Proud Catholic Voters,
In this first installment of the refutation of the fraudulent claims made by the political hacks calling themselves “Catholics for Sebelius,” let’s look at the criticism of Sebelius that seems to have the most traction currently. It also happens to be the first issue they try to defend on their website: the ties Sebelius has to Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider in Kansas who’s now facing criminal charges. Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins claims that “she has had a close personal and financial association with the nation’s most infamous abortion doctor, George Tiller, who specializes in late-term abortions.” The Liberty Council claims, “Sebelius has close ties with late-term abortionist George Tiller…Sebelius honored Tiller and his entire abortion clinic staff at the Governor’s mansion in April 2007. Tiller has contributed thousands of dollars to Sebelius and to her PAC.” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman went so far as to put it this way: “With Obama’s appointment of Gov. Sebelius to the Department of Health and Human Services, he might as well be appointing George Tiller…”
Wow! That sounds like pretty powerful stuff, certainly enough to make mainstream America think twice about whether or not they’d care to have Sebelius overseeing health care in America! I’ll bet Catholics for Sebelius pulled out all the stops and brought forth all the evidence they could conjure to dispel such an argument, dedicating page after page of web space to shooting down these allegations.
Nope. Three sentences.
“George Tiller purchased the right to attend a reception at the governor’s mansion with Gov. Sebelius by buying a table for the reception in a fund raising auction. Gov. Sebelius did not invite him to attend. Gov. Sebelius has not taken financial contributions from Tiller as a gubernatorial candidate or as governor and she appointed the state Attorney General who is prosecuting the case against him.”
Really? Oh, in that case, I guess there’s nothing to see here. Move along, folks.
But wait. I understand that brevity is the soul of wit, and although this explanation doesn’t seem to demonstrate much in the way of wit, after doing a little fact-checking, I think we find that the content at least rhymes with wit. Let’s look at each sentence separately, shall we?
“George Tiller purchased the right to attend a reception at the governor’s mansion with Gov. Sebelius by buying a table for the reception in a fund raising auction.”
After extensive efforts by Operation Rescue and the Associated Press, JyLynn Copp, the Governor’s Chief Counsel, produced documents that included a list of events that included an entry for April 9, 2007, with the notation “Women’s Political Caucus Auction Reception (reimbursement by the greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus).” Okay, so we have a name for the fund raising auction. It must have been the Women’s Political Caucus Torch Dinner.
As is often the case when a yarn begins to be spun (Oh the tangled webs we weave…), the story now becomes difficult to maintain. A search of the GKC Women’s Political Caucus contribution and expenditure reports on file with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission showed no contribution from Tiller, his wife, Jeanne, or his abortion business, Women’s Health Care Services, during either 2006 or 2007. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2005 for any contribution by Tiller to be found to the Women’s Political Caucus, and that was made by his political action committee, ProKanDo, not Women’s Health Care Services. When you look at the substantial guest list, you see that, with the exception of George Tiller himself, there isn’t a single person from ProKanDo in attendance at the banquet, just a covey of abortionists, unlicensed medical personnel and cleaning ladies from Women’s Health Care Services.
In fact, the extensive guest list brings up another question. In previous years, Sebelius had offered dinner at the Governor’s Mansion for the Women’s Political Caucus Torch Dinner. In those years, however, the dinner was for six people. I can’t find any record that this particular year’s donated dinner was for 25 people (the number that George brought with him to dinner), rather than the normal six.
Yet another loose thread is that a donated dinner such as this is a political event, meaning that the people of the state of Kansas don’t foot the bill for their dining. The venue is the only thing that can be donated. If this really were an auction prize at the Torch Dinner, then the Women’s Political Caucus would have reimbursed the expenses involved with the meal. Did they? Only after the Kansas Open Records Act forced disclosure of the dinner…more than a year after the event!
So we are asked to believe that ProKanDo donated money in 2005 for a dinner that wasn’t held until 2007, and wasn’t made to look even a little legitimate until media pressure made it necessary until 2008. And even then, wasn’t attended by the people who donated the money. A much more likely scenario is that Sebelius wanted to reward a major campaign contributor after her re-election, and then had to scurry around to cover it up when people started wondering about the behavior. This explanation is made even more credible, when you look at the T-shirts being handed out at the dinner. “Trifecta: Sebelius, Parkinson, Morrison”
The auction prize was just a cover-story to try to hide the recognition banquet that Sebelius hosted to thank one of her most generous supporters.
Sentence number two:
“Gov. Sebelius did not invite him to attend.”
Since I’ve already shown you that the “auction prize” story is completely false, I’m not going to spend much time on this one. Suffice it to say that this could possibly be true. Maybe Sebelius didn’t personally write the invitation by hand and deliver it directly into the hand of George Tiller. It’s a cinch, though, that her staff did…and under her direction.
Which brings us to:
“Gov. Sebelius has not taken financial contributions from Tiller as a gubernatorial candidate or as governor and she appointed the state Attorney General who is prosecuting the case against him.”
You’re kidding me, right? Any glimmer I held that Catholics for Sebelius could possibly believe the tripe on their website was immediately dashed when I saw this obfuscation. While this sentence is, in the narrowest sense, accurate, it can hardly be said to be true, and is most absolutely misleading. It is true that contributions were not made by George Tiller, personally, to Sebelius for Governor. This statement seems to overlook the hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed through ProKanDo (George Tiller’s PAC) to the Kansas Bluestem Fund (Kathleen Sebelius’ campaign slush fund) and the Democratic Governor’s Association and Kansans for Democratic Leadership PAC. This money most definitely benefited Sebelius, directly by funding her campaigns and indirectly by helping her stack Topeka with congressmen beholden to her financial largess (with Tiller’s money).
.This statement all by itself is enough to convince me that Catholics for Sebelius has no interest whatsoever in communicating truthful responses to grave concerns that other Catholics may have regarding her possible role as Health and Human Services Secretary. Their only concern is to try to blow enough smoke that good people will legitimately believe that the Sebelius nomination is truly a “matter of opinion” in which “good people may legitimately disagree.”
It’s a lie, and worse than that, it’s a set of intentional lies with no regard for theology, morality or integrity.
Bill Sutton, President
Proud Catholic Voters Association of Kansas