The mystery has been solved. Everybody’s been wondering why black school board member Karen Johnson voted with her four white colleagues for rezoning students. The Tennessean
wrote an entire article puzzling
over this question, pointing out inexplicably that Johnson is fond of wearing red lipstick and pearls. Then Sunday, Johnson gave her own reasons
in a Tennessean
Funny, she didn’t mention all those election campaign contributions she’s taken from business PACs. It added up to $10,500—almost two-thirds of what she raised altogether for her 2006 campaign.
Johnson took $2,500 from the Chamber of Commerce’s Success PAC, $5,000 from the Excellence for Public Education PAC and $3,000 from the Fund for Nashville Families PAC. David Fox, another key vote on the school board for the rezoning plan, took $10,000 from two of these PACs.
These PACs, despite their inspiring names, are actually merely fronts for extremely wealthy business people and convenient ways to circumvent contribution limits.
The rich guys can dump enormous, unlimited sums of cash into the PACs, which in turn give to the candidates. The law limits PAC contributions to $5,000 for each candidate, so the PACs give big donations to each other in a kind of shell game, and then they all give to the same candidates. That way, Johnson could take $10,500 from essentially the same rich guys. Health care executive Thomas Cigarran and Orrin Ingram of Ingram Industries are probably the biggest donors to these three PACs.
It’s all legal but possibly embarrassing if an enterprising young reporter like myself takes the time to rummage around in the files at the Election Commission and then posts a little story about it on a blog like this one.
: On her blog
, Johnson slaps Jerry Maynard.