It seems like ages ago now, but when current Stephen Colbert punchline Herman Cain was running for the Republican nomination his campaign had to confront a scandal that didn’t involve allegations of sexual harassment.
Documents uncovered by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel showed that a firm run by chain smoking Cain chief-of-staff Mark Block had helped get the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO’s presidential run off the ground by donating iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa to the campaign — all of which would be considered illegal in-kind donations.
The charges came at a convenient time for Cain — the media was mostly focused on the sexual harassment charges — so they mostly managed to brush off the issue by saying they’d opened their own probe into the matter. Who’s running the investigation? They wouldn’t say. How long will it take? Nada.
A few months later, it’s the same story, as TPM found out when we caught up with Block at the National Press Club Tuesday night ahead of Cain’s response on behalf of the Tea Party Express to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. TPM asked when we could expect to see the results of that investigation.
“Soon,” Block said.
Any specific timeframe?
“Soon,” he repeated.
Block also wouldn’t say who’s running the probe, though we might be able to figure that out once the Cain campaign publishes its campaign finance data, due to the Federal Election Commission by Jan. 31.
In theory, the Cain campaign’s own probe of the donations wouldn’t end the matter, as the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the FEC in early November. But the results of that investigation could be months or years down the road.
Meanwhile, Cain and Block are touring the country on behalf of Cain’s super PAC, an entity which also wouldn’t have to disclose its financial backers until Jan. 31.