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Linda McMahon for Senate catch-all thread


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http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/11...hilia-video.php

 

Connecticut Democrats filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint today against Linda McMahon, her campaign and World Wrestling Entertainment, charging they violated the law by removing racy WWE videos last month.

 

McMahon (R-CT) is one of several candidates hoping to challenge Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) next year. She is the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and wife of WWE principal Vince McMahon.

 

After TPMDC and others posted videos of WWE scenes depicting simulated rape and a wrestler pretending to have sex with a corpse, they were taken down from YouTube.

 

We spoke at the time to WWE's VP of PR and corporate communications, who said accusations the removal had anything to do with politics are false, but Democrats charge the move is equivalent to a campaign contribution from a corporation.

 

"It's an ongoing battle with online piracy," Robert Zimmerman told TPMDC. "It's copyrighted material, it's our intellectual property."

 

He said they "scour" the Internet for their videos and said they go after all of them, not just ones used for political purposes, adding: "We would love to be able to take everything down."

 

But the Democrats suggest that WWE removing the videos is considered an "in-kind corporate contribution" because the corporation did not remove the more than 500,000 videos that also could be considered copyrighted.

 

They have asked the FEC investigate and "impose the maximum fines permitted for such violations."

 

"WWE has selectively enforced its rights only insofar as they benefit Ms. McMahon's candidacy. The facts demonstrate that WWE made expenditures in connection with an election, in clear violation of FECA," the complaint charges. "WWE expended its corporate resources - including the time of Mr. Zimmerman and other corporate personnel, and its attorneys - all used in the service of Ms. McMahon's campaign to force YouTube to remove only the videos that reflected poorly on Ms. McMahon, while ignoring the multitude of other WWE-owned material still hosted on YouTube."

 

McMahon spokesman Ed Patru called the charge a "baseless accusation" and said the campaign has complied with all FEC rules and regulations.

 

"This latest attack from Chris Dodd speaks volumes about just how worried he is about Linda's campaign," Patru said. "Chris Dodd has an enormous credibility problem, and one of the reasons people don't trust him is because of his apparent coordination with AIG executives in which he gave carte blanche to his political supporters instead of regulating them, and then arranged behind closed doors to have them receive millions in taxpayer-funded bonuses. It's troubling that Chris Dodd's political apparatus seems more concerned with watching wrestling videos on the Internet than restoring trust in government."

We've done a new round of calls asking for comment from WWE and will update if they respond.

 

In the meantime, Connecticut Democrats are using the issue for political mileage.

 

"If Linda McMahon is going to talk glowingly about her role as CEO of the WWE, then she also must answer for the kind of female-degrading, sexually-exploitive, steroid-fueled programming it's become known for," said Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party.

 

"And furthermore, she's sorely mistaken if she thinks the WWE can do her dirty work for her as she stays above the fray," DiNardo added. "She might claim to be a different kind of Senator, but Linda McMahon's illegal coordination with the WWE doesn't do anything to bolster that image. If anything, it looks like McMahon has chosen to call in a corporation run by her family to fight her battles for her."

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As I wrote on TPM a while back, the Dems are wasting their time going after Linda. The GOP Meat Grinder will eat here up, regardless of the $$$ she wants to blow on the race. Dems should save their time (and obviously $$$ researching this stuff) for the General Election. If Linda gets through the primary, which she won't, then go after her then. For now, they should just let Linda opponents go after her and eat up their own resources doing it.

 

John

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Does this entire thing blow a hole in the theory that Linda is the sane one in the family?

 

Because I really can't imagine a scenario in which a McMahon of this generation makes it into the senate, regardless of being qualified or not.

 

Maybe it's just me but this whole thing seems no less nutty than the XFL, though at least it's probably less costly.

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I thought it was kind of funny that Linda's people said to focus on the real issues (i.e. not rape or necro pro wres angles). You would think she would prefer superficial stuff like that. It might keep questions like "How did Chris Benoit pass your Wellness tests while having in his body enough testosterone to kill a blue whale?" from being asked.

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I'm really interested in Linda getting to a point where she starts talking about hot-button issues. Let's hear her start talking about gay marriage, abortion rights, immigration, gun control, affirmative action in college admissions, climate change, racial profiling, and welfare. It's easy to say you want fiscal responsibility -- who's going to oppose that? This race will become interesting when Linda starts having to position herself on issues. Many of those topics are issues that directly affect the WWE fanbase, so it will be interesting to see if Linda's opinions are spun as WWE's position on the same issues.

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Shane is the sane one, he left the ship.

And if Shane was helping his Mom with her campaign?

 

Anyway, this is little more than an egofuck. She won't get the nomination. If she does, she'll get her ass kicked in the general. But she won't get the nomination.

 

John

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I'm really interested in Linda getting to a point where she starts talking about hot-button issues. Let's hear her start talking about gay marriage, abortion rights, immigration, gun control, affirmative action in college admissions, climate change, racial profiling, and welfare. It's easy to say you want fiscal responsibility -- who's going to oppose that? This race will become interesting when Linda starts having to position herself on issues. Many of those topics are issues that directly affect the WWE fanbase, so it will be interesting to see if Linda's opinions are spun as WWE's position on the same issues.

 

The question is how she handles questions in general.

