Holy sh*t!! Vennochi finds Reilly campaign’s fingerprints all over Killer Coke

(Ah, navel-gazing. Nothing so fun. - promoted by Bob)

Globe op-ed columnist Joan Vennochi shows the newsroom guys how it’s done.  Check this out:

[Last week], top Reilly campaign operatives discussed, via e-mail, how to “map out shadow plans for our friend at Killer Coke.” The “friend” is a reference to Ray Rogers, the labor leader who runs a campaign aimed at exposing Coke’s alleged misdeeds around the world.

On Aug. 3, David Guarino, communications director for Reilly for Massachusetts, e-mailed two top Reilly advisers — Will Keyser at Hill Holiday and John Stefanini, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig:

“Subject: Re: “Killer coke” … [you have GOT to go read the whole thing - no point in my reprinting it verbatim --ed.]

Pressed with specifics about the e-mail exchange, Guarino later responded with this, via e-mail: “Given the seriousness of the charges raised by Mr. Rogers, of course we had discussions — which are reflected in the e-mails you’ve been given. In the end, allies of ours spoke with Mr. Rogers to discuss his charges but the campaign decided to keep him at arm’s length. Our campaign decided not to get directly involved in Mr. Rogers’ efforts because we didn’t want him to be seen as a tool of a rival campaign … We believe Mr. Rogers offers a legitimate point of view and raises important questions that Mr. Patrick, as a candidate for Governor, should answer.”

The Reilly campaign certainly has an interesting definition of what it means to keep someone “at arm’s length.” In this campaign, it apparently means setting up a rival’s enemy with PR help and media contacts, and then hiding behind him.

Where to begin?  First, the Reilly campaign basically lied to reporters when asked whether they had any involvement with the Killer Coke campaign.  (Vennochi reports: “Said Guarino: ‘Our campaign has had no involvement with him, that’s the truth.’”)  Second, Ray Rogers now looks an awful lot closer to acting in “coordination” with the Reilly campaign than first appeared, which is yet another strike against him as far as campaign finance regulation is concerned.

Third, and maybe most significantly, this is yet another huge stumble by the Reilly campaign – and unlike the St. Fleuriasco, this one comes pretty close to the primary.  Who is runnning this thing, the Keystone Kops?  For one thing, apparently the place leaks like a sieve.  For another, this bush-league involvement with the one-man Killer Coke show bespeaks a campaign that, apparently, doesn’t have much else to talk about.  Today’s a sad, sad day for the Reilly campaign.

At this time, I find it necessary to borrow an image from our friend Bruce:

Kudos to Joan Vennochi for busting this story wide open.

UPDATE: Bruce does have a remarkable gift for creating eye-catching images.

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60 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Unbelievable stuff.

    This is just too much.  The absurdity of Guarino's "arms length" involvement with the guy is simply stunning.  The emails that Vennochi reprints are damning in the extreme.  Stick a fork in Guarino, he's done.  It'll be very interesting to see how Reilly tries to get this sticky mess off his hands.  In any event, however, he owns it.  It's his campaign and his comm director.  Holy shit is right.  This is pretty shocking stuff.


    • Google David Guarino

      Comes up with this for some background.

    • Just read through the previous post by David

      I knew someone would start asking the pertinent questions. 

      Why is the staff of the chief law enforcer in this state assisting someone who may be breaking campaign finance laws?

      Why is the chief law enforcer in this state unaware of what his staff is doing?  Or, is he unaware?

      Why is the chief law enforcer or his staff willing to risk involvement in illegalities or, for the sake of argument, the appearance of involvement in illegalities?

      How does this reflect on Reilly's ability to deal with potential illegalities?  What steps will he now take to remedy this situation?

      Wink, wink, nod, nod.  Bidness as usual.  Ooops.  Got caught. 

      Thank you Joan. 

      • The timing of this

        should give globe reporters plenty of time to front page this for The Sunday Globe....

