Mitt Flips on Ethics, Flops on the Campaign Trail

Sep 21, 2007, 01:00 ET from Democratic National Committee

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Smooth talking Mitt
 Romney's hypocrisy and shameless flip-flopping on ethics reform and
 campaign finance laws are on full display this week. On the same day he
 released a new television ad highlighting the need to end the Republican
 culture of corruption, Romney outlined his vision for reforming campaign
 finance laws in an interview with Roll Call. While Romney claims in his TV
 ad that "We can't have ethical standards that are a punchline for Jay
 Leno," he fails to mention that his own campaign is headed by a
 scandal-plagued campaign team. Among the top figures in Romney's own
 campaign of corruption is Illinois' own Bob Kjellander, a leading Romney
 media stand-in who was the subject of a federal corruption investigation
 related to a kickback scheme at the state-run teacher's pension fund.
 [Associated Press, 8/10/05; Daily Herald (Illinois), 6/17/07]
     Romney also advocated repealing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance
 reform laws in favor of a system "that allows individuals to contribute
 whatever amount they want to political candidates and parties, but that
 requires full disclosure of such donations." [Roll Call, 9/19/07] But
 Romney's rhetoric on full disclosure stands in stark contrast with his
 refusal to reveal the identity of his bundlers -- the donors who have
 "bundled" campaign contributions from other donors. [Washington Post,
 editorial, 7/11/07] Meanwhile, his new rhetoric on lifting spending limits
 conflicts with his previous support for far more stringent limits,
 including "taxing political contributions to finance publicly funded
 campaigns" and "placing spending limits on congressional campaigns and
 abolishing political action committees." [The Hill, 2/8/07]
     No wonder the latest Gallup poll shows Romney fading, with his support
 among Republican voters falling to 7 percent -- the lowest level since
 April. [Gallup News Service, 9/18/07]
     "Mitt Romney may think he can smooth talk voters into thinking he'd end
 the Republican culture of corruption, but the voters already know that he's
 just another Bush Republican offering more of the same failed leadership,"
 said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "No matter how
 hard he tries, all of Mitt's flips are a big flop on the campaign trail."
     Mitt Romney Flip-Flops on Campaign Finance...
     Old Mitt: Supported Campaign Finance Reform. During his 2002
 gubernatorial campaign, Romney "proposed taxing political contributions to
 finance publicly funded campaigns," while during his 1994 Senate campaign
 Romney "publicly advocated placing spending limits on congressional
 campaigns and abolishing political action committees (PACs)." [The Hill,
     New Mitt: Opposes Campaign Finance Reform, Calls It "One Of The Worst
 Things In My Lifetime." Referring to the McCain-Feingold law on campaign
 finance reform, Romney called it "one of the worst things in my lifetime."
 [The Hill, 2/8/07] Romney pledge to "fight to repeal McCain-Feingold."
 [Remarks to Conservative Political Action Conference, 3/2/07]
     ...And His New Ethical Standards
     Romney Backer Bob Kjellander Subpoenaed in Corruption Investigation.
 Robert Kjellander was named RNC treasurer in early August of 2005, soon
 after it was reported that a federal prosecutor was investigating
 corruption at the Illinois Teacher's Retirement Systems, a state run
 teacher's pension fund. The subpoena specifically sought records relating
 to Kjellander's receipt of $4.5 million in fees from the Carlyle group, for
 helping to land the business with the pension fund. [Associated Press,
     -- Kjellander Named in Kickback Plea. "Kjellander's name surfaced last
 fall in the federal guilty plea of Stuart Levine, a North Shore businessman
 who used his position on a state teacher pension investment board to get
 kickbacks. Levine admitted to helping Kjellander, referred to by
 prosecutors as 'Individual K,' collect a finder's fee for securing a $150
 million pension investment deal for his client in return for Kjellander not
 billing Levine for lobbying work." [Daily Herald (Illinois), 6/17/07]
     -- Kjellander Served as Romney "Stand-In," Spoke to Press at Illinois
 GOP Straw Poll. Though lacking an official title with Romney's campaign,
 Republican National Committee Treasurer Bob Kjellander - along with
