Skip to comments.CHELLIE PINGREE: BUSTED Maine Congresswoman Caught Red-Handed In Act of Pure Hypocrisy
Posted on 09/23/2010 1:35:11 PM PDT by fight_truth_decay
AUGUSTA - Congresswoman Chellie Pingree built her career on her professed mission to keep money out of politics. Today, she has been unmasked as a Washington elitist and an unmitigated hypocrite.
The website Maine.Watchdog.org is reporting today that Chellie Pingree has been traveling on the private jet of hedge fund billionaire Donald Sussman, despite previous denials from Pingree's spokesman. A video taken at the Portland Jetport last week shows Pingree stepping off the lavish plane, reportedly worth $25 million.
In testimony before Congress in 2006, Pingree had this to say about House members flying on private aircraft:
"Most Americans never have and never will fly on a chartered jet, much less a fancy corporate jet complete with wet bar and leather couches. So when members of Congress constantly fly around on corporate jets and pay only the cost of a commercial ticket, it contributes to the corrosive public perception that members of Congress are more like the fat cats of Wall Street than they are like the rest of us."
Sussman's jet is estimated to cost nearly $5,000 an hour to operate. Maine.Watchdog.org is also reporting that flight logs show Pingree may be using the jet to commute between Maine and Washington, DC regularly, and gives plausible evidence that Pingree may be using the plane to travel to campaign fundraisers.
"Chellie Pingree's hypocrisy is simply stunning," said Maine GOP Executive Director Christie-Lee McNally. "She has made herself out to be a champion of the underclass, but now we see she's turned into the same 'Wall Street Fat Cat' she railed against."
Pingree's activity opens up a whole host of ethical and legal questions. House Ethics Rules specifically forbid House members from flying on private aircraft for House or campaign business:
"A flight may not be accepted on the basis of personal friendship when the primary purpose of the trip is either to conduct House business or engage in campaign activity."
Federal Election law would require Pingree to report the trips as in-kind donations from Sussman's company, or reimburse the company for the cost of the trip. Review of Pingree's FEC reports so far show no record of such reporting, or reimbursement for the alleged flights.
"There are so many unanswered questions here," continued McNally. "Chellie Pingree needs to come forward and explain to the people of Maine why it's ok for her to fly around in luxury while her constituents struggle to make ends meet."
An investigation by MaineWatchdog found that Pingree has been traveling on a private plane owned by the corporation of her significant other [? my note: thought she was married], Donald Sussman, Founder and Chairman of Paloma Partners, a billion dollar hedge fund. In January 2006, JP Morgan acquired the backoffice operations platform of Paloma Partners Management Company. Sussman, George Soros, the SEIU, and Hollywood businessman Steve Bing, asmainegoes.com reported formed a 527 group called 'Fund for America' in 2008. Sussman donated $1 million to the fund, which in turn, donated $200,000 of that money to ACORN.
The Bollard's Chris Busby described the financial relationship between Sussman and Pingree in 2008 when primary candidate Ethan Strimling began complaining (2008) that Pingree had raked in nearly $60,000 from people associated with Paloma Partners, a hedge fund headquartered in the Virgin Islands. Further digging by Strimlings campaign has revealed exceeds of $100,000.
Pingrees communications director, Willy Ritch, said he was unaware...We dont know what every donors relationship is with other people"...We dont track that stuff down.
Sussman, was said to have donated most of the money in support of the Dirigo soda tax in Maine.
When AOL reported in late July that Pingrees office was reimbursed for more travel expenses than any other house member in 2009. MaineWatchdog asked if those reimbursements were related to travel on private planes. A Pingree spokesman said: To my knowledge, the Congresswoman does not fly on privately chartered jets.
This investigation produced a video of Representative Pingree and Sussman disembarking at Portland International Jetport after a flight from Bridgeport, Conn., on September 17, 2010.[VIDEO]
Pingree and Sussman landed in Portland at 1:26 p.m., at which point a red carpet was rolled out for them on the non-commercial apron.
A snapshot of the couple driving off says Maine.Watchdog.org confirms that Pingree was on board.
In the aftermath of the Abramoff scandal, Pingree lobbied for a tough ethics-reform law that would have, among other things, completely banned privately funded travel. When a weaker bill was introduced, Pingree called the drafted bill window dressing.
It is not clear whether Pingrees use of Sussmans aircraft was limited to the incident on September 17.
Flight logs of Sussmans plane obtained by MaineWatchdog indicate that Pingree may have used the aircraft on several other occasions.
Pingree has said she favors closing a tax loophole for hedge fund managers that would take billions out of the pockets of people like Sussman. She also favors greater regulation of the industry. According to Mother Jones, Sussman gave $320,000 to Democrats in 2000 in an effort to quash a hedge-fund reform bill before Congress. The legislation subsequently died a quiet death, the magazine reported.....If she was dating Joe Blow from Cumberland who gave 100 bucks, it would be immaterial, said Bailey. Its a little different when the person in question here is responsible for [over $100,000 contributed] to her campaign and has all kinds of interests before Congress. From Chasing Chellie
Then theres her high-profile [ former CEO for Common Cause] work for Common Cause, an organization thats hardly shy about poking its nose in politicians personal business. After eight years in the Maine State Senate (including four as majority leader) and an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate against Susan Collins in 2002, Pingree was hired to lead the nonpartisan national watchdog group, whose central mission is to promote honest, open and accountable government.
