The grand irony of Herman Cain's latest political act is that one scandal canceled out another scandal. The very same day that Politico broke the story of Cain's National Restaurant Association-era sexual harassment complaints, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story about Prosperity USA. The PAC was founded by Cain's future campaign manager Mark Block, and it owed money by Herman Cain's exploratory committee. You're not allowed to shuffle money like that between independent PACs and campaign organizations.
On Friday, the Friends of Herman Cain group (the exploratory committee) filed a report detailing its debts to Block's old PAC. Politico's Ken Vogel explains:
Cain’s presidential campaign committee on Jan. 20 paid $14,779 to Prosperity USA for lodging, transportation and meals and $4,064 to Wisconsin Prosperity Network for office equipment and furniture.
The FEC report also shows that the campaign paid $4,800 to a charter air service — Hill Aircraft & Leasing of Atlanta — that Prosperity USA paid to transport Cain.
This is one of those stories that drip-drip-drips at a pace that makes molasses look like quicksilver. "Let me tell ya," laughed Block when I asked about the story. "The FEC... they probably won't have anything until after the election."
Still, if Cain is serious about keeping up his role as a conservative/Tea Party leader, he'll have to keep dealing with the FEC. He may, eventually, have to explain a fine. According to Block, it was all getting worked out.
"We hired two independent counsels, paid for by Friends of Herman Cain, hired to give us their recommendations on what was written in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel," he said. "We've responded to the FEC on the complaint that was filed against us. Now, your next question will be about Politico. What was in the Politico article yesterday was in response to our compliance with the FEC. The independent counsel had made suggestions for amending our FEC report, which we did, which was filed, and we took care of anything that could have been perceived as wrong."