Dec 192005

I realize the Republicans have raised the art of corruption to new levels, but the fact that Senator Frist is using a charity to take care of his political cronies is, in my opinion, taking things to a whole new level…somewhere that’s about as low as I can imagine.

The AIDS charity run by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) — who is currently under investigation for his sale of HCA, Inc. stock — suspiciously raised $4.4 million from just 18 sources, who gave “between $97,950 and $267,735 each.” The organization gave “$3 million it raised to charitable AIDS causes, such as Africare and evangelical Christian groups with ties to Republicans – Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse and the Rev. Luis Cortes’ Esperanza USA, for example,” and the rest went to overhead, including to consulting firms with ties to Frist’s friends. One firm was run by Frist’s longtime political fundraiser and another was run by the wife of Rep. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO). Ken Cooper, the Federal Election Commission’s former public disclosure chief, Cooper said the consulting fees were “excessively high” and “the natural question is were they given to the Senate majority leader to gain favor or were they given for true charitable purposes?”

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