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Needed to take yesterday to recharge my batteries but I have a few stories I want to cover this weekend.  So Senate Minority Leader (R. KY) has been getting a blast from the past in the press:

Former Sen. Bob Packwood’s sexual harassment scandal has resurfaced as a campaign issue — nearly two decades later.

Senate Minority Leader Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recently recalled his role in the ouster of Packwood, the Oregon Republican and Finance Committee chairman who resigned in disgrace back in 1995.

McConnell, then the Ethics chairman, was tasked with leading the investigation because Republicans controlled the chamber. The inquiry had Packwood on the verge of expulsion.

“The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a member of my party, had a case before the Senate Ethics Committee with regard to sexual harassment. In those days 20 years ago much of this was never taken seriously by anyone,” McConnell said on April 12 at a campaign event. “I was chairman of the Ethics Committee charged with the responsibility of dealing with a member of my own party as chairman [of] the most important committee in the Senate. After investigating the case and bringing together all of the evidence I moved to expel him from the Senate. And the Senate on the verge of expelling him, he decided to resign.”

The stroll down memory lane was prompted by recent sexual harassment complaints in the Kentucky state legislature. McConnell criticized Democrats’ handling of the incident in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader published Wednesday. - Roll Call, 4/17/14

Well that's one way to look at.  But that's not how everyone remember it:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, accompanied by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., center, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
But, as Molly Redden of Mother Jones noted, reports from that time show that McConnell actually tried to stop the investigation into Packwood once he became chair after the Republicans re-took the Senate in 1994. Most of the investigation into Packwood's behavior by the ethics committee took place under the chairmanship of then Sen. Richard Bryan (D-NV).

Once McConnell became chairman, Mother Jones noted from news reports at the time, the momentum of the investigation changed. The ethics committee didn't meet its deadline to vote on public hearings of the investigation and McConnell refused to answer questions on the progress of the investigation. McConnell also pushed to make sure the investigation of Packwood was not public, despite the demands by Democrats. At one point, McConnell also suggested on to Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) that he would even conduct other investigations

"I want you to tell her (Boxer) if she does that, we will offer amendments for hearings on Daschle and Chappaquidick. It will work both ways," the Associated Press, as noted by Mother Jones, reported at the time. "I want you to tell her that right away."

Boxer was eventually able to push the Senate to vote on holding public hearings on Packwood. McConnell urged Republicans to filibuster the vote (which they did), but the filibuster failed. - Mother Jones, 4/18/14

Here's the scoop:

Despite that Senate vote, Packwood held up the probe for about a year by challenging the subpoena for his diaries in federal court. As a result, it took the Senate ethics committee until December 1994 to wrap up its review of Packwood's diaries. (The committee, by that time, was also investigating whether Packwood had altered the diaries and whether Packwood had instructed lobbyists to offer his ex-wife a job in order to lower his alimony payments.) The panel was on track to decide, in early 1995, whether Packwood had broken any laws or ethics rules. By tradition, if the committee decided Packwood had broken any laws, public hearings and testimony would take place on the Senate floor before the committee decided what consequences Packwood would face.

That's when McConnell engaged in partisan obstructionism.

With Republicans now in the majority, McConnell, as chair of the Senate ethics committee, took control of the Packwood inquiry. And the investigation suddenly slowed down. As the committee missed its projected deadline for voting on public hearings by several months, McConnell dodged questions about where the investigation stood.

In mid-May, the committee announced it had acquired sufficient evidence to hold public hearings on the allegations. Its investigation had substantiated "18 instances of kissing, grabbing, groping or propositioning women," often by force, the New York Times reported.

It was unprecedented for such serious ethics charges not to result in public hearings. But McConnell battled to keep the ensuing proceedings against Packwood closed. With Democrats demanding public hearings, McConnell canceled an ethics committee vote on holding such hearings without explanation. In the following weeks, he allowed committee debates over whether to hold public proceedings to drag on without a vote. - Mother Jones, 4/18/14

Now here's how serious the Packwood case was:
Former Senator Bob Packwood (R. OR)
Since Packwood's earliest days on Capitol Hill, he has made uninvited sexual advances to women who have worked for him or with him, according to former staff members and lobbyists, including 10 women who, independently of each others, have given specific accounts on Packwood's behavior toward them.

The women, including six whose names and detailed allegations were given to Packwood, said his approaches were unwelcome and unreciprocated. In some cases, they said, the behavior took place when he had been drinking. Several said he was abrupt, grabbing them without warning, kissing them forcefully and pressing until they made clear that they were not interested or had pushed him away. No one said Packwood punished her for rejecting him., but several decided to leave their jobs within months.  Packwood and his wife divorced last year after 27 years of marriage.

