Are We To Believe?

The name Michael Zimmerman has been in the local news quite a bit as of late. Zimmerman, a Dover developer, is but the latest named in an ever-growing circle of campaign fraud and corruption.

Zimmerman is the third person to be found guilty of illegally contributing to the campaigns of the current governor of Delaware, Jack Markell.

The pattern seems to be, that owners of businesses convince  their employees to make contributions to the campaign  of Jack Markell, then reimburse the employees, and others, through the companies they own.

The first, and what seems to have been but the tip of the iceberg, was Christopher Tigani, the owner of N.K.S., a local liquor distributor. Tigani was fined $108,00. That was followed by Kemal  Erkan, a Greenville businessman, who settled a non-prosecution case, and paid a $15,000 civil fine, for also having used his company, United Medical LLC of Stanton, to reimburse employees who had made donations to the Markell campaign.  Zimmerman was fined $21,600 for his illegal funneling of campaign contributions.

Zimmerman may be the most interesting, not for the amount of money that he paid to the campaign of Gov. Markell, but because of statements that he has made since being indicted.

Mr. Zimmerman has said that he is a registered voter in Florida, along with the people who actually made the donations, and were later reimbursed. Zimmerman was quoted in the Wilmington News Journal as saying, “I didn’t come up with these things on my own”, inferring that the Markell campaign may have been coordinating with these men, perhaps actually mapping out how to go about making these illegal contributions.

When asked whether this was true, Governor Markell said, “Absolutely not”, others in the Markell inner circle have also denied that anyone within the campaign had any knowledge of how this happened.

Okay, so are we to believe that these three men, and maybe more, put their reputations at risk, their businesses at risk, their very freedom at risk, simply to help elect Jack Markell? That they were so impressed with Mr. Markell that they would go to any lengths, including making illegal contributions to see that he got elected?

Are we to believe that they had no hope of gaining any influence over the Governor? That they were not hoping that by making these contributions that they would receive special consideration at some future date? I am sorry, but I find it hard to believe that anyone would risk all that, simply to elect a person with no intent of gaining such influence.

So if a man will go to such lengths to make contributions above and beyond the legal limit, if they will risk their homes, their businesses, all that they have worked to build and achieve, in order to gain influence over an elected official, does it make sense that they would do so without the knowledge of the person they hope to influence? What good does it do, to make these donations if the person you are donating to, doesn’t know you donated all that money?

That may explain why the special investigator, E. Norman Veasey, who was appointed by  Delaware’s Attorney General Beau Biden, back in 2011 to investigate campaign finance practices in Delaware, is now expanding that investigation to include looking into whether Jack Markell, or anyone involved with his 2008 campaign, had any role in  helping these people make these illegal contributions, or any knowledge that this was being done.

We now know that there is a pattern of people making these illegal contributions, that is without question. It is now time to shine the light on the fact that in all likelihood the campaigns, if not the candidates themselves, are playing their role in this practice.  Or, are we to believe that these three men just happened to come up with the same idea, to contribute in the same way, to the same campaign?

It is time that the candidates and the campaigns pay the price for these illegal actions. Somewhere there is someone who heard a conversation, or received an email, they need to come forward. If Jack Markell, or anyone on his campaign played a role in this, then they need to be held accountable, the same as the men who made the contributions.


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