 Romney's IL campaign chair Dan Rutherford - served as Romney's stand-in at
 the August 2007 Illinois GOP straw poll. [Chicago Sun Times, 8/17/07]
 Following the August 2007 Illinois straw poll, Bob Kjellander - identified
 by Springfield's State Journal-Register as "a Republican National
 Committeeman from Illinois and a Romney supporter" -- spoke to the press
 about Romney's victory in the Illinois event. Kjellander said that Romney's
 straw poll performance represented "a significant victory for Romney," as
 "he was not expected to win here." [The State Journal-Register (Illinois),
     -- Romney: "I Appreciate and Value" Kjellander's Support. Asked about
 his association with Kjellander, Romney responded, "Um, he is one of my
 supporters and I appreciate and value his support." Romney refused to
 address if he was worried that Kjellander's might surface in another
 federal indictment, saying only, "I have a lot of great supporters and I
 welcome their support and wish them the very best." According to FEC Data,
 both Kjellander and his wife contributed $2100 each to Romney's
 presidential campaign. [Daily Herald (Illinois), 6/17/07; Mitt Romney for
 President Campaign Finance Records, First Quarter, accessed 6/13/07]
     National Finance Co-Chair Alan Fabian Indicted on Massive Fraud and
 Money Laundering Charges. On August 9th, Alan B. Fabian of Cockeysville,
 Maryland was indicted on 23 counts of mail fraud, money laundering,
 bankruptcy fraud, perjury, and obstruction of justice. Fabian allegedly
 "ran a scheme to make $32 million in false purchases of computer equipment,
 spending the money instead on beach real estate and private jet travel."
 The case ranks as "one of the largest monetary theft cases ever prosecuted
 in Maryland." Fabian had been Romney's national finance committee co-chair
 since January 2007, and had contributed the maximum $2300 to the campaign.
 [Associated Press, 8/9/07; Baltimore Business Journal, 8/9/07; Boston
 Globe, 8/12/07]
     Deputy Campaign Manager Tied to Abramoff Scandal, Paid Over $10,000
 AFTER He Resigned. Romney's deputy campaign manager and former chief of
 staff to Tom Feeney, daily operating officer Jason Roe resigned abruptly on
 April 24.... Roe's resignation came only days after the FBI questioned
 Feeney about a 2003 golfing trip he took that was paid for by convicted
 ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The FBI also requested correspondence Roe sent
 to the St. Petersburg Times regarding Feeney's Scotland trip. According to
 the Times, Roe's email asserted, "Any assertion that this office knew
 Abramoff paid for the Scotland trip is a g--d----- lie." [Hotline, 4/24/07]
 In May 2007, the Romney campaign paid Jason Roe $10,590, though his regular
 pay was just under $4,000 per pay period. However, the $10,000 payment to
 Roe came nearly a month -- a full pay period -- after he had resigned from
 Romney's campaign, purportedly due to an FBI probe into his former boss's
 Jack Abramoff connections. [Hotline, 4/24/07; Romney for President Second
 Quarter Report, July 2007, Federal Elections Commission, accessed 7/17/07]
     Director of Operations Investigated for Impersonating a Police Officer
 in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. "The New Hampshire Attorney General
 launched a probe in allegations that Jay Garrity, Romney's director of
 operations, illegally pulled over New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich,
 claiming he had run the journalist's license plate. Leibovich said Garrity
 directed him off the road, told him he ran his plate and that he was not
 allowed to follow Romney's caravan. Jane Young, chief of the AG's criminal
 bureau, said, 'The AG was contacted about the alleged incident and we are
 presently conducting an investigation into the allegations'" [Boston
 Herald, 6/22/07] "Jay Garrity, director of operations for Mitt Romney, is
 under investigation by the Suffolk District Attorney's Office for allegedly
 impersonating a police officer. During a May 13 phone call, Garrity
 complained about the erratic driving of an operator for a Wilmington
 plumbing company. He referred to himself as 'Trooper Garrity.' Spokesman
 for the Suffolk District Attorney's Office Daniel Conley said the
 investigation remains 'open and active.'" [Boston Herald, 7/20/07]
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 candidate's committee.

SOURCE Democratic National Committee