None of the women complained formally; some said they feared no one would believe them and that their careers might suffer.

According to several former employees, Packwood's behavior created an undercurrent of tension and resentment among some in the office that appears to have been most pronounced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some female staff members said that more experienced employees told them to avoid working alone with the senator after hours. - Washington Post, 11/22/92

Now here's what else you need to know:

The 60-year-old Packwood is cast in the unlucky role of lightning rod just when the Senate is under pressure to prove its newly awakened sensitivity to the issue of sexual harassment, following the rough, inquisitorial treatment Hill suffered at the hands of some Senators two years ago. Fifty-eight senators have adopted anti-sexual-harassment guidelines framed by the Capitol Hill Women's Political Caucus. Packwood, in an irony no one's failed to note, was an early signer.

The fire from women's groups, which has been especially withering, is being fueled by a sense of personal betrayal. For years, Packwood, the embodiment of a quirky Oregon species, the socially progressive Republican, has been a strong supporter of women's causes. A leader of the abortion-rights brigades, he introduced the first Senate bill to legalize abortion in 1970; a decade later, after Bill Bradley and Daniel Patrick Moynihan demurred, he led a lonely filibuster against his own party's bill to make abortion the equivalent of murder. He has also regularly hired women to run his campaigns and to serve as his top aides.

But after the first wave of news accounts, many more women came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct, raising the total to at least 24. (The Ethics Committee has also widened its inquiry to include Packwood's attempts to discredit his accusers before he apologized.) Many of the women are pressing for public hearings to prevent the matter from being swept under the rug. Packwood would prefer that the Ethics Committee, which has a long tradition of protecting its own, hear the evidence in private. A decision is expected soon.

The Senator, who has not publicly shared how it feels to see his pro-woman legacy mocked by a sexual misconduct scandal, declined to be interviewed for this article. But as one old friend says, "In all probability, he's going through tortured hell with this whole thing." Others close to him, however, say he's responding stoically, with little hint of inner pain. On a rare visit to Oregon in January, as demonstrators banged on his motel windows and ridiculed him as "Senator Peckerwood," he displayed tight-lipped composure.

"He's not a warm and fuzzy person," says his ex-wife, Georgie Packwood, whose marriage to the Senator ended in 1991 after 26 years and two grown children. She says her husband was never comfortable discussing intimate matters. It was probably no coincidence that he chose as his chief area of expertise the United States tax code. "The intellectual idea of tax reform is absolutely the most titillating thing in the world to him," says Georgie Packwood. "How it affects Mrs. Jones on 13th Street, he doesn't give a darn about." - New York Times, 8/29/93

Here's what else you need to know about Packwood:

Senator Bob Packwood had a problem on his conscience in 1989. Ronald Crawford, a lobbyist for the Shell Oil Company, urgently needed the Senator's help. To his diary, Mr. Packwood confessed that he put aside his beliefs to accommodate his friend.

"Ron, I still hate the oil companies, but I'll do you a favor," the Senator said. The Senate Finance Committee, on which Senator Packwood was the senior Republican, passed a special tax bill avidly sought by Shell. The bill became law.

The diaries and documents that drove Senator Packwood from office on Thursday offer a rare record of how a senator can come to rely on lobbyists, influence peddlers and fund-raisers for friendship, counsel and political cash. The public almost never sees such a detailed chronicle of the uses and abuses of power -- casual compromises, late-night dinners and private meetings where money and politics blend into a seamless web of favors sought and granted.

Beyond the diaries' tales of debauchery and drunkenness, the picture of Senator Packwood's Washington fits the increasingly common view of a Government out of tune with the people and in thrall to powerful interests.

When the Senator fears the financially crippling prospect of alimony, he tells his diary he will "hit up" lobbyists and executives for whom he had done lucrative favors and ask them to hire his estranged wife, Georgie. One lobbyist offers $37,500 for five years of part-time work and said, "If you're chairman of the Finance Committee I can probably double that." A businessman from his home state of Oregon, "eternally appreciative" for his help with tax legislation, offers to help bankroll the Senator's wife.

When Mr. Packwood needs money to run for re-election, the same business executives and lobbyists tap other corporate executives and political action committees. And when they and their corporate clients need legislative help, they turn to Senator Packwood.

