The Sponsored Candidate, Part 3.

Short of returning political contributions to defense contractors whose work might call into question his antiwar stance, Minnesota Congressional candidate Mike Erlandson could look to Senate contender Mark Kennedy for what not to do--begin hurling rocks in the proverbial glass house.

Pointing out an "egregious example of [...] hypocrisy," Kennedy's press secretary said on September 1 that the mutual fund holdings of her boss' challenger, Amy Klobuchar, contradicts her campaign rhetoric that criticized oil industry profits. "[She] frequently says we need to ‘follow the money,’ well, when you follow the money of ExxonMobil it ends up in Amy Klobuchar’s pocket.” Someone did follow the money and discovered that Klobuchar's oil stocks, estimated somewhere between $3,900 and $15,000 by Kennedy, are a drop in the bucket compared to the $70,000 the Republican has accepted from the oil and gas PACs.

By leveling the argument of hypocrisy against opponents--Klobuchar has been "saying one thing to voters and doing another," says Team Kennedy--candidates welcome closer scrutiny of what money is ending up in their own pocket.

Like Klobuchar, Kennedy too has taken swipes at the oil industry, once denouncing "Exorbitant Oil Company Profits." He says, as former oilman George W. Bush did, that it's time "to break our addiction to foreign oil," and that tax breaks for oil companies should be taken and redistributed to producers of sustainable fuels. These are popular and pragmatic plans, but, as WCCO points out, they don't conform to Kennedy's voting record: in 2005, he voted for the energy bill that OK'd at least $2.8 billion in tax breaks for oil companies.

A closer look at Kennedy's campaign contributions reveals another bit of irony--he received $13,000 from ExxonMobil since 2000, around as much as Klobuchar reportedly has in her mutual fund. Further, Kennedy accepted many thousands more from Texaco ($500), Marathon Oil ($1,000), the Petroleum Marketing Association of America ($1,000), oil enterprises owned by the Wyoming-based True family ($3,000), and Eden Prairie's Western Petroleum ($9,000), to name a few, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

Kennedy's criticism of Klobuchar's finances underscores that, regardless of the reality of one's voting record or personal ethics, money is considered, by some at least, a clear window into a politician's values...

See part 1.
See part 2.

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