Monday, January 29, 2007

Kick Up the Leaves and the Magic is Lost

In response to ACK's assertion that David Briley "had a bad day" after Karl Dean reported higher than expected contributions, Catherine McTamaney lends him some perspective:
Actually, it sounds like it's a great day for Briley. That $156k "raised" by Dean consists of $50k from Dean's "own" pocket, and by "pocket," I mean "trust fund" and by "own," I mean "his wife's." Since state law prohibits individual contributions over $40k, it's comforting to know that there's at least one lawyer who's figured out a way around the law. An additional $52k comes exclusively from the law firms to which Dean directed business over the years as the Director of OUR community's legal department... I guess there is some financial benefit to being a public servant after all. So, 50K from the in-laws, 52K from Metro-law and the dashing Mr. Dean is left with a mere 48K. Perhaps most discouraging for Dean, he had a total of just 120 contributors, almost all from one zip code (Quick! Guess which one! Hint... it starts with a 372 and it ends with an 05). Sure, those folks buy some pretty expensive loafers (pun intended), but word on the street is that Briley has contributions from well over five times that number. Good thing for Nashville that even the fattest wallets only get to vote once.
If this is all true, it's fodder for the argument that even when one has a lot of money, the details about that money can cancel out the inevitability, the juggernaut that the six-plus-figures are supposed to sire. Is Dean another progressive tainted by financial ties? We shall see.

UPDATE: Catherine comes on through the barn door left open for her. Read. Now.


  1. Now, Mike, you know me well enough to know that I wouldn't say that if I couldn't back it up.

    Of the 123 contributors (besides himself) on Mr. Dean's disclosure, 55% of them are attorneys. 78% live in the Green Hills, Belle Meade or Richland, although curiously 5% of them don't live in Nashville at all.

    Almost 50 THOUSAND dollars (of the, adjusted 101K that Dean discloses) comes from other attorneys and almost 40% of that amount comes from only three firms, Waller Lansden, Baker Donelson and Bass Berry & Sims. If you add in the 6K from the the next top three firms on Dean's list, over 50% of his "individual" fundraising comes from "individuals" who work for "firms" who are paid by the City.

    Then, there are the curious contributors. Like Mark Dean, from the "New Hampshire Law Firm." There's a Mark Dean at Devine, Millimet & Branch in Concord, NH, but no "New Hampshire Law Firm" listed in Martindale. It makes one wonder if there's a nationwide network of Mayflower Deans who just support each other in political campaigns, or if Karl Dean forgot his brother's name. Or the college student who was somehow able to scrape together a thousand dollars to contribute to a Nashville campaign. Or the Metro teacher? Or the church Secretary? The handful of contributors who are NOT attorneys or "consultants" must be among the most well-paid of any in their respective fields.

    Bottom line: this disclosure tells me a lot more about the powerplayers who are supporting Dean than it does about why he's running for Mayor or who he'll appeal to county-wide. If you live and work downtown, it's easy to forget that Davidson County is a lot more than the handful of suits you'll see at 5th&Union.

    Let me be clear: I don't care one bit that these people are supporting Dean. But I'm not reaching for the fainting couch in awe of the disclosure of a "candidate" who has yet to tell me anything about what he believes, where he'll take our city or why, indeed, he wants to be Mayor anyway. It tells me a lot about his priorities that he's more concerned with announcing his contributions early than he is with announcing his platform EVER. At this point, there's little Dean could do to convince me that this is a race he understands or a position to which he is committed because he actually wants to DO something. I'm looking elsewhere for my progressive candidate.

  2. Man, as much as I hate to say I told you so, Briley's run away with this one. Today's disclosure puts him neck and neck financially with Mr. Dean, but with seven times as many voters.

    Luckily for those of us who are paying attention, voters seem to prefer a progressive who's actually offered clear policy initiatives and demonstrated the ability to write and get passed effective legislation to the view from the top of downtown's shiny highrises.