Frist Loses Political Funds in Stock Market

Washington Post

Heads up, Tennessee Republicans. Bill Frist took the money you sent him for reelection, put it into the stock market, and lost a bundle - to the point that the campaign now can't pay back a bank loan.

And now Bill Frist wants to do the same thing to your Social Security money.

Here's an idea: why not pass a law that requires all campaign money leftover after an election to be placed in a government escrow account? The thought of fellow politicians slobbering over a large pile of cash might be enough motivation for the average elected official to make sure things like this don't happen.

Then again - Washington might finally figure out the meaning of the term "lockbox."

UPDATE: Well, I toodled over to and found out some interesting information. Frist raised $9.6 million in the 2000 election cycle. He's now lost $460,000 of that in the stock market. That's just under 5% of everything he raised in the year he was actually running for re-election.

But wait - this gets better. 60% of his total was given by large donors ($200 or more) and 20% was from PACs. Small donors of less than $200 gave just 11.2% of that full amount: $1,079,547.

In other words: Bill Frist lost over 40% of the campaign money given to him by small Tennessee donors in the stock market. People sent him small sums of cash because they think he's going to be fiscally wise and protect the government from the wastrel liberals, but he takes their money and throws it away in a bad stock deal!

But wait - this gets better. says that at the end of the 2000 campaign, Bill Frist's money looked like this:

Cash on Hand: $2,147,016
Debts: $1,440,000
Yet here's what the Washington Post articles says those numbers look like now:
As of the end of September, Frist 2000 reported cash on hand of $312,807 and "debts and obligations owed" of $349,107. Castignani said, however, that this did not include the stock market gains of more than $11,000 in September.
Okay, let's add in the $11,000, Mr. Castignani. That makes the "cash on hand" $324,000 or so.

Let's have fun with math. At the end of December 2000, Bill had $2.1 million in the bank and $1.4 in debts. He's paid down the debt to $349,107, so that's $1,090,893 he's paid off.

Now Frist 2000's cash in hand is $1,056,123. He's lost about $460,000 of that in the stock market. That's 44% of his remaining cash in hand going to light cigars on Wall Street.

But $460,000 (what he lost) and $324,000 (what he still has) doesn't add up to what he had at the end of 2000 in his 2000 election campaign fund. Where's the other $272,000, Senator Frist? What were you buying when you should have been paying your bills?
Meanwhile, records show, Frist has continued to use money from the 2000 campaign account to cover various expenses.

Recent spending, for example, included $689.50 for flowers for a holding room for visiting dignitaries attending the funeral of former president Ronald Reagan, and $9,457 for "Senate gifts" from the Senate Gift Shop. Castignani said he did not know about the nature of the gifts, but he added that FEC rules allow federal officeholders to spend campaign money in support of official activities.
Senator Frist, might consider $272,000 petty cash, but I'm sure that many of those who gave it to him don't.

And imagine going to a funeral and seeing a reelection campaign ad among the flowers. That's just tacky.

Quote of the Day

Sorry for the delay in blogging - my new job has picked up for the holidays, and I don't have much time...

...but I thought I'd share a really great quote I just found from Ian Shaw's The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt:

The analysis of the scenes and texts of these objects [early Egyptian artifacts] is complicated by our modern need to be able to distinguish between event and ritual. But the ancient Egyptians show little inclination to distinuish between the two, and indeed it might be argued that Egyptian ideology during the pharaonic period - particularly in so far as it related to the kingship - was reliant on the maintainance of some degree of confusion between real happenings and purely ritual or magical acts.
No, that's not American ideology during the Bush administration, but it might as well be. Humans have always had to read between the lines of the king's propaganda, and I'm surprised that Mr. Shaw didn't recognize that.

Whether you find this kinship with ancient Egyptians refreshing, amusing, or depressing is all in your attitude, I expect. Enjoy your holidays, and I hope to see you safe and well. And I'll keep trying to check in...

I saw The Incredibles today. Wow, what a great movie. I want to live in their house. Edna Mole is fabu. And it had a great message about family values and pulling together to defeat a common enemy.

But right before the show, we were treated to an new Pixar short - Bounding is what I believe it was called. It was unlike any other Pixar short I've ever seen.

The main character was a sheep. It had a beautiful coat of wool, and love to dance around, showing it off. All the other animals were caught up in the sheep's rapture and would dance along with it.

But then some people came along and harvested the wool. The sheep was left all naked and bare, and didn't want to dance anymore. But along came a jackalope. It helped the sheep realize it could still dance. From then on, the sheep would dance before and after any harvesting. And all the animals danced along with it.

So evidently the moral of the story was: If you're going to be exploited, you might as well lay back, let it happen, and find a way to let it not bother you too much. Weren't you dancing?

Maybe if I had made it to the theater in time to see the new Star Wars trailer, I wouldn't have been so keen to knock the Pixar short. Oh, well. Teaching people to internalize any reaction to blatent exploitation is a recipe for disaster. It may have been a cute little story, but that struck a real sour note for me right before the credits for The Incredibles rolled. And computer animation isn't something that happens overnight - this was a carefully concocted story in every frame. This effect was intended.

What were they thinking?