Ben Carson Has Sham Campaign In Order To Grow Personal Finances
It takes a hearty stomach at times to read the news items that land in my email. This morning was especially challenging.
I have a deep concern about those who launch quests for the White House who do so with the only aim to use the national moment to make money.
Sleepy, dopey Ben Carson can not find a solid answer to any question facing the voters this election season. But when it comes to whether he will abort his ill-conceived campaign for president his eyes pop wide open, his hands lose their limp-wristed look, and he feels the throbbing in his wallet as his mouth opens wide.
“I’m getting a lot of pressure to make sure I stay in the race. They’re reminding me that I’m here because I responded to their imploring me to get involved. And I respect that and I’m not just going to walk away from the millions of people who are supporting me.”
There is more a chance that the avocado pit in our kitchen from last night’s dinner will sit in the Oval Office before Ben Carson will. There is no plausible path to Carson winning even one state let alone the party nomination.
Yet there is no way he can let go of the campaign. So one has to ask if he can not prevail electorally what, pray tell, does this side-show oddity hope to accomplish by staying in the race?
Money. Lots of cold hard cash is the only reason that Carson dredges the slime so to get his base riled up. That base pays cash for his foolishness, too.
Last May Carson declared his candidacy. For the rest of 2015 he was paid to speak to at least seven events, bringing in between $210,000 and $500,000 to his personal bank account, according to a financial disclosure he was required by law to file. He was not however, required to disclose the exact amounts because the speeches hadn’t taken place at the time he filed. When asked about the exact amounts, Carson’s spokesman at the time said the campaign would not be providing that information.
This is an ethical “shade of grey,” said Jim Thurber, with the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. “There’s no law against it, no regulation against it, but it’s — in my opinion — ethically questionable.”
Some of the organizations that have paid Carson to speak have also contributed to his charity, the Carson Scholars Fund. The charity awards $1,000 college scholarships for 4th through 12th graders. It also funds “Ben Carson reading rooms” around the country, spaces where children can read for pleasure, typically with a poster of Carson and quotes from him on the walls. (Shades of Chairman Mao.)
While Carson has received praise for the Carson Scholars Fund, he started another charity that didn’t quite get off the ground. In 2002, Carson started BEN, the Benevolent Endowment Network, a nonprofit to provide financial assistance to patients without health insurance for complex medical procedures, such as neurosurgery for children. The name changed to Angels of the O.R., but there is little evidence in the charity’s tax forms that it doled out grants from the money it raised. Some years, the bulk of the money went to pay a consultant. The largest single grant was issued in 2009, $80,000 to the Baltimore Community Foundation, an umbrella organization for charity donors. That year, Carson was on the board of the charity that received the grant as well. One of the original board members, Kurt Schmoke, a former Baltimore mayor, said he never attended a board meeting. The charity recently dissolved.
May what remains of the Carson campaign also dissolve.