Sunday, March 19, 2006

Katherine Harris - Representative "Bonehead"

In today's Miami Herald, columnist Carl Hiaasen, writes about the Katherine Harris "flake factor".

Until recently, Harris wasn't particularly picky about where she got her money, or how suspicious it looked. One major booster recently pleaded guilty to paying more than $1 million in bribes to another GOP congressman, Randy ''Duke'' Cunningham of California.

The whole affair with convicted Cunningham briber, Mitchell Wade could have been a misunderstanding, but Wade's delivery of 16 $2,000 checks from his company's employees should have plucked a memory string in Harris.

Her claim of naiveté about the bundled checks might be more plausible if it were not a sleazy replay of what happened in 1994 during her state senate campaign. An insurance firm called Riscorp gave Harris $20,000 in ''straw contributions'' disguised as checks from private individuals.

According to a company memo, a member of Harris' staff had called to complain that the checks all bore the same post-office box, and warned that ``the newspaper will probably make the connection and track them all back to Riscorp.''

The addresses on the checks were then altered to conceal the true donor. Harris claimed to know nothing about it, the recurring theme of her nonexplanations, even though a campaign manager was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Harris has pledged to use her personal fortune of $10 million in her senate campaign. That will, at least, relieve her of the necessity to check the dates when some shady businessman presses a stack of checks into her hand at a fundraiser.