      • I can't stop thinking through various scenarios on this

        This keeps coming back to me:

        blockquote Guarino said, ‘‘Our campaign got a call from Ray Rogers to let us know he is coming to town. My understanding is that he called other campaigns.’’ Said Guarino: ‘‘Our campaign has had no involvement with him, that’s the truth.’’ (A spokesman for candidate Christopher Gabrieli said Rogers ‘‘never called here and nobody here has spoken to him.’’) /blockquote

        There's no doubt in my mind that Ray Rogers must have been trying to reach Gab's campaign as well (for equal opportunity Swift Boating).  Could that be where the email came from?  We know that there are people with very close ties to each other on those campaigns (witness the convention and the Reilly t-shirts suddenly voting for Gabs).  There's something nagging at me about this.  There had to have been someone senior in the Reilly camp (or equally senior in the party with access to the Reilly camp)who wanted this to get out.  Who in the Reilly camp or the party has the closest ties to the Gab campaign?  Who would get copied on that email?  Hmmm.

        • PS

          Could someone please tell me why my blockquotes didn't work? 

        • Cui bono?

          Make a lot of sense to me. This gives "Killer Coke" a lot more airplay than it probably would have otherwise gotten (face it, Ray, nobody really cares), thus dirtying Deval. It obviously dirties Reilly a lot.

          So, the question you have to ask yourself is, cui bono?

  2. wow

  3. I just read that and came here to see whether people had caught it.

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

  4. Killer Coke, indeed

    The conspiracy to defeat Tom Reilly apparently reaches deep into his own campaign.

    Hmmmm...wonder where Frank Phillips got his story about Killer Coke?

    Ironic that the beneficiary of this latest Reilly campaign SNAFU is most likely the guy Tom left at the altar in favor of Marie St. Fleur. 

  5. Unbelievable!

    UNBELIEVABLE ... what were they thinking using email for that type of exchange.  I'm a novice at this stuff but even I know that once you hit SEND you have NO control where that message goes.  That forward button is just too attractive for some folks. 

    • Indeed --

      How did the Globe get those e-mails I wonder...

      • Good Question ---

        My guess is that The Globe got those emails from someone who is publicly supporting Reilly because he/she feels they have to but secretly hoping Reilly doesn't win for whatever reason...how do you think that makes someone feel?  Publicly supporting someone you don't believe in?  Not so good I'm sure - so what do you do - you slip the information to the press to expose it and keep secretly hoping the candidate your publicly supporting loses.  You know the saying - With friends like that who needs enemies.

  6. For the love of Dukakis

    The freakin' blimp doesn't even say that Reilly's a democrat. :-P

    Stick a fork in him, folks.  He's done.

  7. Will this article be in the Saturday print edition?

    I read the Globe Friday, the day Vennochi's column is dated, and it was not in the paper.  Furthermore, there was no note on the op-ed page referring to any online column.  There usually is if a regular writer is not included in the print edition.  So . . . will it be in Saturday's paper?

    • OMG

      I just KNEW it. I knew Reilly's campaign was THAT STUPID. After St. Fleur, what did people expect? They'd suddenly get smart? Well, folks, you can't fix stupid.

      Reilly is toast indeed. He CLEARLY doesn't deserve to be governor. That's a serious ethical violation indeed.

  8. Killer Coke is a legitimate issue. The voters really don't care about inside campaign tactics.

    The story  should be right in front of the voters  in every aspect including the good , the bad and the ugly about the campaign tactics of insiders. Karl Rove never won a popularity contest,  but did win elections.

    Joan Vennochi is truly doing the Reilly campaign a favor by making note of the sideshow of Reilly supporters and campaign strategists who simply want to exploit a real issue to the advantage of their candidate. Politics is not bean ball.  Please BMG bloggers, I am begging you. Don't quit on this one. Maybe with 1000 posts crying like babies over the purported sleazy thinkers at Reilly headquarters , John Keller may pick it up and go into detail about the story on the evening news.

    Deval's "ALTRUISM FOR SALE " track record is a valid issue and should be explained in more detail. The  background of his $2.2 shakedown of Coke, or the slippery Texaco story in either a Keller interview or a debate forum are legitimate questions no matter what purported sleazy operatives are involved.

