Sure, we understand how well meaning concerned citizens in these parts would make contributions to Congressman Tim Bishop. After all, he's always talked the talk environmentalists want to hear: protecting our beaches and our drinking water, keeping our bays clean, assuring the health of our wildlife, etc.
He's done a great job of hitching his horse to the Thiele, LaValle, Cathy Lester, Schneiderman environmentalist bandwagon.
It must have pained those who made good faith donations to Bishop to find out he was paying his daughter, Molly, a small fortune to raise funds for him – this was not a professional fundraiser with an impressive resume, but a neophyte daddy funneled funds to.
Now we find out Bishop has been forking over campaign funds to lawyers since April trying to short circuit a House of Representatives Ethics Committee probe – and not a word about it to his adoring public.
When Eric Semler, a well-connected hedge fund manager, told Bishop he wanted a Grucci fireworks display from his Sagaponack oceanfront home to celebrate his son's Bar Mitzvah, he had cache – he did business with Robert X. Sillerman. Sillerman was accused of pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars of soft money into Bishop's campaigns, and paying the college tuition for Bishop's daughters. Sillerman, not coincidentally, was running Southampton College while Bishop was giving family members jobs – in some cases over more qualified, and more needy, locals. In fact, Sillerman has been called Bishop's "rabbi."
So Bishop's camp did what it always does when fingers get snapped – his underlings went about securing the necessary fireworks permits despite the fact that a piping plover nest was yards from Semler's house.
Of course the Liberal press looked the other way. The East Hampton Star called Bishop's favor, "routine." Really? Keep in mind the rest of us can't even walk near an active plover nest let alone set off a barrage of explosives.
Bishop, ever greedy, wasn't content to kowtow. He had Molly send Semler an email requesting a $10,000 donation – before he arranged for the necessary permits to be granted. Bishop said it was Semler who asked to make a donation – except Semler denied that, and we have his email complaining Bishop was shaking him down. Those are irrefutable facts.
Of course, a Congressional Ethics probe is a not a judiciary event – it's a game U.S. Congressmen play to feign outrage over practices most of them engage in. Witness the slap on the wrist to Charles Rangel, who many people think should be in jail.
Bishop says he welcomes the probe — then why didn't he let his constituents know it was underway? There is not a word about it on his website.
The Ethics Committee may slap him on the wrist or absolve him, but the U.S. Justice Department could well be in the midst of a criminal probe. Regardless, the Semler, Sillerman, Bishop triangle has more mystery to it than the Bermuda Triangle.
Perhaps telling, Bishop attended a fundraiser Saturday, reportedly attended by Nancy Pelosi – to raise more money for his legal team, no doubt. Fittingly, it was at Sillerman's oceanfront mansion. We can only hope there were no piping plovers nearby – the stench of this sordid affair would be enough to cause serious damage to their delicate nervous systems.