The Special Election for Kathy Stein’s seat in the heart of Lexington is turning silly. The two campaigns are sending out competing attack mailers — and they’re really, really dumb. If you’ve given these guys money, you should be angry at how their spending it. The Thomas folks are calling Moloney — a life long Democrat — a Republican, and Moloney’s well… his communications guy, Kimball Geveden (one of the brains behind Dan Mongiardo’s failed homophobic campaign for US Senate), sent us and the Herald Leader a press release yesterday and it, well… it was really dumb, all innuendo and no real substance and I guess that’s supposed to be the equivalent of questioning someone’s trustworthiness. I guess. It’s the kind of stuff we’ve tried to stay away from here over the past two weeks — choosing instead to focus on the issues facing the 13th and the question of who is best to represent the 13th.
Which is to say: we have bigger fish to fry.
In a post earlier today I mentioned that Richard Moloney had taken $1,000 from Terry Forcht, the bank-man behind Karl Rove’s ultra-Right Wing American Crossroads SuperPAC.
That seemed worth exploring, so I asked Moloney about it:
As a self-proclaimed progressive candidate pledging to honor and maintain the progressive reputation of the 13th District Senate seat in the legacy of Ms. Kathy Stein, what do you have to say about accepting $1,000 from Terry Forcht, one of Karl Rove’s key allies in running the GOP attack machine that is American Crossroads?
Here’s Richard Moloney’s reply:
While I was president of REACH, I worked closely with the presidents of multiple banks in Fayette County to fund our affordable housing programs. They supported me when I ran for council and they support me in my bid for senate because they know and trust me. Unlike my opponent who has funding from the Democratic party and their PACs (where individual donors and their business interests are not divulged), I’m the independent candidate and appreciative of the bankers’ support. You will see that I also received support from Luther Deaton at Central Bank and Bill Alverson at Traditional Bank.
A couple things.
First, Moloney never really addresses the question and never mentions Mr. Forcht by name. He does answer the question in a way, but obviously that answer isn’t going to pacify the voters of the 13th District — voters who are not fond of Karl Rove in any way whatsoever, and that’s putting it as tepidly as humanly possibly.
Second! The justification Moloney uses for accepting Terry Forcht’s money is… well, it gets back to that question of Mr. Moloney’s ideological narrative. He is a spurned Democrat raging against the hamfisted control of a lamebrained party but he’s also a true independent who works across the aisle and who, progressive though he may be, is somehow able to speak the language of Kentucky’s Republican State Senators. The first part endears him to a sect of voters in the 13th, for sure, but the second part swerves into wonderland and one is left wondering where a vote for Moloney might actually deliver us.
Furthermore, the fact that Moloney’s opponent, Reggie Thomas, is receiving funds from the Democratic Party and their PACs is a mere result of Moloney choosing not to seek the Democratic Party nomination. That doesn’t mean he is consequently forced to accept any money from any person who offers it to him and his choice to accept Terry Forcht’s money is just that, his choice. It’s no one’s fault but his own.
And no, we are not done. Moloney’s justification — that his opponent is funded by Democratic PACs includes this hilarious parenthetical:
(where individual donors and their business interests are not divulged)
Excuse my French, but no shit.
The Citizens United case created a world in which unlimited funds can be funneled into US politics via Super PACs. One of the gravest abusers of this is American Crossroads — one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Super PACs in the country.
American Crossroads and its Crossroads GPS corollary and all its other tentacle groups are the brainstem of Karl Rove.
Karl Rove, you may recall, is the brains behind the 8 glorious George W. Bush years.
And Terry Forcht — supporter of Richard Moloney’s campaign — is the moneyguy for Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.