 

On some level Vince is such an insane and reluctant interview that people forget that Linda hasn’t been particularly accessible either. I doubt you can find more than six interviews with her this decade. I remember one AP interview and one Gannett one. Both essentially fluff pieces.

 

The narrative of “husband afraid of going to jail for conspiracy to distribute drug charges turning over the CEO position of his company to person with no MBA or management experience” doesn’t really feel like a bio to build a political campaign around.

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That's simply due to Dodd's current negatives. Put "Generic GOP" opposite Dodd and it will do the numbers Linda does.

 

I suspect that if it was Linda vs Dodd with an election in March, Dodd would beat her even with his current negatives. Linda's negatives haven't been exposed.

 

John

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Shane is the sane one, he left the ship.

And if Shane was helping his Mom with her campaign?

This looks extremely doubtful given that Shane was last spotted visiting UFC's headquarters. I'm not sure that's exactly a sane move either. Vince may have just called Jerry McDevitt to have his will rewritten.

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Who said that's the "why" he left.

 

I was only responding to the comment that Shane was the sane one in the family. Since we all seem to agree than Linda's campaign is a delusional egofuck, what does it say about Shane's sanity if among the things he's doing since leaving is helping Mom?

 

Perhaps one can write it off as being loyal to his Mom.

 

John

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Being paid to help dear ol' Mom in her campaign sounds like easy money. I question his sanity a lot more if he decides to work for UFC or invest in UFC and potentially disinherit himself. Given Dana White's no comment about the meeting to his friend Dave Meltzer I don't think he was just popping round to stir the shit.

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I think we bounced around before the notion of Shane "investing" in UFC. I don't think he has the personal wealth to make much of a dent in buying into the business. Shane only owned 43,407 share of Class A common shares back in July, with an additional 90K or so in options. That's not a ton of $$$.

 

He also has 1,862,733 share of Class B shares which are tied up in a Trust. The current value of that is about $29M, which isn't chump change. But it's also likely not easy to extract from the trust. But more than that, how much of Zuffa does anyone think $29M buys? The market cap of the WWE is $1.15B. I'm not going to say Zuffa is worth as much as the WWE. But $500M relative to some other "sports" franchises that are out there?

 

Even factoring in Shane's salary and dividends and years of making money off the WWE, let's say he has $20M liquid and net that he could put together to invest into UFC. What's in it for Shane to buy 4% of Zuffa even if we value it at $500M? What's in it for Fertittas?

 

If the Fertittas are in financial straights because of Station Casinos (which are kind of hosed at the moment), then they might be looking for big cash. $20M is chump change compared to their needs: Station was carrying a $6.5B debt load when filing BK earlier in the year. They also seem to have smartly put Zuffa in its own silo outside of Station, so the BK issues of Station don't really impact Zuffa. It's just a matter of how much Station's issues impact the Fertittas and their need to cash out what is a valuable asset.

 

Perhaps Shane brings along a lot of investors *other* than his own $$$. But at this point, do any of us really think the Fertittas need Shane McMahon to line up high rollers to invest in Zuffa? Doesn't seem likely.

 

Also doesn't seem likely that they need Shane do get a TV deal. I don't think Shane's rep over the years has been as the guy who made the deal to jump to Viacom, and then jump back to USA.

 

John

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Also doesn't seem likely that they need Shane do get a TV deal. I don't think Shane's rep over the years has been as the guy who made the deal to jump to Viacom, and then jump back to USA.

Maybe not domestic TV deals, but Shane was head of WWE's global media department at a time when the company greatly expanded their international business streams. He could be handy in Zuffa's goal of further international expansion if he worked in a similar role for them as he did for WWE, due to all the business contacts he made while working for WWE.

 

I don't disagree with your analysis about Shane investing in Zuffa. It's much less likely to happen, but can't be completely discounted as a possibility, given his desire to invest in other MMA companies in the past.

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Maybe not domestic TV deals, but Shane was head of WWE's global media department at a time when the company greatly expanded their international business streams. He could be handy in Zuffa's goal of further international expansion if he worked in a similar role for them as he did for WWE, due to all the business contacts he made while working for WWE.

That's entirely possible. Not sure how much of that was Shane or other people. As in how much of it was Shane going over to cut deals, or something the staff did under his group. Growth on Int'l TV Rights weren't any better under Shane than they had been prior to him getting put in chage of Global Media. PPV is trickier to track, and it's again a question of how much of that is Shane.

 

 

I don't disagree with your analysis about Shane investing in Zuffa. It's much less likely to happen, but can't be completely discounted as a possibility, given his desire to invest in other MMA companies in the past.

Wouldn't disagree with that. It's just difficult to see why Zuffa would worry about a Shane investment when it's a drop in the bucket of the value of the company, and the Brothers needs with respect to Station if it comes to that.

 

It's akin to giving Shane a vanity investment in Zuffa. The reality is that they could get higher rollers to buy vanity pieces, and ones that are likely quite a bit dumber than Shane is when it comes to investing. Nick Cage could have been an easy mark. :)

 

 

John

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Billy Graham is on the anti Linda bandwagon, probably looking for a payoff.

 

Graham is lucky to be alive after receiving a liver transplant that he needed, he said, because he contracted hepatitis C from the blood of another wrestler.

That's BS isn't it? Wasn't the liver transplant needed due to his decades of drug abuse?

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