The first analysis I’ve seen of the Linda McMahon campaign’s amended and more detailed filing with the Federal Election Commission was at The Day of New London, Connecticut. See “McMahon boosts Senate race spending,” http://www.theday.com/article/20100129/NWS12/301299895/1019&town=.
The most controversial information about McMahon’s vendors is outside my scope. I think we all realize that Linda has the best consultants money can buy. They include the Las Vegas damage-control maestro, Mike Slanker, straight from helping manage the scandal of Nevada Senator Mike Ensign’s affair with a campaign staffer; and the Bryan Cave law firm, whose revolving-door partners include Michael Toner, former chairman of the FEC.
We also can expect people to try to make some hay out of the fact that at the beginning of the campaign, McMahon operated it right out of World Wrestling Entertainment office space in Stamford before locating campaign headquarters in West Hartford. (The filing shows reimbursements to WWE for rent.) But don’t expect these efforts to go too far. They’re like claiming that the recent shift of WWE television programming to PG was not a routine demographic adjustment, but rather a fix to boost Linda. How do you begin proving in-kind corporate contributions in these cases, even if that’s de facto what they are?
As I’ve opined, President Obama got taken for a ride when he taped a greeting to the troops for WWE’s NBC holiday special from Afghanistan. The company followed with a press release patting itself on the back for support of literacy programs. This was a sotto voce pitch for Linda – who, as we all know, was set to become a French teacher before her dream in life got diverted to wanting to be on the receiving end of a tombstone piledriver by Kane.
But seriously, folks ... What I most want to know is why Jerry McDevitt of K&L Gates, WWE’s ubiquitous and happy-go-lucky lawyer, isn’t disclosed to the FEC as a McMahon campaign vendor. McDevitt must have billed somebody for the time spent attacking the credibility of ex-wrestlers who spoke negatively about Linda to the Connecticut and national political media.
Maybe I’ll drop Michael Toner a note and ask him what federal election law has to say about that.
With a cc to the general manager of the SmackDown brand.