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Hoffman hit by Trib

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* This is probably no big deal, but it’s what always results when a reformer tries to place himself above the fray and above reproach…

A former federal prosecutor running for U.S. Senate is holding a fundraiser next week where he’s asking current prosecutors for a “suggested minimum” political donation of $150.

The fundraiser for Democrat David Hoffman is scheduled for Nov. 3 at The Berghoff, the traditional spot of going-away parties for prosecutors that’s around the corner from their Dearborn Street offices.

Campaign spokesman Thom Karmik said Hoffman was reaching out to as many people as possible for support. He said the mailing was not sent to current assistant U.S. attorneys, but the campaign expects that former prosecutors and others will make them aware of the event.

The Hoffman campaign is seeking contributions of $250 from “friends” and up to $2,400 from “sponsors”—the maximum amount an individual can give a candidate in a federal primary, according to campaign literature for the event. You can read the invitation by clicking here: Download Hoffmanfundraiser

Assistant U.S. attorneys are allowed to make political contributions, so there’s nothing inherently wrong here.

And, frankly, when you run for office you ask the people you know for contributions. That’s the way it works. Hoffman knows those people at the US Attorney’s office. Why wouldn’t he ask them for money?

Still, when all money is deemed dirty, we get non-stories like this.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments
  1. - shore - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 1:55 pm:

    The democrats haven’t earned the benefit of the doubt. There are very strict Hatch Act laws against national security personnell getting involved with politics, there’s absolutely no good reason that prosecutors in chicago of all places should be getting involved with this stuff. There are more than a few ongoing cases and it’s a black mark on Hoffman that he would try to make himself the exception to the rules.

    Obama promised to end the policitization of government agencies, something about no more monica goodlings. Looks like that was a joke.


  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 1:56 pm:

    ===he would try to make himself the exception to the rules. ===

    Baloney.

    The rules specifically allow the contributions.


  3. - shore - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:01 pm:

    In the bush administration we were read the riot act about 400,000 times about how national security personnel were absolutely forbidden from any kind of political involvement. Civillian employees were allowed to put kerry and obama screensavers on their desktops and do all sorts of stuff but there were harsh penalties in place for us.

    This administration promised to be different, this candidate is promising to be different, and then he pulls stuff like this. I am sure Mark will keep this on file and if Hoffman manages to survive a primary, will bury him with it.


  4. - Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    “when all money is deemed dirty”

    That’s the problem. Money, when used correctly is clean and moral. It is simply the means of trading one thing of value for another thing of equal value. In the current climate all money is deemed to be dirty, even when it’s not.

    If it’s legal, Hoffman has every right to receive appropriate donations from those who are legally able to give them.


  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    shore, read the freaking story…

    Randall Samborn, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, said the office would have “no public comment” about Hoffman’s fundraiser.

    Samborn, however, noted that assistant U.S. attorneys are allowed to make political donations, attend fundraisers and political rallies, and campaign for and against candidates. But he said some political activities are prohibited. For example, prosecutors are not allowed to participate in politics on government time or solicit and raise campaign money, Samborn said.


  6. - shore - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:11 pm:

    I read the story. If this was a state with a golden reputation where the 2 most recent governors hadn’t gone to jail and the candidate had 20 years of work in elected office with no blemishes that would be one thing. Instead we’ve got a neophyte candidate, 2/3 governors in jail or awaiting trial, a democrat party in chicago that rivals any government in the country for allegations and convictions of corruption and you have a scene that doesn’t look too great. Kirk was hit for tweeting on pentagon time, that seems a far less worse transgression than organizing political fundraisers with justice department officials at a moment where Illinois has the sort of corruption issues it is facing.


  7. - ToddAF - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:13 pm:

    “when all money is deemed dirty”

    Rich, I don’t see any indication, implication or even suggestion in the story that dirty money is involved here. It’s certainly not a front page, Pulitzer worthy story, but I think anytime any candidate runs for office — especially if he or she touts himself or herself as a reformer — the press has a duty to report how the candidate is raising money.

    Everything sounds on the up and up here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth reporting. After all, it may be cliche, but sunshine is the best disinfectant when it comes to funding campaigns. The more we know about where a candidate gets his or her money, how much donors are giving and any apparent quid pro quo is a vital part of our democracy.