    With the Big Dig, Israel, and terrorists plots now monopolizing the evening news, Deval, without money, is  desperate for some TV face time. But,to explain Killer Coke is not what he really wants, especially, the last four weeks when at least 70% of the voters start making decisions .

    By the way, has he resigned from Ameriquest ?


    • Neither One Matters

      Unless there is a direct link between Mr. Reilly and Killer Coke, this is a story about his campaign staff, not about him.  No impact. 

      As far as the "issue" goes, the predicate is that a lot of voters will be moved by a belief that Coca-Cola is an evil company that that anyone who used to work there is therefore bad.  Coke is probably the most popular consumer product in the United States.  The argument has no traction with the general public, and Mr. Killer Coke will be preceived either as a special interest agitator or a nut.

      • Reilly Does Not Know What His Own Staff Is Doing?

        Yes, that's the man to lead our commonwealth into the future! Soaring like the Hindenburg!

      • It matters if it gets any legs on TV . Patrick wants positive impressions

        on the Tube. He does not want anything controversial, even if it is partially believable. I agree that it is not a story unless the BMG's dems shoot themselves in the foot which is typical.

        • My feet are OK, thanks

          Just finished a six mile run, actually. Although I did break my ankle in a motorbike accident last spring. Anyway, I didn't know there was such a creature as a "BMG Dem," what/who do you think they are?

      • no way

        "Unless there is a direct link between Mr. Reilly and Killer Coke, this is a story about his campaign staff, not about him.  No impact."

        Well, that's just wrong. What goes on in his campaign does indeed reflect on the candidate, showing what kinds of folks he surrounds himself with.

        If Reilly acts decisively, he may cauterize the wound, though not heal it -- but I'm not holding my breath, either.

        • Reilly has to go!

          After SO MANY mistakes on a campaign trail, ineffectiveness on Big Dig oversight and recovery efforts, and finally after this latest "mistake" of letting his people play politics in its dirtiest form, how can we trust this guy to successfully run our state? Plain and simple - he has to go!

      • Matters Tremendously

        Reilly's missteps early on hurt him a lot.  First, Marie St. Fleur?  That was just a debacle.  Second, his interference in trying to suppress the fact that the death of two Northboro girls was the result of drunk driving?  May not have gotten much play inside 128, but it sure did out here in Worcester county.

        Now this unnecessary and cowardly stuff?  This is lose/lose for Reilly.  This is what he has:

        a) Explanation #1: My staff got a little randy and carried away. 

        Response:  Haven't you made it clear what your values and expectations are from your staff?  If you did, you didn't do a good job.  Either your communications skills are poor or your judgment is poor--or both.  At any rate, this is strike 3--you're OUT! 

        b) Explanation #2:  I simply had NO idea!!

        Response:  Uh, so you're the CEO of this campaign, you don't know what your communications director is doing on your behalf?  Strikes me that you're out of touch, too hands-off, and don't have good judgment in choosing your staff.  Again, not governor material.  Your toast.

        The other candidates only have to mention some key phrases here to make the point without having to mention Killer Coke once:  Tom Reilly has poor judgment.  Tom Reilly is a poor communicator.  Tom Reilly has trouble respecting the boundaries of sound ethics.  When Reilly's people challenge on these, then out it comes:  Killer Coke, St. Fleur, and the Murphy sisters in Northboro. 

    • Nice try, but, you're wrong.

      1) The "Deval worked for big, bad corporations" story HAS been in front of voters since day one.  He has never refused to address this aspect of his background.  He did pinpoint it early on as the part of his record that opposing candidates were likely to go after when they saw themselves losing support.  Knowing that they would try to turn it into an issue, he has been very proactive about answering questions and explaining his role.

      2) The "Killer Coke" message is about the multinational Coca-Cola corporation, not about Deval Patrick.  This guy from NYC is a hired gun who will take his road show wherever he is paid to go.  He is trying to show a link between his freestanding hatred for Coca-Cola and the Patrick candidacy because he is being paid to do so.  John Bonifaz, who represented the labor organizers in the dispute with Coke, has already said that Deval was part of the solution, not part of the problem.

