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If Hannity Is Olbermann’s Worst Person for His Stanford Ads, What About Obama for Receiving Stanford’s Funds?

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Keith Olbermann took Sean Hannity to task as his worst person in the world tonight on “Countdown with Keitgh Olbermann” for running ads on his radio show for Stanford Financial Group, Allen Stanford’s firm. He’s the Texas billionaire who is charged in connection with an estimated $8 billion fraud.

Now, taking a partisan shot at a conservative by implying some kind of link between the two is not a surprise; and Olbermann, who is a paid commentator, not a journalist, can voice his opinions to his heart’s content. I just wonder if he would have lodged the same smear toward anyone else who has done business with the accused scammer.

Would Olbermann be just as condescending to other victims of a scam? Hannity certainly wasn’t the only person who had business with Stanford. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Bill Clinton embraced the billionaire, as ABC’s Brian Ross reports:

A video posted on the firm’s web-site shows Stanford, now sought by U.S. Marshals, being hugged by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and praised by former President Bill Clinton for helping to finance a convention-related forum and party put on by the National Democratic Institute.

“I would like to thank the Stanford Financial Group for helping to underwrite this,” Clinton said to the crowd at the event.

Stanford Financial was listed as the “lead benefactor” for the gathering, and Stanford was permitted to address the audience of several hundred.

Stanford contributed $150,000 to underwrite the event, said NDI president Kenneth Wollack. More recently, Stanford gave $5,000 to help pay for a luncheon hosted by the group. At the time NDI had no idea of Stanford’s trouble, and it is has not had any contact with him since the December event, said Wollack.

“We had no reason to believe that a very public company that was also engaged in philanthropic work might be suspect,” said a spokesperson for the National Democratic Institute, Amy Dudley

A video report from ABC shows Stanford greeting the House speaker with a hug at the Democratic Convention in Denver (The hug is at -1:43 of the video at the ABC site.)

Stanford certainly was bipartisan. He gave $28,000 to the McCain campaign. The McCain office has said it will give the money to charity. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) was the single biggest recipient of Stanford contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He received $47,000 from Stanford.

The center also reports other recipients:

Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who served prison time for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, received $28,200 (this includes contributions to Ney’s candidate committee and leadership PAC). Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who reportedly flew on Stanford’s jet, collected $20,100 from the company between the 2000 and 2006 election cycles.

In addition, since 2000, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received $965,500; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee received $202,000; the National Republican Congressional Committee received $250,125; and the National Republican Senatorial Committee received $133,345.

But the biggest name on the list is President Barack Obama, who received $31,750. Obama, too, has said the money will go to charity. The center says that Obama ranks third among individual lawmakers, having collected the money from the company’s employees during his 2008 presidential bid, including $4,600 from Allen Stanford, the firm’s leader.

So, if Hannity is the worst person in the world for being a pitchman, where does that put the president? Didn’t he campaign on a platform of changing the way lobbyists and politicians work? Is this the change so many people voted for?

Well, how about change in the way we make social commentary? This is a scandal that will cross party lines. Any commentator who uses it as a springboard to attack his political opponents is taking a cheap shot, and that’s exactly what this country does not need right now.

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Written by newscycle

February 20, 2009 at 12:43 am

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