    Frankly, I think this is just the type of story that blogs and news websites in general should post. Not something you need to put in the paper when print space is at a premium, but still newsworthy.


  8. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:16 pm:

    ===organizing political fundraisers with justice department officials at a moment where Illinois has the sort of corruption issues it is facing. ===

    They are free citizens. And if current assistant US Attys think he’s solid, then what’s the problem?


  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    Also, are you implying that the assistant USA’s are doing something wrong here by contributing? Or that sending funder invites to their homes is tainted?

    Explain, please, without the hystrionics.


  10. - Abe Froman - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:23 pm:

    Rich you are absolutely correct. There is nothing wrong with this event. Prosecutors are allowed to give money. The Hatch Act covers a range of prohibited political activities for a wide range of federal employees, but not donations by AUSA’s.

    And a $250 check isn’t going to “buy” anything from anyone. The vast majority of checks to candidates are from friends and like-minded people who support a political philosophy or an individual person. The few outrageous and blatantly criminal acts we see all too often in Illinois are still only a small fraction of the total donations.

    The Trib is overreacting.


  11. - Obamarama - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:27 pm:

    ===the assistant USA’s===

    I thought it was just former prosecutors that got solicitations sent to their homes and not current AUSA’s? The Trib’s high-horse rants are starting to get old.


  12. - shore - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:28 pm:

    I don’t do hystorionics. I very much wanted to be involved with Bush Cheney 2004 and mccain palin 2008 but was strictly prohibited by Hatch Act regulations from doing so for national security personnel. We had briefings starting at least a year in advance both times from our white house liasions-what are in effect political minders to tell us our jobs and careers were gone if we got involved in politics in any way.

    The problem is that this looks like more business as usual for a candidate promising to be different from the pack and past. These are career officials working in an office with a lot of cases in front of it on democrat officials and given the recent broken promises on anti-corruption efforts from politicians in Illinois, it doesn’t smell right.

    Either you campaign as Mr.clean and you eat it by not doing things like this that raise questions or you open yourself up to charges like this and whatever damage it does to your reputation. The guy just dropped his campaign some serious coin and his family has been in the elite of chicago for several decades, it’s not like he doesn’t have better cleaner sources of campaign money.


  13. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:33 pm:

    Shore, take a breath man. We get it, you were a national security officer subject to Hatch. These are ASAs working within the Hatch Act guidelines.

    Cleaner sources of money? Seriously? It doesn’t get much cleaner than ASAs, underpaid as they are, voluntarily writing checks for a candidate they think will help them clean up Illinois.


  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:35 pm:

    ===it’s not like he doesn’t have better cleaner sources of campaign money. ===

    I would submit that assistant USAs represent a pretty darned “clean source of campaign money.”


  15. - downstate hick - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:48 pm:

    Rich,
    I agree with your sentiments on this. A non story. mr. Hoffman can certainly ask his friends for donations. However I am afraid he is too little too late for any body trying to complete with organized labor or the entrenched democrat infastructure.


  16. - The Doc - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:48 pm:

    Shore, I’m struggling to understand how this is “business as usual”. He’s soliciting contributions from individuals. There’s no quid pro quo. Are you willing to compare and contrast the donor list for your candidate with that of Hoffman? If not, please move along.

    Your attempted hit jobs on behalf of Kirk have grown stale and petulant.


  17. - Richard Saunders - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 2:55 pm:

    The Tribune dilutes its credibility in calling for campaign finance reform when it publishes a story like this. The obvious inference is that Hoffman is doing something wrong. But what evil is the paper exposing? — there must be some, or the story has no merit. When are we to trust a report of real malfeasance, when the editors can’t distinguish between legitimate, innocuous fund-raising and unethical practices?


  18. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    Unless I’ve missed something or there’s “more out there”, I’m somewhere between “non-story” and what ToddAF said–leaning a bit more toward the latter. I guess I have a tendency to hope that stories like these will not only help “educate” voters overall, but show that someone is watching, thereby perhaps helping to restore some confidence in government.