Now, we asked Moloney about the $1,000 that Terry Forcht gave his campaign but just a quick look reveals that was only a part of the Forcht infusion into the Moloney campaign:
Richard Moloney has raised $74,000 in total. Just over $20,000 of that came from Moloney himself or his direct family. Of the remaining $54,000, the Terry Forcht/Karl Rove/American Crossroads machine has given at least $4,000 — we didn’t keep looking — and after that you’ve got Alliance Coal throwing in $1,000 from their PAC… and it would be reckless to not mention that Alliance Coal gave the Terry Forcht/Karl Rove/American Crossroads Super PAC $2,000,000 in September 2010, not long after Rove organized the group…. and well, yes, Mr. Moloney makes a fine point: You’ve got to take money from someone to run a campaign and hopefully that money adds up.
But who are you willing to take money from?
American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove/Terry Forcht attack machine, spent $70,000,000 on the 2010 midterm elections. In 2012, they spent a whopping $176,000,000 trying to buy the White House for Mitt Romney — a costly disaster for all their donors and a galling waste of money.
American Crossroads also looked to central Kentucky for its banking needs. It deposits its money in Forcht Bank, one of Kentucky’s largest bank groups, founded by Terry E. Forcht, a Louisville native whose business is located in Chandler’s district. American Crossroads uses Forcht Bank at the advice of Michael Duncan, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and chairman of American Crossroads, who himself owns community banks in Kentucky.
American Crossroad spokesman Jonathan Collegio said that, because Duncan is on the state Republican committee, he is not involved in any Crossroads decisions about Kentucky races. Duncan, who has known Rove since college, also contributed $1,000 to Barr’s campaign in 2010. Barr said he knows Duncan because of his role in Kentucky Republican politics, but he has never discussed American Crossroads with him.
Forcht is chairman and CEO of the Forcht Group of Kentucky, a group of 95 companies mainly in central Kentucky, including banks, nursing homes, radio stations, newspapers, insurance agencies, construction and real estate companies, and a thoroughbred horseracing farm. No public records show that Forcht donated money to American Crossroads, and Collegio said the only Forcht connection is that it is American Crossroads’ bank.
Forcht, his wife and employees of his companies have always contributed heavily to Republican parties and candidates, including $31,450 to Barr in 2010. They also contributed to the Republican Party of Kentucky, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Rand Paul.
Why is Terry Forcht taking such an interest in Kathy Stein’s seat? And how will the voters of the 13th District react to the knowledge that Karl Rove’s bagman is trying to buy off their representative?
Now, you could say that Terry Forcht’s allowed to give money to whomever he wants, and that’s true. And you could argue that just because Terry Forcht’s activities with Karl Rove are wildly out of touch with the voters of the 13th District, that doesn’t mean that his personal interest in the State Senate race in the heart of Lexington is anything but genuine and sincere concern for the direction of our blissfully liberal lives.
And you could also argue that Terry Forcht’s problems are not Richard Moloney’s, that Moloney simple accepted the money and all this Forchting around isn’t his problem.
But it is.
Richard Moloney is out of touch with the voters of Kathy Stein’s district if he believes they want that sort of influence whispering in his ear, and even he pledges to never take a meeting with Forcht… that’s not going to get the stink of Karl Rove off him. And in that sense, Terry Forcht is in fact Richard Moloney’s problem.
Terry Forcht can choose where to distribute his money — and the voters of Lexington’s Fighting 13th District can choose where to distribute their votes.
That’s how it works. Kathy Stein was unbought and unbossed — maybe we can’t have Kathy Stein all over again, but it wouldn’t hurt to steer in that direction.
So… Richard Moloney can give Terry Forcht his money back, or he can ride those checks to the bank and see what it buys him at the ballot box.
Is Terry Forcht’s money a beast of burden… or is it just a burden?
We should find out on Tuesday, December 10th, when the 13th District votes.
[And we'll note here, at the bottom, because it's worth noting, that the Forchts while primarily funders of GOP candidates are not unfamiliar with Democratic ones -- Terry gave $1,000 to Steve Beshear in 2011 and in September of this year Terry, Marion and Ted Forcht gave $1,000 each to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray... but we can dig into that another time... if we need to.]