      3) Vennochi doing Reilly a favor?  By putting a spotlight on the sleazy people with whom he has surrounded himself?  (To DaveS's comment - Reilly has shown that he can't choose a good campaign staff, so this IS linked to him.  Choosing smart, honest assistants is important in a Governor or any administrator.)  Is she doing him a favor by demonstrating the desperation of a campaign that can't sell its candidate and must try to manufacture bad p.r. for other candidates?  Will he be grateful that she has raised the issue of a serious, coordinated conspiracy to violate OCPF rules?

      4) Voters do care about inside campaign tactics, when they illuminate the character of the people involved.  Sometimes they care more about the tactics than the issues, unfortunately.  For the reasons listed above, this foolish tactic has turned into an issue now.  And the issue is not about Deval Patrick.

      Like I said, "Nice try." 

      • correction

        John Bonifaz, who represented the labor organizers in the dispute with Coke, has already said that Deval was part of the solution, not part of the problem.

        The Bonifazes were representatives of the indiginous peoples from Ecuador who sued Texaco. Different case.

        • Thanks, my mistake. n/t

        • Good, can Bonafaz update us on the results of the case? I have some questions:

          As you know I have had serious questions about Texaco's 2 Billion dollar liabilty which aren't getting answered:

          1) The case is somewhere between 7 to 12 years old, the evidence being that defenders of Deval point to a letter he wrote 7 years ago defending Texaco and sending the case back to Equador.

          Please fill us in how justice has been accomplished for the Indigenous Tribes of the Amazon basin?

          Deval sounded so confident in that letter,  that Equador was the proper venue for the case, and his defenders insist this wasn't part of some corporate shell game to stall the case and shift it to a venue with only shell assets. So again, seven years later, do we have any results, damages or cleanup in this $2 billion dollar case?

          Somehow I don't think we'll be getting responses from either Patrick or Bonafaz...  Prove me wrong.  Surrogates don't count...

      • $quot;This guy from NYC is a hired gun who will take his road show wherever he is paid to go.$quot;

        Seen his office? He doesn't exactly look like he's too concerned about his personal revenue.

    • Oh Please

      You can spin it anyway you want, but the fact is that laws have allegedly been broken here. If a campaign is involved in breaking those laws, it's not just a "oh there you go again" moment. We're not just being attack dogs ourselves for making sure the story is set straight; we're investigating to see just how far the story goes.

  9. Message

    I think actually the end of David's post sums it up: You've got all these folks in the Reilly campaign worried about how to coordinate a slam on another candidate with some two-bit heckraiser in NY. It's not even clever or effective as a political hit campaign. Guarino is truly the Jeff Gillooly of MA politics: can't even handle the crowbar effectively.

    And the Reilly campaign still has trouble making the case to the public as to why Tom Reilly should be your governor. It really is a sign of desperation -- of a lack of confidence in one's ability to convince people on the merits. Pathetic -- and even more pathetic because it's so unnecessary.

  10. My, My... why?

    The one positive thing heard most often about Reilly is that he's a good guy, a decent person, despite his less than stellar results as A.G. handling the Big Dig and Catholic church scandals.  Guarino, his campaign communications director, has shown himself to be an incompetent, Swift-boater wannabe.  Reilly is tainted by association, and his "decency" may also be called into question.  There is no getting around the fact.

  11. Justice League Assemble?

    So is this incident going to rouse the mighty ire of the Johnston-Dukakis Anti-Attack Panel?

    • Don't they have to prove the $quot;Killer Coke$quot; charges are FALSE first?

      I'm not seeing alot of content regarding IF the charges themselves are TRUE or FALSE. 

      I see alot of content about the "claims of OCPF violations" in delivering the content, but not about the veracity of the content (charge)...

      • What charges?

        I've read Killer Coke's website (if you haven't, I recommend it) and read their schpeel in the Globe, and honestly I can't tell what they're accusing Deval of exactly, except for working for Coke in a high level position during a time in which a labor union leader at a bottling plant in South America was murder by...someone.  Bearing in mind the bottling plant was not Coke's bottling plant, but more of an independent contractor.