  19. - OdysseusVL - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 3:14 pm:

    Shore, it is known as the “Democratic” Party, and not the “democrat” party. It is sort of hard to take you seriously when you don’t know the name of that party.


  20. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 3:18 pm:

    –I don’t do hystorionics.–

    Hystorionics? Is that the L. Ron Hubbard thing?

    Shore, was your oft-mentioned “national security” post encryption?


  21. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 3:36 pm:

    -I very much wanted to be involved with Bush Cheney 2004 and mccain palin 2008 but was strictly prohibited by Hatch Act regulations from doing so for national security personnel.-

    Get a different job then.


  22. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 3:43 pm:

    word, lol.

    I had surmised the billet was not intelligence, but hadn’t thought of your theory.


  23. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 3:54 pm:

    ======
    The obvious inference is that Hoffman is doing something wrong. But what evil is the paper exposing? — there must be some, or the story has no merit.
    ======

    Putting campaigning to rest for a minute (because I understand and appreciate the risk behind a story like this), from a media perspective perhaps it’s not all bad.

    Why should the public rely solely on the media to explicitly tell them what’s right, wrong, good, bad, etc.–sometimes even without providing the facts to back up their position or opinion?

    This story seemed to present a general “potential” (emphasis added) issue, stated why there COULD be an issue (again, in general), and then provided opinions–within the context of what Hoffman was specifically doing–from those in a position to provide same.

    Therefore, the conclusion should be: Yeah, this is something that COULD be bad, but in this case, it’s not based on what’s been presented.

    Doesn’t seem to be all that bad.


  24. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 3:54 pm:

    The story is a whole lot of nothing. We all know Hoffman is a lawyer. We all know the US Senate is full of lawyers. We all know that a very high percentage of all our elected officials are lawyers. If you are not happy with our government - HEY!

    But, whatever…


  25. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 4:08 pm:

    What a joke. What people don’t recognize is that when a media organization writes about it in this way, it clearly is implying that something could be wrong. Here, NOTHING is remotely wrong with asking former colleagues who have nothing to gain but cleaner government for contributions. No there there.


  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 4:18 pm:

    Cynic,

    If the reporter had left out, say the 7th and subsequent paragraphs, I could see the concern. However, he or she didn’t–and the remaining paragraphs made the same point you made in your third.


  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 4:19 pm:

    Sorry. “…same point you made in your third sentence.”


  28. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 4:19 pm:

    Because we all know people read the whole story.

    This looks like a feed-job. Happens all the time, no big deal, but a little more context would’ve been nice.


  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 4:30 pm:

    It’s unfortunate for me then, I guess, (as a known Kirk supporter) that this article and the related discussion are grounded in the Senate race, based on the point that I’m trying to make.

    Again, I believe that if we had more articles such as these (v. for example, those where the reporter clearly states a “wrong” when there is none without even providing the facts or opinions to help the reader determine same), everyone might be better off.


  30. - Amalia - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 4:45 pm:

    the Tribune is just wrong on this one. I’m sure they are in a state because Hoffman is taking on Obama buddy Alexi.


  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 4:46 pm:

    ===I’m sure they are in a state because Hoffman is taking on Obama buddy Alexi. ===

    Don’t be daft.


  32. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 5:30 pm:

    Reminds me how the Trib knocked Poshard around everytime they thought they could claim he was violating his own fundraising rules….meanwhile George was selling the office furniture…..now CommandoKirk can do no wrong


  33. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 09 @ 6:11 pm:

    And, right you ARE, CFS! lol


  34. - jaded voter - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 2:08 am:

    Rich Miller you are correct, this is a non-story. Until we have publically funded elections people running for office need to raise money. He’s running for office so he’s trying to raise money. Seems pretty straightforward and above board.

    But…. he is a newcomer so the media always feel the need to bang them around, you know, in the interest of fairness or objectivity. And of course kidd gloves for the big, establishment, insider guys, at least until it’s for certain they are going down and it is safe to kick them.
    [eg. Kicking Todd Stroger=safe, kicking Daley=not safe. Guess who gets a kickin’.]


  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 7:36 am:

    lol How could I have possibly missed word’s and AA’s earlier comments re: shore?

    Hmmm.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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