Hillary a Hot Ticket

THE Senator Hillary Clinton fundraiser in Dublin on November 17 will surely attract the great and the good of Dublin society. It will be limited to 100 people or 50 couples, and the scramble for tickets is bound to be intense.

It is not necessarily limited to just paying guests. What will likely happen is that many Irish citizens will know Americans who either work with them or are friends, and they will get them to contribute to the fundraiser and go as their free guests. Given the number of Americans working in Ireland that will hardly be all that difficult.

The fundraiser will be held on the south side in the Dublin 4 area, and the house party will be hosted by an Irishman and his wife who lived in America for many years and returned back home where they both have been very successful.

Interest in the event in Ireland is already intense, with huge media coverage certain. Former President Bill Clinton is a relatively frequent visitor to Ireland, but there has never been a fundraiser for an American candidate in Ireland so it will be a first.

Speaking of Clinton supporters, there will also be an Irish event this week, on Friday in Iowa, at the Irish Settlement in Madison County outside Des Moines.

The tireless Stella O'Leary will be doing the heavy lifting for this one, which is expected to launch an Irish campaign for the candidate in the key first state.

There was almost a last minute hiccup over whether or not the legal issues which surround all such events were cleared up, but happily for Irish American Democrats it was resolved. The head of the Friends of Ireland in Congress, Congressman Richie Neal, will be present.

JFK's Pay Day

SPEAKING of fundraising, Ted Sorensen came out last week and announced that if President John F. Kennedy were alive today he would want Senator Barack Obama as president.

The Obama campaign was only too happy to take the endorsement of the last non-family survivor of JFK's inner circle.

Obama would hardly get away with the JFK fundraising tactics, however, in the modern era. If you think politics is a game seeded by money today, consider what old Joe Kennedy was up to back in 1960 when his son was running for the White House.

West Virginia was the key state that JFK had to win to prove that a Catholic could become president. The state was 95% Protestant and suspicious of Catholics.

Old Joe decided that a good way to ensure support was to give handouts to the many Protestant ministers who held sway over their congregations.

Years later writer Peter Maass discovered how it was done and gave an interview about it.

"For example, if Boston area churches had collected $950,000 on a particular Sunday from collections, Joe would write a check for $1 million to the diocese, deduct it as a charitable contribution, and receive the $950,000 in cash.

"Thus, in this example, the church got a contribution of $50,000, Joe could deduct the entire amount on his income tax, and he could use the money to pay off politicians without fear that it would be traced.

"The cash is untraceable," Maas said. "Part of the money goes to the diocese. He gets a contribution from Joe Kennedy for more than what the cash is. It's brilliant. Nobody can trace the money."

In 1966, Cardinal Richard Cushing admitted that he had played a role in making payoffs to ministers. He told Hubert Humphrey, "I'll tell you who elected Jack Kennedy. It was his father, Joe, and me, right here in this room."

Cushing explained that he and Joe decided which Protestant ministers should receive "contributions" of $100 to $500. As Cushing described the tactic, "It's good for the church, it's good for the preacher, and it's good for the candidate."

It was certainly all that - but it sure shows up the different way politics was done then. Joe Kennedy knew the system was rigged against him as a Catholic and he took corrective action.

GOAL Raises Over $1 Million

GOAL USA's 19th annual ball last Friday was a record-breaking night, celebrating 30 years of operation and raising a phenomenal $1 million for the poorest of the poor in 11 countries.

The money raised represents a 50% increase on proceeds from last year's ball. GOAL founder and CEO, John O'Shea, who flew in for the event to act as keynote speaker, described the event as "an overwhelming success." He was introduced on the night by legendary tennis player and GOAL USA President Mats Wilander, who later auctioned off a game of tennis with the pro himself to the highest bidder in the room.

The ball raises funds to support GOAL's humanitarian work in the developing world. The live auction alone took in $358,000 with dinner guests bidding on items ranging from a South African safari, and a wine tasting holiday in Italy.

Afterwards auctioneer Michael Saperstein asked guests to dig deep to fund a GOAL housing project in Uganda. In the end, enough money was raised to built 32 houses for HIV/AIDS affected Ugandan orphans.