Joe Lieberman responds to questions about money paid to his wife Hadassah by the Susan B. Komen “Race for the Cure”:
“My wife is a private citizen in a movement that is looking for a cure for breast cancer and educating women about what they should do to protect themselves from breast cancer. This is an age in which people stop debating you on the merits and go after you or your family for personal reasons. its just deeply offensive to me. I can take anything people want to throw at me, and I can take it with equanimity and trade it and give it back and deal with the merits, but I’m deeply offended by anyone who would draw my wife into it, particularly when they’re not telling the truth.”
If Hadassah Lieberman wants to volunteer to educate women about breast cancer, I think that’s great. But she has no special qualifications for this–nothing that Komen should be paying her for–and I seriously doubt people think that’s what they’re raising money for when they “race for the cure.” And, if Senator Lieberman is “deeply offended” by the suggestion that his wife is a lobbyist, one has to wonder what he did for all those years when she was working for the biggest lobbying firms in Washington DC.
Money paid to spouses is one of the primary ways that campaign finance laws are skirted, and the natural question should be, “is this money being paid because of someone’s special abilities, or is it just a pass-through to avoid detection by the FEC?” It’s a question that has legitimately been asked about members of both parties, including John Doolittle, Evan Bayh, Tom DeLay, Chris Dodd, and Tom Daschle. If Senator Lieberman would like to talk about the “merits,” he should explain what his wife has done to merit $328,000 in speaking fees in one year rather than trying to obscure the issue with his theatrical brand of “outrage.”
Joe Lieberman is going to jam through the PhRMA deal that the White House negotiated. It will be of tremendous financial benefit to the pharmaceutical companies and achieve the objectives of the lobbying shops who have paid his wife. Responsible journalists should be asking serious questions about this connection.