The Senator attends a $1,269 dinner for 10, drinking toasts from $70 bottles of wine with his lobbyist friends, all paid for by a powerful Japanese company. When executives from a timber-and-paper company offer him a $3,000 campaign contribution, he scoffs to his diary at the paltry sum but adds, "I'm glad to have anything I can get." - New York Times, 9/10/95

So yeah, this was a very serious case.  It shows how slimy McConnell has been in Washington for years.  It might be one of the reasons why McConnell's colleague, Tea Party Senator Rand Paul (R. KY) is having a hard time talking about why he backs McConnell for re-election:

Earlier this year, Paul awkwardly joked with Glenn Beck about how much he didn’t want to explain his siding with the über-establishment McConnell over his Tea Party-backed primary challenger, Matt Bevin. When asked by Beck to justify the move, Paul could only deadpan, “Because he asked me.”

Speaking before a crowd on Wednesday, it became clear that Paul had not used the time since his appearance on Beck’s show to come up with a better answer. In response to an audience member’s question on the matter, Paul reportedly decided not even to bother mouthing the usual clichés politicians use to explain a political alliance born of convenience, instead telling the questioner he’d explain the decision in private, after the event had concluded.

Even putting Paul’s earlier comments to Beck aside, the likely 2016 presidential candidate’s relationship with Senate Minority Leader McConnell has always been fraught. Perhaps the most well-known example of this was when McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, was caught admitting that he was only working for the longtime senator in order to help Paul’s eventual White House run.

“Between you and me,” Benton was heard saying in a recording, “I’m sorta holding my nose for two years” because helping McConnell is “going to be a big benefit to Rand in 2016.” - Salon, 4/17/14

Plus there's also this:

It popped across Twitter Tuesday and it probably shouldn't have been a surprise.

Top people from FreedomWorks had been in The Courier-Journal's editorial offices just days earlier talking not about "Sen. Paul," but talking about speaking with "Rand," showing all the familiarity you would expect of longtime friends.

Paul said FreedomWorks' executive vice president Adam Brandon is one of the group's "go to" senators.

What was a tad shocking, however, was the openness of Paul, who supposedly made up with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell following McConnell's backing of former Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the 2010 Republican Senate primary.

But there he was on the internet hawking Freedomworks' president Matt Kibbe's new book, "Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto."

"Make sure you order your copy of @mkibbe's 'Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff' today," his post said.

He had earlier pimped the book on his Facebook page. - Louisville Courier-Journal, 4/13/14

Hey, one more hit at Paul and then we'll go back to McConnell:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) might now be forced to choose not only which political office he wants most, but which kind of political figure he wants to be, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Thursday.

“This calls the question of whether or not he and his father’s brand of Republicanism is actually about holding office and not just running for it,” Maddow said.

Maddow said that Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was “basically a protest candidate for national office,” which allowed him to voice his platform on the larger Republican political stage and nudge the party further to the right while also maintaining his grip on a congressional seat as he spent time continually fundraising and seeking national support.

“But no one — including Ron Paul, I think — ever thought that he was ever anything but a protest candidate, that he was ever going to be president,” Maddow said. “Running was its own end. He held on to that House seat from Texas for decades.”

But the Democrat-controlled Kentucky House of Representatives, Maddow explained, ran out the clock on a bill that would have allowed Rand Paul to seek the presidency in 2016 while allowing him to run for re-election in his district in the same way his father had been able to do in Texas. Instead — unless House Democrats could be swayed otherwise — Paul will now have to forego a senatorial re-election campaign if he truly wants to run for president. - Raw Story, 4/17/14

Just wanted to make sure you all knew that.  Now McConnell has been misleading people about his past because he doesn't because he doesn't want to talk about Kentucky's present and future:

President Barack Obama and Obamacare are unpopular in Kentucky. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has now sunk so low that he is even more unpopular in Kentucky these days than Obama.

The Washington Post reports on this issue. Next lesson about Kentucky politics: Kentucky Kynect is much more popular in Kentucky than Obamacare, in spite of the fact they are one in the same. Kentucky Kynect is just another name for Obamacare, however, politically, it does make a difference.

After all, as Shakespeare might have said, "That which we call Obamacare by any other word would smell as sweet."

In the state of Kentucky, the words Kentucky Kynect have that sweet smelling fragrance. Kentucky Kynect, the name of the health exchange marketplace, has been a rocking success since its inception and has become very popular among Kentuckians.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has placed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, in a difficult political spot because of the successful implementation in Kentucky of the Affordable Care Act, hints a Washington Post story about Kentucky politics and McConnell.

