Friday, November 4, 2011

Does the former CEO of the National Restaurant Association with ties to Romney campaign know more than he is saying?

On Tuesday I broke the story that a Romney supporter, the subsequent C.E.O. of the National Restaurant Association after Herman Cain likely had access to inside information about the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain.

Given a piece of news today about the timing of settlement, the likelihood Steven C. Anderson had knowledge of at least one of the settlements is extremely high.

According to information at the National Restaurant Association Steven C. Anderson took over at the National Restaurant Association in September 1999.  According to Joel Bennett, per CBS News, attorney for one of the women who received a settlement, the settlement agreement was executed in September 1999, the same month Steven C. Anderson took over as C.E.O.  It would be highly unusual to take charge as the executive without knowledge of recent or impending litigation status.

Steven C. Anderson claims no knowledge

A reporter took my advice and followed up with Steven C. Anderson.  According to the Boston Globe:

"Chris Krese, a spokesman for Steven Anderson, told the Globe, 'He has not commented about this story because he didn’t have knowledge of the allegations when he was president and CEO of the (National Restaurant Association). He didn’t have knowledge of it so he obviously couldn’t have provided the story to the media or anyone, and he didn’t provide the story to the media or anyone.'”

I tend to take people at their word when their explanation is plausible, so I left it alone for a few days.

So does Steven C. Anderson know more than he is saying?

He has to know more.

Set aside the exact timing in September of him taking office at the National Restaurant Association for a few moments and find some description of his role when he came aboard:

According to an August 30, 1999 article in Nation's Restaurant News Steven C. Anderson was well versed in his new role when he took office in September 1999:

"Anderson now is learning the ropes at the NRA. Since the announcement of his appointment in late May, he has spent much of the summer in conducting an organizational audit of the group and talking With the board's leadership. He also has visited the Educational Foundation and attended a meeting of the International Society of Restaurant Association Executives.

In early August he moved his personal effects -- pictures of his children, several photos of past presidents wishing him well and framed articles chronicling his career -- into his new corner office. He now is collecting the war stories of senior staff members behind closed doors. In September he will tackle budget issues. After assessing the necessity and effectiveness of programs that are now in place, he will begin to make changes, he said." (emphasis added)

Once again, as I said on Tuesday:

"Reporters should follow-up with Mr. Anderson to discern his knowledge.  At the least he likely knows the short list of people with inside knowledge about the sexual harassment allegations."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cain claims Perry adviser is behind the leak of the harassment scandal to Politico

And I do not buy it. 

UPDATE 4:50 11/3/11:  A number of sources are already reporting that the Campaign manager for Herman Cain has accepted the explanation of Curt Anderson.  Good job dialing back quickly guys.

In an interview with Forbes, Herman Cain states in clear terms he believes former aide Curt Anderson is the source of the harassment scandal leak to Politico on Sunday evening.  In support of this, Mr. Cain identifies a private conversation he had with Anderson in preparation for 2004 Senate run.  The following factors weigh in favor of Curt Anderson being the source.  He probably knew something about the scandals and he switched sides during the Presidential race.

There are a few items that suggest it was not actually Curt Anderson

1. Curt Anderson denies the conversation took place.  This denial should generally be ignored due to its self serving nature, but if he were lying there are so many better lies to concoct, than simply “I never knew.”

2. According to Politico they saw documentation describing the allegations and showing their resolution.  This would have had to come from someone in possession of the documents.

3. According to Herman Cain in the Forbes article “When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him.”
All of this makes sense if there was an opposition briefing that Anderson forgot, and the real source was someone else, a National Restaurant Association insider.

Leads from the Romney camp?

Anyone have reasonable leads somewhere else?

Rush Limbaugh quoting Northern Virginia Lawyer?

Wherein Rush Limbaugh quotes directly from my blog:

Interesting day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Former President of National Restaurant Association has Ties to the Mitt Romney Campaign

UPDATE: 11/2/11 ~ 18:50 Why I do not believe it was Curt Anderson from the Perry Camp, despite Herman Cain's accusation. 

UPDATE: 11/4/11 16:00 Steven C. Anderson may know more than he has suggested: 

Based on a suggestion from a local blogger to look into political donors on the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association for potential ties to presidential campaigns, I have attempted to identify anyone privy to inside information about the National Restaurant Association who also has recent ties to any presidential campaign.

According to the October 2011 FEC report for ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT INC. a gentlemen named Steven C. Anderson gave $1,000.00 on July 14, 2011.  FEC search function here.

Steven C. Anderson is the same gentlemen who took over the helm as Chief Executive Officer at the National Restaurant Association (after a brief intermission) upon Herman Cain's departure in 1999.  As CEO it is highly likely he would have been privy to details of litigation and threats about litigation from the immediately previous tenure of Herman Cain.

There is little more than a coincidence between the support for Mitt Romney and the likelihood that Mr. Anderson knows the background of the sexual harassment threats.  Nonetheless, watchers of this scandal endlessly pontificate about whether President Obama or a rival campaign is the driving force behind the bombshell story that appeared in the Politico on Sunday. 

Reporters should follow-up with Mr. Anderson to discern his knowledge.  At the least he likely knows the short list of people with inside knowledge about the sexual harassment allegations.

~23:15 11/1/11 UPDATE: Apparently as this post has taken on a life of its own I need to clarify a few things.

1. This truly is the exact same Steven C. Anderson at the same address that gave donations while at the National Restaurant Association in the early 2000’s.

2. I have purposefully not listed his address, and made it slightly difficult to find.  There is an error in the FEC database that leads to a mistaken link for those who dig deeper.  Rest assured he made the donation.

3. He may not be the source.  If he is not, then he likely knows the short list of people who could have been the source.

Lastly, do not forget to follow @ppradoslaw on Twitter as I broadcast to thousands of conservatives libertarians, and a handful of patient moderates, democrats, and progressives.