Following Mitch’s Money, Presentation by Doug Price on September 21, 2020
During last week’s segment I mentioned the Six Degrees of Separation. I realized that one can connect Mitch to various organizations, businesses, and others due to his quest for money which he uses to create power. The more money, the more power. The more power, the more money. It is circular.
I decided to check into the McConnell Center located on the campus of the University of Louisville. Also, following this preview I will detail corporate and personal donations to Mitch related to the McConnell Center.
In May 2020 I made an Open Records request to the University of Louisville in reference to the McConnell Center and specifically the McConnell Scholars Program.
Additionally, I obtained a copy of the University of Louisville’s 2017 990 and 990-T tax forms through the IRS.
The McConnell Center was established by McConnell at U of L in 1991 and Mitch raised a multi-million-dollar endowment to support its programs and scholarships.
The McConnell Center endowment totals over $15 million dollars, including funds from the UPS Fund in Civic Leadership and Education. The annual budget for 2019 was $1.2 million dollars.
Generally, there are 10–11 students in the program at any one time. Graduates include Scott Jennings (owns a PR firm in Louisville and is a frequent guest on CNN representing all things Republican); KY Sec of State, Michael Adams and I believe that KY Attorney General Daniel Cameron is also a graduate of the program.
The initial donors to the program included RJR Nabisco, Brown-Forman Corporation, the WT Young Family Foundation and the Island Creek Corporation for a total initial endowment of just under $200,000.
I asked for and received a list of donors from 2016–2020. The largest donations were $75,600 from the Humana Family Foundation and a family friend who gave $22,500. Michael Adams donated $500 in 2019 and Daniel Cameron donated $100 in 2019.
Periodically Senator McConnell will address the current group of Scholars and tells them that the keys to winning political elections can be summed up in 3 words and then he writes Money Money Money on the blackboard!
With the advent of Citizens United making the giving of money essentially free speech, Mitch has raised whatever it takes to “buy” your vote. Not in the sense that he pays for people to vote but in the sense that he has unlimited funds made available to him to get his message out in an effort to convince people that he needs another term. He is working on his 6th six-year term and wants another this year.
According to a synopsis of the program, the McConnell Center is not affiliated with any party and works hard to maintain its outstanding reputation for non-partisan educational opportunities, featuring leaders from across the political spectrum. The list of speakers Mitch has invited to the program is impressive: US Secretaries of State Michael Pompeo, Colin Powell, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, George Schultz and Condoleezza Rice, CIA Directors David Pratraeus and Gina Haspel(a native Kentuckian), Chuck Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, former President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The most recent and perhaps infamous donation occurred in October of last year. Christy Trout Van Tatenhove who was a 1999 graduate of the McConnell Scholars program gave a $250,000 donation to the McConnell Center.
Her husband, U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove presided over Jerry Lundergan’s and Dale Emmon’s criminal trial. They were charged with campaign finance law violations related to Allision Lundergan’s run to unseat Mitch McConnell in 2014.
A review of donor names/amounts associated with the McConnell Center funding indicate the following: Brown-Forman has contributed over $80,000 to Mitch and had lobbying expenses of $1.2 million dollars in 2019. Humana has contributed over $131,000 thousand dollars to Mitch over the years and in 2019 had lobbying expenses of $5.7 million. KY AG Daniel Cameron worked for Frost, Todd, Brown and Humana paid Cameron and Jonathon Miller $162,500 in lobbying fees. Also, Humana contributed over $350,000 to Kentucky politicians. KY Sec of State Adams has been the Treasurer of a PAC titled Kentuckians for Strong Leadership PAC and KFSL had total donations of over $1 million. $100,000 from David Jones who was the longtime CEO of Humana. $100,000 from a business owned by Joe Craft. Also, major contributors ($150,000) were the KY Senate and House Caucuses.
Again, the Six degrees of Separation circle ties Mitch, Kentucky politicians, major donors, big business and lobbyist all together to obtain legislation for big business.
One last open your eyes figure: from 2008–2020 Lobbyists and their family members have donated $2.69 million to our Senator, Mitchell McConnell.
Meanwhile, We The People get the short end of the stick.
Thirty-six years of his leadership has not helped Kentucky but certainly has helped the pockets of Mitch which he shares with others in order to remain in power.
We need to Ditch Mitch on November 3, 2020.
Doug Price is a member/treasurer of the MMRC and a regular participant on the #MoscowMitchMonday live stream, discussing Mitch and Money. Doug is an advocate of governmental change on the State/Federal level and has periodically worked on Democratic campaigns dating back to the 80s. Follow Doug on Twitter @ PriceDoug