McConnell is fighting a political war on two fronts. One of the wars is against tea party challenger Matt Bevin, who has the endorsement of McConnell's former colleague and friend, Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Senate Conservatives Fund is actively supporting Bevin and so is the DeMint-controlled Heritage Foundation.

The second war on another political front, should McConnell survive the tea party primary challenge, is that would face one of the brightest Democratic stars (next to Beshear, of course) in Kentucky politics, Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is the current attorney general of Kentucky.

With the deck stacked against McConnell this election season, he will surely lose to Grimes and likely lose big. McConnell has boxed himself into a corner and cannot get out. - All Voices, 4/17/14

Now people are doubtful about Bevin taking out McConnell in the primary:

Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin has failed to provide Kentucky primary voters with a compelling reason to replace incumbent Mitch McConnell in next month's election.

That's what conservative commentator Erick Erickson said in a blog post Wednesday, sharing his doubts about the Tea Party-backed challenger's chances.

Erickson is a Bevin supporter who has compelled readers to donate in recent months. He is also an outspoken McConnell critic who has blamed the GOP leader for—well everything.

But even he admits time is running out for Bevin.


    Matt Bevin fell early to a barrage of negative attacks defining him before he could define himself. He is far down with a month to go. While he benefits from a wave of conservative grassroots support, including my own here at RedState, he has much ground to make up and little time to do it. Short of a non-stop very positive media campaign re-defining himself, Bevin is not going to win.

    The voters in Kentucky may not care for Mitch McConnell. Conservative activists around the country may not care for McConnell. But Bevin has failed thus far to present a compelling, positive narrative of himself and why he should be the guy to replace Mitch McConnell. With early voting approaching, he has less than one month to do that. - WFPL 89.3 FM, 4/16/14

But Bevin recently had a good haul:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had his best fundraising quarter of this election cycle, pulling in $2.4 million in the first fundraising quarter of 2014.

But McConnell is also spending heavily. His campaign will report $10.4 million in cash on hand, which is down more than $500,000 from his cash position when he started the year.

The McConnell campaign emphasized that the spending is not in response to a primary challenge from Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, saying that the majority of expenditures are for the fall campaign.

An ad that McConnell's campaign ran earlier this year featuring Paducah cancer survivor Robert Pierce ran statewide at a cost of more than $840,000.

"Team Mitch has invested early in ground-game infrastructure that will help deliver unprecedented voter contact in Kentucky," the campaign said in a statement to the Lexington Herald-Leader. "Additionally, last quarter, Team Mitch made their first major television expenditure with an ad that media guru Frank Luntz recently called the best of the cycle."

Bevin said Monday that his campaign raised $1.1 million in the first quarter of the year. - Lexington Herald-Leader, 4/14/14

And Bevin's about to get some more outside help:

Amy Kremer, the Tea Party Express chairman who's played a major role in elections for the past five years, is resigning.

"This has been a really difficult decision for me, but the time has come for me to leave Tea Party Express," Kremer said Friday.

The group is one of the largest and most politically active national tea party organizations. It got its start in 2009 as a bus tour that crisscrossed the country multiple times as it held rallies and supported conservative candidates.

In the 2012 election cycle, the group partnered with CNN to host the first tea party Republican presidential debate.

The timing of her departure comes as the Tea Party Express plans to spend four days in Florida’s 19th Congressional District to support conservative Curt Clawson in a special election.

But Kremer says she doesn’t want to dedicate her time to a district that already leans Republican and on a race that will have to take place again in November.

Instead, Kremer will be doing consulting for businessman Matt Bevin, who’s challenging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky’s GOP primary on May 20.  - CNN, 4/19/14

And Grimes had a great fundraising haul:

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes outraised Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the second straight quarter this cycle, bringing in more than $2.7 million in the first three months of the year.

Grimes now has almost $5 million cash on hand, while McConnell has $10.4 million in the bank, almost $500,000 less than what he posted at the start of the year.

That marks a significant early burn rate for the senator, who has had to contend with attacks from both his right and left flanks while Grimes has thus far been able to save most of her money.

Still, neither candidate will want for money in the general election, if McConnell makes it through his primary as expected. Outside groups are already spending on the race, and McConnell is a top Democratic target this cycle. - The Hill, 4/15/14

Lets keep up the momentum and help fuel her campaign so she can take out McConnell in November:
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks during an outdoor political rally in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Grimes is running for U.S. Senate in Ky. in an attempt to unseat Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. (AP Photo/Roger Alford)

Originally posted to pdc on Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 10:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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