Over at Attytood Philadelphia Daily News reporter Will Bunch has posted an excellent laundry list of things America may not know, and probably won’t like, about Rick Santorum. You should read Bunch’s entire post, but here are a few samples:
1. This compassionate Christian conservative founded a charity that was actually a bit of a scam. In 2001, following up on a faith-based urban charity initiative around the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia, Santorum launched a charitable foundation called the Operation Good Neighbor Foundation. While in its first few years the charity cut checks to community groups for $474,000, Operation Good Neighbor Foundation had actually raised more than $1 million, from donors who overlapped with Santorum’s political fund raising. Where did the majority of the charity’s money go? In salary and consulting fees to a network of politically connected lobbyists, aides and fundraisers, including rent and office payments to Santorum’s finance director Rob Bickhart, later finance chair of the Republican National Committee. When I reported on Santorum’s charity for The American Prospect in 2006, experts told me a responsible charity doles out at least 75 percent of its income in grants, and they were shocked to learn the figure for Operation Good Neighbor Fund was less than 36 percent. The charity – which didn’t register with the state of Pennsylvania as required under the law — was finally disbanded in 2007.
5. Washington’s lobbyist culture — Santorum was soaking in it. The ex-Pennsylvania senator spent much of his final years in government trying to downplay and defend his involvement in the so-called “K Street Project,” an effort created by GOP uber-lobbyist and tax-cutting fanatic Grover Norquist and future felon and House majority whip Tom DeLay. By all accounts, Santorum was the Senate’s “point man” on the K Street Project and he met with Norquist — at least occasionally and perhaps frequently — to discuss the effort to sure that Republicans were landing well-paying jobs in lobbying firms that were seeking to then access and influence other Republicans.
6. Santorum had no problem with big government if it was supporting his campaign contributors in Big Pharma. It’s little wonder that Santorum ultimately supported Medicare Part D, a prescription drug plan for the elderly that has added hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal deficit and was drafted in such a way to best help pharmaceutical companies maximize profits from all the unbridled spending. When Santorum was defeated for a third term in 2006, an internal memo at the drug giant GlaxoSmithKline said his departure from Washington “creates a big hole that we need to fill.