Katherine Harris' Former Opponent In-Town For Fundraising: Harris' Victory Over Jan Schneider Tainted By Corruption

Share Article

In 2004, Jan Schneider ran the closest Congressional race in the State of Florida -- and she did it against incumbent Congresswoman Katherine Harris! Some prominent friends, relatives and associates in Las Vegas, Nevada -- including local Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-Las Vegas), foundation chair Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar (mother of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar), prominent physician and philanthropist Dr. Parvin Modaber Jacobs and actor and artist Tony Curtis -- are helping Schneider win the open seat Harris is vacating to run against Florida Senator Bill Nelson. They are throwing a fundraiser at the luxurious Grand Salon, Park Towers, One Hughes Center Drive in Las Vegas tomorrow, March 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has also previously contributed to the Schneider campaign.

Who Is Jan Schneider?

In 2004, to repeat, Schneider ran the closest Congressional race in the state of Florida. She held incumbent Congresswoman and former Florida Secretary of State Harris to a margin of 55% to 45%. Despite the heavily Republican registration in the Florida 13th Congressional District (roughly 50% Republican to 30% Democratic to 20% other), as a political unknown, Schneider managed to capture the hearts and minds of large portions of the local electorate. An independent-minded person who is appalled by the extreme partisanship affecting both political parties in Washington these days, Schneider is committed to putting the interests of the country and her constituents first.

A straight-shooting Yale-educated lawyer with a Ph.D. in political science from Yale. Schneider has three decades of experience as a practicing lawyer, educator and author. She also has a 30-year history of fighting for public interest causes, particularly in the areas of environmental protection, women’s rights, the arts and public housing. Among other things, Schneider is the author of two books and dozens of articles on environmental protection, and she currently provides pro bono legal services to residents of Sarasota public housing projects. For further information, consult her website at http://www.VoteJan.com.

What Is With Katherine Harris?

Last night Katherine Harris made her less-than-dramatic announcement on Hannity and Colmes that she will pour $10 million of her recent inheritance into her flagging race against Senator Bill Nelson. Harris, it would seem, thinks that money -- wherever and however obtained -- is the sole crucial factor in federal elections. And in retrospect, it has now been revealed that Harris had more going for her than an overwhelmingly Republican registration in the 2004 Congressional race.

MZM Scandal Tainted Harris 2004 Election:

The Harris/Schneider race was riddled with corruption on the part of the Congresswoman. As recently reported in the Washington Post, Mitchell J. Wade, formerly CEO and founder of MZM, Inc., admitted in federal court (United States v. Mitchell J. Wade 1:06-cr-00049-RMV) that he tried to curry favor with Harris and another House member through illegal campaign contributions. Documents filed in court indicate that Harris, identified as “Representative B,” received $32,000 from Wade and his employees in the race against Schneider n 2004. They also state that Wade took Harris to dinner early last year, where the two discussed another fundraiser and the possibility of getting funding for a Navy counterintelligence program in Sarasota, Florida, in Harris’ district. Reportedly, Harris submitted the defense funding request, but it was not granted.

Overall, according to FEC records, in the 2004 election cycle, Harris appears to have received $50,000 from MZM. This includes $10,000 from the MZM PAC and an additional $40,000 from MZM employees (with 14 checks for $2,000 each written the same day, March 23, 2004). The employees later claimed that their individual contributions were coerced, but Harris declined to return them.

Other Harris Congressional 2004 Campaign Scandals:

But the corruption tainting the Harris races against Schneider in 2002 and 2004 runs far deeper. Harris imported three members of Congress to assist in her campaigning and fundraising against Schneider: former Congressman Randy (“Duke") Cunningham, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and suspect Congressman Bob Ney. The efforts of these individuals met with considerable success and were instrumental in helping her accumulate the $3 ½ million warchest Harris spent against Schneider.

Duke Cunningham:

With great fanfare, Cunningham (R-CA) came to Sarasota to lend his name and prestige to Harris in a veterans’ forum. Congressman Cunningham resigned after pleading guilty to fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery and tax evasion (United States of America v. Randall Harold Cunningham 05cr2137-LAB). In the charges against Cunningham, the man identified as "Co-conspirator #2" is none other than former defense contractor Wade.

As already mentioned, in the last the 2003-04 election cycle, Harris received $50,000 from MZM-related sources. Cunningham’s own PAC kicked in another $1,000, bringing the total to $51,000.

Tom DeLay:

When Majority Leader DeLay (R-TX) was indicted on charges of violating election laws on September 28, 2005 (Texas v. DeLay DA#DIDC-05-900725), Congresswoman Harris lost another key political ally. Harris was the keynote speaker at the 2002 fundraiser that is central to the charges, and that same day received a $1000 campaign contribution from the Executive Director of the sponsoring TRMPAC. Shortly thereafter Delay came to Sarasota for a fundraiser for Harris.

In addition to the Delay fundraising help and $1,000 from the TRMPAC executive, Harris also received $20,000 from Americans for a Republican Majority. AMRPAC, another political action committee created by DeLay, gave Harris $10,000 for each of her 2002 and 2004 Congressional campaigns.

Bob Ney:

The third member of the trio, Ney (R-OH), also traveled to Florida, in September 2004, to support Harris. Ney has himself been scandal-ridden in recent months, including being embroiled in DeLay legal battles.

On November 21, 2005, Michael Scanlon, a Washington lobbyist and former aide to Delay, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bribery (United States of America v. Michael P.S. Scanlon 05-411 ESH). Court papers say he and another lobbyist, believed to be Jack Abramoff, bribed a number of public officials, including one identified as “Representative No. 1.” Ney has admitted that this reference is to him. While Ney is still under investigation and has not yet been indicted, it is already clear that he received numerous favors from the Abramoff connection (including campaign contributions, lavish dinners at a restaurant owned by the lobbyist and a golfing trip to Scotland).

What Next?

So Schneider is raising money in beautiful Las Vegas tomorrow night. Harris is avoiding difficult questions from the Florida press by restricting her announcements to the friendly confines of Hannity and Colmes. As the saying now goes, as goes Florida, so goes the nation. Stay tuned!



Friends of Jan Schneider

P.O. Box 57, Sarasota, Florida 34230

Tel.: 941-957-1950; Fax: 941-957-1952

Website: http://www.VoteJan.com
Email: mailto:VoteJan2006 @ comcast.net



Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Joanne Turner
Visit website