Common Cause routinely decries shady aspects of the personal relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists, big donors and cronies gifts, vacation trips, rides on corporate aircraft.."
In 2003, Pingrees hiring to lead Common Cause was criticized because shed raised over $1 million in soft money through national party committees a practice Congress outlawed in late 2002 at the urging of, among others, Common Cause."
There are other similar cases where Pingrees movement parallels that of Sussmans plane. MaineWatchdog compared Pingrees voting record to the movement of Sussmans plane
MaineWatchdog is waiting for Pingrees office to provide receipts for all commercial flights that the Congresswoman booked over the last several months.
Down East Magazine wrote Jan 2009: 2010, Pingree expects to take a break and start a family with husband filmmaker Jason Mann.
I guess that all changed: Dean Scontras, a Republican, true conservative, endorsed and with a recent visit from Rudy Giuliani is now challenging incumbent Rep. Chellie Pingree, D Maine, in the state's First Congressional District.
Will no doubt be HEAVILY featured on CNN.
Must be a file of flight plans for that aircraft somewhere.
what do you expect?
They’re North Eastern liberals.
And try to act surprised when Maine elects all these jerks.
Then it must be SEX...............
Is she married?
There is, but there will be no public record of who was on the aircraft.
Common Cause is non partisan? Since when?
I’m shocked I tell you. Shocked.
A Dem Hypocrite.
According to the Portland Assessors Office, Sussman also owns two parcels of land on Newberry Street. One parcel is an empty lot; the other is a two-story building with opaquely tinted windows.
1981 Sussman married into the notable Tisch family [Loews Corporation], taking as his bride Laurie Tisch. The couple are now divorced with two daughters, Carolyn and Emily Sussman
Sussman also has been a big campaign contributor to Democratic causes. In 2004, he gave a combined $500,000 to America Coming Together and Joint Victory Campaign for their effort to defeat President George W. Bush
S. Donald Sussman, 37-acre estate in backcountry Greenwich was the scene of a tragic murder 12/2009....Sussmans landscaper was found in a home on Sussmans Greenwich Estate having apparently stabbed his daughter to death. Adam Dobrzanski had also attempted to take his own life with a knife, but the police arrived in time to transport him to the hospital. Mrs. Dobrzanski, the wife and Sussmans personal chef, was with the Sussman family in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the time of the tragedy.
Dobrzanski is a native of Poland and had lived in Connecticut for the past three years. Police believe Dobrzanski slit his daughter's throat before attempting to kill himself. Dobrzanski was assisted by a Polish interpreter in court. He was said to have been treated for mental illness, a divorce had been filed by his wife who sought alimony and educational support. Source
It's all in the story..where and when, what votes were scheduled...up in comments. A click away!
This is the women who certainly had time on Monday to bask in the reflected glow of Lady Gaga pushing for DADT repeal; this is the same woman who could not be bothered the summer before last to hold a single town hall meeting concerning the health care bill. Such a hypocrite. And, sadly, right at home in this district.
and a new change for Governor Le Page
Great story on Paul Le Page
http://www.lepage2010.com/2010/07/learn-more-about-paul-view-his-video/ *****VIDEO****** Le Page has an amazing story to tell..left home at 11 as abused,hospitalized..lived on the streets...
Eventually taken in by two local families, LePage graduated from high school and was admitted to Husson College in Bangor after someone intervened to help him take the comprehension exams in French, the language he grew up speaking.
After graduating from Husson in 1972, LePage moved to Canada, married and went to work for Arthurette Lumber. But the couple divorced, LePage said, and he moved back to Maine.
He earned his MBA from the University of Maine and spent several decades working in the pulp and paper industry, in manufacturing and as a turn-around consultant for struggling companies.
In 1996, he was hired as general manager of the famous Maine-based discount chain Mardens and placed in charge of sales and the companys expansion efforts. In the years since, Mardens has grown from six stores to 15.
September, LePage was leading his nearest rival, Democrat Libby Mitchell, by 14 points
As a popular Mayor, Watervilles tax rates have dropped by 13 percent, the citys rainy day fund has grown from $1 million to $10 million and one of the major credit agencies has boosted the citys rating two levels. (Empire Falls was filmed in Waterville one of the last films directed by Paul Newman)..near Belgrade lakes region and a now beautiful area especially for an old mill town.
Told he didnt have a chance for governor now September, LePage was leading his nearest rival, Democrat Libby Mitchell, by 14 points. He brings both sides together and that takes a special talent in politics.
Help Maine is support of the candidates, we give to the candidates in other states. Then we can overcome the ones you are reading about—Dean Scontras in the Pingree race.
