The recent (Aug. 4) fund-raising visit of Sen. Tom Daschle to Oxford, Mississippi took place “under the political radar … Not even the local daily newspaper in Oxford received advance notice of the event and there was zero news coverage of the event.” Why would the Senate Minority Leader go out of his way to raise money far from South Dakota in one of the nation’s poorest states? Well, Mississippi has some of the nation’s wealthiest trial lawyers, many of whom were in attendance, starting with Oxford’s own Dickie Scruggs, who hosted the event. “The fund-raiser sought checks made payable to ‘A Lot of People Supporting Tom Daschle’ — Daschle’s campaign committee in Washington. Daschle is in an unexpectedly tight race with Republican challenger John Thune. Thune accused Daschle of ‘ducking a debate’ to attend the Oxford fund-raising event. Trial lawyers represent Daschle’s largest group of individual contributors at $1.5 million and his second largest overall sector of givers at $1.7 million during the current cycle.” (Sid Salter, “Daschle luncheon was quiet gathering”, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Aug. 15)(& welcome readers from Jon Lauck’s Daschle v. Thune blog and from Jason Van Beek at South Dakota Politics, who points to a similar under-the-radar Daschle fundraiser in Jacksonville, Fla. in December hosted by attorney Wayne Hogan). More: the Daschle v. Thune blog reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has run an ad in South Dakota assailing the Senator for blocking liability reform, drawing a testy reaction from his camp (Aug. 20, first and second posts). The first of the two posts quotes Crain’s Insider, Apr. 28:
Daschle will accept an award from the NY Trial Lawyers Assn. at a 4/29 dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. “He is being honored for his work in opposing tort reform. Political strategist James Carville will serve as the keynote speaker”.