AIPAC: Another story that won’t die

Turns out Bill Yarmuth has changed his mind and won’t be hosting an AIPAC fundraiser at his home. Hebert has some details.

Rep. John Yarmuth’s office said the event has not been moved to his brother Bill’s home. News to us, since Jewish Hospital’s spokeswoman told Stephen George that’s where it would take place. And people close to Yarmuth confirmed the details with Page One. Guess the ramifications of hosting an event with controversial Dan Senor knocked some sense into someone?

For future reference: if you’re a staffer for a member of the United States Congress you can e-mail us if details change, if you have something to dispute or need to disseminate information. We know you read us.

Media catches up to McConnell… three days late

Louisville media finally caught up to Mitch McConnell and his buddies at Insight Communications. Three days late, both WLKY and WHAS11 aired coverage of the controversy. Please see previous posts if you’re not sure what we’re talking about.

As noted earlier, Insight caved to scrutiny and decided to air the ad critical of Big Money McConnell.

While it’s great two television stations are catching up to the news, it’s a bit troubling when they (WHAS11) incorrectly report the facts. The station referred to Public Campaign Action Fund as a “liberal group” when they’re definitely not. Visit their website to learn that they’re a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to improve campaign finance law. WHAS11 also reported McConnell had received $14,000 in campaign contributions from Insight. The truth is he’s received more than $17,000 in direct contributions from Insight’s executives. Puzzling that they could get two easily verifiable bits of information so far off the mark of accuracy. Especially when we know they read Page One and other sites which detailed the story as it unfolded.

View the coverage here:

WLKY:




WHAS11:


Are YOU the person who can help us?

Page One is looking for answers to a few questions. It’s imperative that we get to the bottom of something. We need your help and we’ll be hammering this matter for weeks to come.

We’re trying to locate a male, possibly now in his 40s, who resides in Louisville or the greater Louisville metro area. He’s from the Oldham/Henry/Trimble County area and his family owned Earl Floyd Ford in Bedford in the 1970s. This gentleman was in his twenties in the 1980s and worked in a downtown Louisville parking garage.

Can anyone help us? If you can, please shoot us an e-mail. Confidentiality is a must and we absolutely don’t want a discussion about the specifics in the comments.

If you’re a blogger: please consider posting a link to our plea. It could possibly lead to the Kentucky story of the decade.

101 Ways to Read the News

Fletcher switching gears? Ronnie Ellis suggests Ernest Lee could be moving on to social issues like Jesus, abortion, guns and THE GAYS. OMG!!11! The gays are coming! The gubnuh will save us! [Richmond Register]

Performance and transparency are a bitch. Kentucky Auditor Crit Luallen released a– get this– an audit (of all things) of the High-Tech Construction Pool and High-Tech Investment Pool. While the groups are allegedly funding quality projects? A commission established to monitor the effectiveness of new economic programs has not met since 2003. [Auditor]

Not surprising. The C-J reports home foreclosures in Kentucky will hit record highs. Jefferson County is projected to have 3,125 foreclosure auctions ordered by judges this year, up from last year’s record of 2,710. Bush’s economy is just wonderful. [C-J]

McConnell screws college kids again. The senator was one of just 11 Republicans voting against bringing down college costs. The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 is the largest student aid investment since the GI Bill. The bill, which McConnell opposed, offers a debt forgiveness program that benefits nurses, teachers and law enforcement. [DSCC]

Almost got the story correct. Joe Gerth reports on the Insight-McConnell matter. He missed that Insight has contributed more than $17,000 to McConnell (far greater than the $10K he quotes). McConnell’s staff still insists that it matters that the iPod-like audio devices shipped to Afghanistan used encrypted audio files. It may come as a surprise to some non-geeks, but, uh, nearly all portable audio players– especially the iPod– use encrypted audio and it has no bearing on what the devices were used for. [C-J]

Warning: Kentuckians demand answers from Insight!

Public Campaign Action Fund just released a statement in response to Insight Communication’s weird decision to pull a commercial critical of Mitch McConnell. Read the full release here.

An excerpt:

“Executives at cable giant Insight Communications have given Senator Mitch McConnell $17,000 in campaign contributions for his campaigns. And they now are helping him even more by engaging in political censorship by refusing to run Public Campaign Action Fund’s commercial that criticizes McConnell for his special interest politics.

