added, “but this is not the only campaign that’s offering big donors the opportunity to get on the radar of the candidate in exchange for large contributions.”
The revelation comes days after Democratic presidential rival Elizabeth Warren went after Buttigieg for raising money from billionaires in a “wine cave.”
The prospective donor was also disturbed by the solicitation. “It’s very telling and concerning that one of the campaign’s major bundlers would talk like that,” said the donor, who asked not to be named.
“What would this suggest about the way he’s going to interact with Silicon Valley if the implication is pay-for-play?“
“If that’s the way he’s operating,” the donor added, “it’s in the public interest for people to know what’s being said.”
For extra bonus incompetency, Park works for the Cohen group, a business consultancy headed by former defense Secretary William Cohen, and who has as a senior counsellor, Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis. Power to the people!
Moving on, we watch the Bloomberg campaign do something even worse (boldface mine):
Former New York City mayor and multibillionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg used prison labor to make campaign calls. Through a third-party vendor, the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign contracted New Jersey-based call center company ProCom, which runs calls centers in New Jersey and Oklahoma. Two of the call centers in Oklahoma are operated out of state prisons. In at least one of the two prisons, incarcerated people were contracted to make calls on behalf of the Bloomberg campaign.
According to a source, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, people incarcerated at the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security women’s prison with a capacity of more than 900, were making calls to California on behalf of Bloomberg. The people were required to end their calls by disclosing that the calls were paid for by the Bloomberg campaign. They did not disclose, however, that they were calling from behind bars….
The campaign said it did not know about the arrangement between ProCom and an undisclosed campaign vendor until The Intercept made its inquiry. The campaign then ended the relationship on Monday and said it has asked vendors to do a better job of vetting subcontractors in the future…
Friedmann said that whether or not the Bloomberg campaign knew about the arrangement with ProCom, it was responsible. “It’s entirely possible they didn’t know,” Friedmann told me, “but that’s like saying department stores making clothes in southeast Asia don’t know that 5-year-olds are stitching together their soccer balls. Well, shouldn’t you know? Shouldn’t you have some idea of your supply stream, or what your downside supply stream is doing?”
If Warren or Sanders did something like this…
Now I’m hungry. I think I’ll have some brown M&Ms!