I got this great tip from a reader. Our friend Mr. Huckabee is involved in even more shady dealings than we could ever hope to cover. There are some deep pockets creating all kinds of 527 special interest groups that can’t be traced thanks to McCain-Feingold. The other problem is that there are tax-exempt issues that disallow tax-exempt institutions from endorsing any candidate.
At Americans United for Separation of Church and State or AU, “Under the Radar: Secret Pastors’ Briefing Seem to Have a Partisan Purpose“, lists some of the slithery things the Huckabee/Evangelical camp are up to.
A shadowy collection of Religious Right fat cats appears to be working behind the scenes to encourage churches to promote the presidential candidacy of Mike Huckabee.
For months, Americans United has been receiving reports about state-based groups with names that include words like “renewal” and “restoration.” The idea seems to be to bring together fundamentalist pastors for closed-door meetings that, organizers say, discuss social issues.
If that’s really all they are doing there would be no problem, at least as far as the tax question goes. Tax-exempt religious groups can take stands on political and social issues.
But there’s another wrinkle to this that is more problematic: These groups keep scheduling Huckabee to speak to them – Huckabee and only Huckabee. And Huckabee doesn’t seem to want it to be known that he’s speaking. The events don’t appear on his public schedule. They are not open to the media. Attendees say little or nothing about them in public.
The Eve Fairbanks, from The New Republic did attempt to “infiltrate” one of the ritzy but ever so secret meetings.
Fairbanks also noted the secrecy of the event, writing, “Roaming around the Metropolitan Convention Center after last night’s session was over, looking for the event’s principals, I felt like I’d accidentally wandered into a meeting of the Masons, where a hilariously intense aura of secrecy, whispers, and special handshakes is deliberately cultivated.”
So then Huckabee makes a little campaign detour to the Cayman Islands – staying at the Ritz Carlton –
The unusual detour in the middle of a campaign, on the weekend before the Wisconsin presidential primary, had raised many questions: Is it appropriate to take a speaking fee while running for president? Is it appropriate to pick up cash in an offshore tax haven when routinely criticizing that haven for putting a burden on the American economy? Was this detour more or less an admission that he was not serious about his campaign?
But when asked how much he made on this gig – he “didn’t know”.
Mr. Huckabee said the matter was simple: He came here because he needed the money.
Yet, when asked how much he received, he suggested that he did not know.
The he gets a little defensive and takes a poke at McCain:
“No taxpayers pay for me to have health insurance, to pay my mortgage, to pay my bills,” Mr. Huckabee said. “And so to me, it’s not just absurd, it’s beyond absurd — it’s insulting — to think that there’s something nefarious about my being here when nobody has raised the question about sitting U.S. senators taking their full paycheck and enjoying all the magnificent perks they get from the U.S. taxpayers.”
But in the middle of shoving Mitt Romney out of the race and blasting him because he is wealthy, get a load of this pile of doo doo:
Mr. Huckabee himself has never been rich, drawing a $74,000 salary as governor, though when he left office, he bought a house in Little Rock for $525,000. On his most recent federal financial disclosure form, for 2006, he valued his assets at between $318,000 and $895,000. He earned nearly $150,000 in book royalties and made approximately $50,000 in speaking honorariums that year. His highest speaking fee was $17,000.
Enough said, but I do know that he was charging $35,000 a speaking gig a few months back. I’m sure his fees are only going up as he milks the campaign for all it’s worth.