UPS PAC gives to incumbent John Yarmuth not its employee Todd Lally

07/20/2010 04:42 PM

Among the political contributions Louisville Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth received over the last three months was a $1,000 check from the political action committee of UPS — the employer of Yarmuth’s Republican opponent, Todd Lally.

The UPS PAC made the donation at a June fund-raising event for Yarmuth. The UPS PAC wrote the check because Yarmuth “represents a large portion of our employees,” said UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross. It was part of the $77,000 Yarmuth collected from political action committees over the last fund-raising quarter, according to his report filed last week with the Federal Election Commission.

So far, UPS has not donated to Lally, who is a pilot for the overnight delivery giant that has a hub in Louisville. But at least five of Lally’s fellow UPS pilots have given him a total of $3,600 so far, according to Lally’s FEC report. Ross said that decisions to donate to a particular campaign are made “as we go,” and could be made without consideration about the opponent of the person receiving the donation.

“The most important thing about our donations is it informs and educates that person about UPS,” Ross told cn|2 Politics.

Joel Adams, Lally’s political director, downplayed the notion that Lally was snubbed by his employer and suggested that the UPS PAC might generally favor incumbents.

Ross disputed that notion.

“I think if you’ll look in the past that’s not true,” she said. “We give to all candidates.”

Yarmuth campaign manager Elizabeth Sawyer told cn|2 Politics in an e-mail that she isn’t aware of any legislation or policy that Yarmuth may or may not have supported that would lead UPS to donate to his campaign.

“I can’t speculate on the company’s motivation beyond saying that the largest employer in Louisville hopes the Congressman is re-elected,” she said.

Overall,

Yarmuth receives donations from tobacco executives

Also of note on Yarmuth’s report were the contributions from five tobacco executives who opened their wallets for Yarmuth last month. That comes just a year after Yarmuth voted for a bill that gave the Federal Drug Administration more control over the tobacco industry.

In a statement, Yarmuth said he supported House Resolution 1256 because of it’s protections.

“I supported the bill because it protects consumers from the deceptive marketing practices of tobacco companies,” Yarmuth said.

Three executives employed by National Tobacco Co., which has an office in Louisville, donated to Yarmuth on June 3. Combined, company attorney James Dobbins, Vice President Ron Tully and CEO Lawrence Wexler donated $2,900 to Yarmuth’s campaign. Tully gave a $2,400 donation, while the other two gave $250 each.

Brian Cooper, president of Tantus Tobacco, and Margarita Dosal, president and chairman of Dosal Tobacco Co., each gave Yarmuth $1,000 donations later in June.

Yarmuth, who is seeking his third term, hasn’t traditionally derived much campaign support from the tobacco industry. For instance, no tobacco company is listed in the top 100 donors to Yarmuth, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tully said the donations of the National Tobacco Co. employees were strictly personal decisions.

“National Tobacco Company doesn’t not contribute to political campaigns,” Tully said. “But employees can donate if they wish to do so themselves.”

When asked about why he decided to donate, Tully said it was because he believed Yarmuth was doing a good job.

“It’s the right thing to do when you think someone is doing a good job,” he said.

Sawyer also described the executive’s donations as personal.

“The contributions you cite came from an event held by a longtime friend of the Congressman,” Sawyer said. “Some of the attendees at the event are employed by tobacco companies.”

Lally internal poll not really internal

Missing from Lally’s campaign report was any mention of RiverCity Polling, whose survey results Lally has repeatedly touted through Twitter and Facebook posts as well as in an item on

An item on Todd Lally's campaign website described an internal poll. But Lally's campaign claims it hasn't paid for such a survey.

Lally’s campaign website.

The polling firm, Lally has claimed, conducted a survey that showed the race between Lally and Yarmuth within the margin of error.

In a posting on his campaign website, the poll is referred to as an internal poll in the first sentence. But Adams said that the poll by RiverCity Polling was “independent” from the campaign.

“We didn’t hire RiverCity Polling,” Adams said.

Yet, Lally’s website still calls the poll “internal.”

Numbers breakdown

Candidate        Cash on hand         Total raised        Total spent    Total raised in July      Total spent in July

Lally                $269,162                $263,628                $110,466                $216,009               $27,658

Yarmuth          $599,471                $993,190              $622,782               $149,023            $100,535

Total in this election cycle, Yarmuth has received nearly $500,000 — which is about half of what he has raised in total — from numerous political action committees spanning health care, unions and teachers. Lally’s PAC donations have come from pilot’s groups. Lally is a UPS pilot.

Yarmuth gave $25,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this cycle.

Notable Lally donors:

  • Anne Northup, former congresswoman from Louisville, $2,400
  • R. Wood Northup, Louisville businessman, $2,4000
  • State Rep. Bob Deweese, R-Louisville, $500
  • Kelly Downard, Louisville Metro councilman and former Republican mayoral candidate, $500
  • Jim Patterson, Louisville businessman and restaurant franchise owner, $3,400
  • David A. Jones, founder of Humana, $2,400

Notable Yarmuth donors:

  • Britt Brockman, Louisville physician and member of the University of Kentucky board of trustees,  $2,400
  • Jim Gardner, vice chairman of the Kentucky Public Service Commission, $1,000
  • Charles Grizzle, lobbyist for the University of Louisville, $500
  • Nicholas Kafoglis, retired Democratic state senator from Bowling Green, $200
  • Tom Halbleib, Stites and Harbison attorney and general counsel for the Blue Grass Airport board, $250

- Kenny Colston

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