The real question should be this: For the sum of $15,000, what exactly did the Kaine campaign buy from Goldman, the mayor’s longtime right-hand-man, who is, by the way, on the City’s payroll?
Goldman -- what’s with that same-as-it-ever-was sport jacket? -- has been a quirky background player in politics, a strategist, whose specific duties and methods have never been fully aired out in the press. Now Richmond’s taxpayers are paying him $145,000 a year to be a “senior policy adviser.” Sounds like a consultant to me.
To know if there is a conflict of interest in Goldman’s duties to the City and what he -- acting again as a consultant -- did for Kaine’s camp, we simply must know what that $15,000 bought at the 11th hour of what had been a two-year campaign. Don't most political consultants do their special magic a little earlier than the eve of an election?
Was it 15 G's-worth of advice? Or, does Goldman have connections on cut-rate sky-writers or poster printing? Or, does he own an offshore phone bank? Maybe Goldman called some people, who knew some people? Or, could the dough have gone into a fund for what used to be known as walking around money? In other words, did it go toward small cash payments to individuals -- on the day of the election -- to persuade them to drop what they were doing to go vote? Or what?
That “or what?” is the problem. We’re being left to fill in the blanks. Even though happy Democrats are busy pointing at recent money scandals that appear to tarnish a list of Republicans -- such as Rep. Virgil Goode and Rep. Eric Cantor -- the donkeys ought to give it a rest, long enough to squeeze the truth out of Goldman.
For Goldman to return the troublesome money, or give it to a charity, is not enough. Both he and Kaine’s campaign must clear the air on this matter, pronto, to put it in the rear view mirror. That, or this minor brouhaha could swell up to be a King Kong-sized distraction at Kaine’s inaugural.
Perhaps Mr. Goldman would be more comfortable working exclusively in the private sector, where he can stay in the shadows? That checkered coat he always wears probably looks better in low light.
Photo Credit: F. T Rea