Should be interesting to see how much pickup this little story gets.
Apparently Mike Huckabee backers raised a reported $111,000 during a ministers’ conference hosted by Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Newark, Texas. This could be problematic for two reasons. One is that televangelist Kenneth Copeland is currently under investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley and the Senate Finance Committee for, among other things, allegedly taking a $2 million gift from a ministers’ conference last year. The other is that Huckabee could be violating FEC regulations by raising money from or through a tax-exempt organization.
Both Huckabee’s people and Copeland’s say this is all above board, fair game, etc. The campaign released a statement saying it rented a room for "a separate event that was hosted by a private individual" unrelated to Copeland’s ministry. A Copeland spokesman told the AP that "[n]o offering was or has been taken for any political candidate by Kenneth Copeland Ministries or at a KCM event."
But then there’s the whole guilt by association thing. Copeland says he’d rather die than open up the group’s accounting books to the Senate committee. The money, he says in one of his many unhinged rants, "belongs to God." (The video is well worth your while.) According to Copeland, Huckabee's behind him all the way. Here’s his much-quoted account of what Huckabee told him when they spoke on the phone:
"Are you kidding me? Why should I stand with them [U.S. senators ] and not stand with you ? They only got 11 percent approval rating." And then he said, then he said, "Kenneth Copeland, I will stand with you." He said "You’re trying to get prosperity to the people, and they [the senators ] are trying to take it away from ' em." He said "I will stand with you anytime anywhere on any issue." That settled that right there. I said, "Yeah. That’s my man. That’s my man right there," Copeland said.
A spokeswoman for Huckabee confirmed that the two men spoke on the phone, but has yet to confirm Copeland's account of their conversation, to us or to anyone else. The story is getting plenty of attention on the blogs. But I doubt it will gain real traction until a candidate *cough* Romney *cough* seizes on it.
Hey look, there's a debate tonight.