Shoot this old gray head if you must | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shoot this old gray head if you must

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 at 4:38 PM

I've been yukking it up this week about the "revelations" that R.J. Reynolds contributed the biggest nut to Mike Huckabee's secretive Action America money laundry. The news, confirmed now by R.J. Reynolds, was broken by Newsweek and advanced by the New York Times, thanks to former Huckabee moneybags J.J. Vigneault, who spilled the beans. Huckabee gave speeches to rouse the Religious Right against Hillarycare and an expected greater tax burden on big tobacco.

Searching archives for other treasure, I stumbled on this 1998 Arkansas Times insider, written by yours truly:

Perhaps you've noted that J.J. Vigneault, a former political operative in Arkansas (Tommy Robinson is one of his former employers) who now lives in Austin, Texas; Greg Graves, Gov. Mike Huckabee's campaign consultant; and Bill Vickery, the ambidextrous political consultant are partners in the Gordian Group, which does political consulting. And that Vigneault and Graves, in addition to being paid to work for the Huckabee gubernatorial campaign, are also officers in Action America, the, ahem, non-profit set up in Texas to launder honoraria for the Huckster out of sight of the public.

Vigneault, you might not know, also has done grassroots political lobbying for R.J. Reynolds, stirring up local opposition, for example, to the anti-smoking ordinance Fort Smith considered a while back.

This connection got folks thinking: Could tobacco money be the hidden subsidy Mike Huckabee received through Action America?

Vigneault and Graves say not.

Wish I'd remembered that.

Not that any of this matters. The Huckster is now No. 1 nationally in Rasmussen tracking, with 23 percent (every last evangelical in America) in the Republican race. Do you think the Huckabee press office will give me a spot on the second-tier press riser at the 6 a.m. prayer service Inaugural day? Perhaps the mule-skinners form-up line at the parade? Mother Jones works out on him here on Huckabee's weird religious views, but so what? He's nice. He ran a nice Christmas commercial. We'll worry later about the Christian jihad.

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