Osborn Recycles Old Attack on Sasse to Distract from TARP Ties
11:25 AM, Mar 14, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
In the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, which went online early this morning, I have an article about the Nebraska Senate race. In a nutshell, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is trying to give a boost to one of the candidates due to some disagreements with outside conservative groups. This is problematic because there are two solid candidates in the race and it's an open primary -- and voters tend to resent meddling by the national party. Despite the intervention of the national GOP, both men in the race are running against "the establishment" and trying to claim the mantle of conservative purity.
The revelations in the article appear to have spooked Nebraska Senate candidate Shane Osborn, who appears to be attempting to preempt the revelation in THE WEEKLY STANDAD that the securities firm he is a partner in is profiting off of TARP, the $400 billion taxpayer-funded bailout program.
Osborn--who is being funded by lobbyists aligned with the Senate Republican leadership--has long been trying to paint the other contender, former Bush administration Health and Human Services official Ben Sasse, as lacking in conservative bona fides because of favorable things he's said about Medicare Part D, which conservatives criticize as an unfunded entitlement.
In the course of reporting all of this, I noted that Shane Osborn has his own issues with conservative purity. He says he's opposed to all government bailouts, yet he's the chief marketing officer and a partner in a firm, Academy Securities, that got a contract from the Treasury Department last year to sell a billion dollars worth of GM stock. Osborn says he's only licensed to sell municipal bonds and the compensation structure at the firm is such that he doesn't profit off of the GM sale. As far as I can tell, Osborn's connection to TARP was a new revelation.
So imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to see a story in Politico headlined, "Ben Sasse aided firm implementing Obamacare." Sasse has run hard against Obamacare, so the idea that he'd help implement it is potentially damaging. Here's the crux of the allegations:
This story is a classic example of what political hacks and reporters like to call an "oppo dump," shorthand for the opposition research files on rival candidates that are peddled to reporters. Bear in mind, there's typically nothing wrong or unseemly with giving information about candidates to reporters, so long as it's true.
But in this case, it seems to be a classic case of campaign gamesmanship. The Politico reporter seems to be under the impression that the connection between Sasse and former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt's firm hadn't been reported "until now." That's not true. In fact, this same exact story was reported by the Washington Post back in November:
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