Scontras is a true Reagan conservative, Le Page is business based conservative proven by his history.. backed by the Tea Party and won the election spending only $160,000. From the streets at 11 to Le Page’s story isn’t over yet!
Real investigative journalism..
After term limits ended her state Senate career at eight years, Pingree lost a 2002 U.S. Senate bid to unseat Collins and was appointed president of Common Cause.
At 55, Pingree is a divorced mother of three adult children, has one grandchild and another on the way — courtesy of her eldest daughter, Hannah Pingree, who is currently speaker of the Maine House and nearing the end of her fourth and final term.
I thought the press piece or she was misleading (it was a question put to her) when she said she would be settling down with her husband mentioned above, but that was 2009 because of term limits..but that all changed as we can see..she’s got money (billions) around her now and contacts on the Left like you couldn’t believe. Thanks to Sussman?
So Maine's cup is 1/2 full not 1/2 empty.
Pingree's present totals by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that 85 percent of her contributions of more than $200 have come from away. The largest percentage originated from the New York metropolitan area. [where she was just flown again by private jet--the NYC theatrical people, 'perhaps' Joy Behar was there??-perhaps not as Behar said on the View that Snowe was a senator from VT, so intelligence lacks ]. It was a Palin bast fest at the time.
Challenger Scontras is 74 percent of such contributions coming from Maine, which is to be expected for a challenger without wide name recognition outside the state.
There was some attempt by one opinionater to compare Pingree to Palin, but only as Maine and Alaska have pine trees, snow and ice. It was a stretch ;)
No, but the flight plan, and records of her whereabouts will coincide enough to put it all together sufficiently.
Check local Maine Forum “As Maine Goes” for some local insight:
Prepare to be pleasantly surprised!
Local Maine News Channel 13 WGME gave what I thought was a very thorough and fair report on the 6:00 News tonight:
"no taxpayer money was used"..
FOX local would run it..good!
It's only unethical if you use taxpayer money?
March 15, 2005..House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, on Tuesday categorically denied allegations that two of his overseas trips were paid for by special interest groups
JIM LEHRER: Gwen Ifill takes it from there.
GWEN IFILL: All eyes on Tom Delay.
Joining us to talk about the ethics questions swirling around the House Majority Leader are Chellie Pingree of Common Cause, a 'bipartisan public watchdog group'; and Stephen Moore, president of the Free Enterprise Fund, a Republican lobbying firm. Chellie Pingree, with all these mounting questions rising that are swirling around about Tom Delay, what bothers you most?
CHELLIE PINGREE: Well, I think it's the whole picture that we are looking at here. You have a member of Congress in a position of leadership who clearly has been pushing a lot of ethics questions right to the edge. He was admonished, as you saw, by the committee itself.
And then it looked like Republican leadership decided things had gotten a little bit out of control. They removed Congressman Hefley as the chair of the committee; they also took out two other Republican members and got rid of two senior staffers who had been there for a very long time and at the same time they propose the changes to the rules so the Ethics Committee would have less teeth than before.
Now you have coming to light a variety of new accusations about ethics violations, yet there is no committee to enforce them. I think the questions that it raises is do we have here a fox guarding the hen house in the sense where a very powerful member of leadership can actually dismantle the committee, take away the rules.
And in a kind of ironic way, today he is now saying "Well, I wouldn't mind discussing these trips that I've taken in front of the Ethics Committee. They can feel free to look into them." But we don't have an Ethics Committee. It refused to constitute itself. The process is basically broken, gone. And the irony is where does he even go if he wants to get some discussion of what is going on?
GWEN IFILL: Let's go over some of the questions which have been raised. Does it not bother you at all about who paid for the trips to Britain, who paid for the trips to South Korea, whether a foreign government underwrote them?
CHELLIE PINGREE: One of the challenges, is now whether you say, "the Democrats do it, why worry about it," is that that's the point of having an ethics process. The reason we need a very strong Ethics Committee with teeth who's willing to take on these very difficult challenges is so that we can always make sure that the public has confidence in the body and that the members of Congress don't do anything that would shame or embarrass the body.
That's the whole point here. Now the fact is, the original admonishments to Tom Delay came from a bipartisan vote of a bipartisan Ethics Committee. It was a very unusual move from a committee that had a seven-year truce. Nothing was going to happen.
They finally came out and they said something about its original violations. So you have to look at this as someone who has already come under question and the truth is on these particular trips or these questions, there is now no functioning body with anyone able to decide. ..This is, you know, the most important decision-making body in our country deciding not to police itself. And that is very serious.
I actually think that increasingly you are starting to feel that this is getting closer to the tipping point, that the Republicans are starting to feel the heat, that this is making their party look bad and not having a strong ethics process, making it even worse.
"there is now no functioning body with anyone able to decide"
Did Clinton stump for Pingree in Maine yet? I know Rudy was up for Scontras..Clinton's popularity is like a washed up recording artist bringing back his Greatest Hits, 6 more times!!
In DC, When does it ever make a difference?................
This was her daughter and not Chellie.