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January 10, 2004

LATEST DEAN ATTACK DEAD ON

... Arrival.

When I read the first paragraph of the story, I thought one thing:
WASHINGTON (AP) - While governor of Vermont, Howard Dean accepted personal pay from special interests at least five times for speeches and also received more than $60,000 in checks and pledges for his charity fund from insurers who benefited from a state tax break, according to documents and interviews.


But by the time I got to the first phrase in paragraph two I was already shaking my head in disgust.
Dean's fees and charitable donations were legal and did not have to be disclosed under Vermont law but were detailed in correspondence and tax records reviewed by The Associated Press.


So, now it's a story about nothing. Fuck. But hang on. Paragraph three makes me think there's something to it after all.
The lion's share of Dean's $13,633 in personal speaking fees as governor came from a drug company that was embroiled in one of the nation's most high-profile sexual harassment cases, which ultimately ended with a nearly $10 million federal penalty.
That approaches newsworthiness. Goes to judgement of Dean.

Ah, but then there's paragraph four, which brings the whole thing crashing down. Turns out most of the money was actually going straight to children's classrooms.
The checks and pledges totaling at least $62,500 to Dean's Vermont Computer Project, an initiative the governor created to donate equipment to Vermont schools, came from captive insurance and reinsurance companies, nontraditional insurers which provide health care coverage to companies in tax-friendly ways.
The rest of the roller coaster ride,
here. The whole piece ends with the word "lobbyist" just so that's the word left ringing in your ears.

To summarize. Seemed like a meaty story. Turns out - full of maggots. See the effect of such headlines here.