Duckworth's Photo-op Takes Advantage of a Non-Profit
by michael in chicago, Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 12:48:23 PM EST
I've complained about Duckworth showing up in my mailbox and no where else - to the tune of four mailers in a little over three weeks now. So imagine my surprise to hear that Duckworth had an event at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital right here in the district. I guess my surprise was only matched by that of Marianjoy's CEO's when she found out that there was a political event being held at her facility:
There's nothing Kathleen Yosko likes more than publicity for Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.
But not when it's tied to a political event.
That's why the CEO of the Wheaton hospital is clarifying Marianjoy's position following a highly publicized tour there Feb. 16 by 6th Congressional Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth.
The hospital gives frequent tours, and that's all Yosko thought she was providing.
Instead, a posse of television, radio and print reporters followed Duckworth and Cleland around the hospital. Midpoint, the two held a news conference chastising the Bush administration for failures on health care issues.
So not only was this "event" not listed on Duckworth's campaign site so district resident could have come out and asked her questions in person, but her campaign didn't even bother to tell the facility they dragged the media to for a photo op that they intended to do so!
Why is this a big deal? Because Marianjoy is a non-profit:
That wasn't on the agenda, Yosko said.
"She was invited as a disabled veteran not as a candidate. I was taken aback by the level of media there," she said.
As a not-for-profit organization, Marianjoy has tax-exempt status but as a result cannot engage in political activities.
So basically Duckworth's campaign held a stealth media event in a non-profit facility without telling the facility they would be doing so.
What did the Duckworth's campaign have to say for themselves:
Duckworth spokesman Billy Weinberg said the event wasn't about politics but about health care.
Far from taking advantage of anyone, the campaign sought to bring attention to cuts in the Bush administration's 2007 budget that will hurt facilities such as Marianjoy, he said. These include reductions in medical research, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Centers for Disease Control.
"The event was to talk about health care. We were extremely gratified by Marianjoy's generous hospitality," Weinberg said.
Let's recap here: Marianjoy CEO says she was giving a tour to a disabled vet, not to a candidate. Duckworth's campaign makes the tour a media photo-op "event" using their facility for a political event without telling the CEO they would do so. Marianjoy is non-profit and can't host political events. But the Duckworth campaign claims this isn't taking advantage and that the event wasn't really an event and they are "gratified" by Marianjoy's hospitality that wasn't extended that they took advantage of anyway.
Actions speak louder than words.