“Network affiliates and another cable system in Kentucky ran the ad after reviewing its content for accuracy. But with Insight, Public Campaign Action Fund was neither given an opportunity to respond to any of their concerns, nor were we notified of their decision to pull the commercial from rotation on a prime viewing slot. This is highly irregular and their action reeks of censorship.

To pull further from their relese, PCAF raises important questions that we’ll unfortunately probably never have answers to:

  1. Since every other outlet in Kentucky ran the ad after reviewing its content for accuracy, what is Insight’s justification for deciding not to air the ad?
  2. Which executives made this decision and did they make it without reviewing the background documentation that supports the ad that other media companies found adequate?
  3. What role did Insight lobbyist Keith Hall or Insight CEO Mike Willmer, both McConnell donors and allies, play in making this decision to censor the ad? Were they or anyone else at Insight urged by McConnell or his aides to censor this ad?
  4. What has Mitch McConnell done for Insight on the issues that directly impact Insight’s bottom line?
  5. Has Insight lobbied McConnell to further its interests, and how much campaign money have Willner and his associates bundled for McConnell’s campaigns and PACs?

The pulling of PCAF’s ad critical of McConnell reeks of censorship and is a complete violation of freedom of speech. McConnell, who supports flag burning and says he believes freedom of speech is one of the most important rights we have as citizens, is the very person stifling dissent.

Forget 2007. It’s already decided. 2008 is ON. Discussion and promotion of campaigns and candidates in 2008 will not affect fundraising or focus in this year’s election. We’re less than 8 weeks away from E-Day and we think it’s time to start the next cycle early.

UPDATE: Insight has approved the ad for airing.

Update on Insight & McConnell

Sources close to Page One reveal that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Loves Iraq) and Insight Communications CEO Michael Willner are close. They’re frequently spotted together throughout Washington, D.C.

Bluegrass Report mentioned another Lego in the fort, Keith Hall, but it’s tough to think someone like Hall has enough influence to be responsible for this incident. Especially when Willner, the company’s CEO, is a self-proclaimed “player” in D.C.

Willner was most recently at News Cafe in Georgetown (D.C.) with McConnell. He’s also known to spend more time on the Hill than any other cable industry executive. He knows where his bread is buttered.

BREAKING – Insight Says No to Anti-McConnell Ad

Senator Mitch McConnell used his clout with Insight Communications to have ads targeting him pulled from the air.

While the commercial incorrectly alleged that McConnell voted against funding for body armor, it’s not reason enough in our minds to have it pulled. Not after Insight has run despicable and factually incorrect ads supporting the slaughter in Iraq.

The ad is still running on broadcast stations throughout Kentucky, including tonight’s NFL opener on NBC affiliates.

It’s interesting to note that McConnell has received $17,000 in campaign contributions from Insight employees.

See?

ABBOT, JOHN F
NEW YORK,NY 10280
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CFO
3/30/2007
$2,000

BRECHER, ELLIOT MR
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/GENERAL COUN
9/25/2006
$1,000

DIETZ, CHARLES E
ORADELL,NJ 07649
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/VP
3/30/2007
$2,000

HALL, KEITH
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
10/14/2005
$2,000

HALL, KEITH
NEW YORK,NY 10044
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS
1/15/2002
$1,000

HALL, KEITH MR
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
9/25/2006
$2,000

HALL, KEITH MR
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
9/25/2006
$1,900

HALL, KEITH MR
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
9/25/2006
($1,900)

KNAFEL, SIDNEY MR
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
9/25/2006
$2,000

KNAFEL, SIDNEY R
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
3/30/2007
$2,000

KNAFEL, SIDNEY R
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
3/30/2007
$1,700

KNAFEL, SIDNEY R
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
3/30/2007
($1,700)

WILLNER, MICHAEL
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS
1/13/2002
$1,000

WILLNER, MICHAEL MR
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/PRESIDENT AN
9/25/2006
$2,000

Hard not to think McConnell’s direct influence wasn’t taken advantage of in this situation.

A representative from Public Campaign Action Fund tells Page One that Insight neither notified them of this decision nor gave them a chance to respond to/argue re: why they think their facts are accurate.