        You'd think Deval tracked down the union leader and killed him himself.  So far this whole thing is nothing but politically motivated insinuation that I am, as always, surprised people take seriously.

      • Mighty Ire

        I'm just saying, I want to see some wrists get slapped to the extreme!

  12. As a Republican . . .

    . . . I am happy to see Democrats ripping each other apart.  The best candidate for the Republican party, as I have implied on this site before, is Deval Patrick.  So, in a way, the Reilly leak is a pro-Republican story.  I am certainly pro-Deval as the Democratic candidate.  Of course, he does not stand a chance against Kerry, who obviously will win.  (I would gather that most on this site would agree that at the end of the day Kerry Healey will be governor).

    Deval Patrick would be an excellent Attorney General.  I am sure that he would garner Republican support for that office.  It is a shame that he did not make a bid for that office.

    • I think you're mixed up lol

      You would "gather that most on this site would agree that at the end of the day Kerry Healey will be governor?"

      Wow, you're delusional. Not only is she a weak candidate, but that's just about all people on this forum are talking about. What, were you confused for a second and thought you were on Hub Politics? ROFL.

      Someone who could be so wrong on perceptions seriously needs to reevaluate things like who they think will win Governor and why.

      • Reading carefully is important.

        I would "gather that most on this site would agree that at the end of the day Kerry Healey will be governor?"

        Liberals will support liberal candidates, knock on doors, hold signs, etc., but, to think that Massachusetts citizens will vote for a Democratic governor is (as you put it) delusional.  The Democratic leadership in the General Court has proven time and time again that it is set to spend this state into ruin.  The most recent example being the Economic Stimulus Bill overrides.  Thus, while most on this site want a Dem' to be in the corner office, most also realize that Kerry Healey will win.

        • You must be speaking in tongues.

          I could swear you said something like "most" readers of this site "realize that Kerry Healey will win."  Heh.  I needed a good laugh - thanks!

        • I thoroughly disagree

          I don't know very many people who think Kerry Healey will win "at the end of the day."

          I'm not delusion, I love politics regardless of WHO wins - even if it isn't my candidate, it's still interesting.

          However, the fact remains that Kerry Healey is getting crushed in the polls, facing an third challenger who was a Republican who's likely to siphon off at least 5-10% of the final tally (and most of those votes will come from her camp). Furthermore, two of the Democratic candidate are in excellent shape to mount serious challenges against her. Deval has a people-powered army - and people-powered armies are quite powerful indeed (just look at Connecticut). He also is in decent financial shape and will be in even better shape if he wins the primary. Gabs, for his part, is a decent mix of liberal and moderate and will certainly have the money to compete with Healey - if not hold an outright money advantage.

          So to just assume that Kerry Healey is going to walk into victory because Massachusetts likes Republican governors is rediculous. Eventually, parties have to lose control at some point and Kerry Healey has terrible political timing: preceding a very unpopular governor who will be stealing all her thunder as he runs for President.

          Things aren't looking pretty for Kerry Healey and she knows it - that's why she's already airing TV ads.

          • Isn't it it the case

            That the polls are showing that out of all the Dems, Patrick kicks Healey's butt the most?

            Correct me if I'm wrong...

        • Of course...

          You have poll numbers to back this up?

  13. Right side of the fence view ...

    zzzzzzzzz ...

    First, Reilly is a political weakling, so even if he and/or his campaign had everything to do with coordinating with Rogers, it probably will have little, if any, impact on the dynamics of primary voting.  The whole affair, assuming it's serious enough to call it even that, is more a symptom of the wet-noodle Reilly persona than a fatal blow to a viable candidate, i.e., "that's so typical..."

    Second, the whole Killer Coke thing is plain silly.  Anyone who thinks DP's involvement with Coke may impact his campaign overestimates the strength of anti-Coke sentiment among normal democratic primary voters.

    Well, maybe not BMG progressives.  (Didn't someone post they stopped drinking Coke after surfing the Killer Coke website?)

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