Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain formed a political action committee (PAC) last year, ostensibly for the purpose of supporting other Republicans seeking elective office in the 2010 elections. That’s what Mr. Cain announced in an e-mail to his "Hermanator's Intelligent Thinkers Movement," an online extension of his motivational speaking business, T.H.E. New Voice, Inc.
He called it the “Hermanator PAC.” It raised more than $220,000. Two Republican contenders each received $1,000 from the PAC money (about nine-tenths of 1%). Cain spent the rest of the loot – at least $218,000 (about 99.1%) -- on himself according to federal election commission records.
"By agreeing to help The Hermanator PAC, either by volunteering or by giving a monetary donation, you will be helping to elect conservative candidates that share our principles and values," Cain represented to potential donors. "Let's send President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid a message for the right kind of change."
But Cain, the Hermanator, used almost all the cash instead on five star first class hotel stays, lavish restaurant meals at pricy high-end establishments, and luxurious private airplane travel for expensive jaunts across the country.
The problem for Mr. Cain, according to Paul Ryan, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, is that candidates who create PAC’s like these are supposedly legally barred from using any of the funds collected on themselves.
In this case the poor saps who donated to The Hermanator PAC thinking that their contributions were going to help other Republicans get elected were simply duped into establishing a big cushy slush fund for Herman Cain’s personal use.
This news comes on top of earlier reports that a Wisconsin tax-exempt charity called Prosperity USA, founded by Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff, and Linda Hansen, his deputy chief of staff, doled out some $40,000 worth of iPads, private chartered airplane fees and other high-end expenses for Cain’s fledgling campaign.
Once again, these kinds of payments are supposedly illegal under federal tax and election laws, because nonprofit charities are not allowed to donate money or services to political campaigns.
Then we have what might be appropriately deemed “strike three”: the multiple lingering sexual harassment and assault allegations leveled at the Hermanator. He claims it’s all a bunch of lies.
Most fair minded observers would have no problem giving Mr. Cain the benefit of the doubt if only one accuser came forward after more than a decade with charges of sexual misconduct. One such accusation about events occurring 12 or more years ago deserves a large helping of skepticism in my mind.
But if two credible accusers materialize with similar allegations of inappropriate behavior, that is surely enough to at least arouse some natural suspicion. How many political candidates have been accused by two women of past sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual conduct? Not very many, I think. Of course, Bill Clinton comes to mind, and we all know that he was guilty as sin.
In the case of Mr. Hermanator, though the general public is not as yet privy to all the excruciating details, no less than four women have leveled serious accusations against him, two of whom admittedly received substantial financial settlements from Cain’s employer to make the claims go away shortly after the offending conduct allegedly happened. That taken all together cannot be easily dismissed.
Add to all that the fact that Mr. Chris Wilson, who worked as a pollster for the National Restaurant Association during the times in question, reported to Oklahoma radio station, KTOK, that he personally witnessed at least one of the alleged incidents with a woman that resulted in the sexual harassment complaints, saying that if the truth of what happened is ever made public, it will mean the end of Herman Cain's presidential campaign.
So from political PAC’s to petty philandering, it all amounts to one prevarication too many.