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Jim Matheson and Vinson & Elkins – What’s The Connection?

International law firm Vinson & Elkins has been best known as the place where disgraced former U.S. Attorney Alberto Gonzales began his legal career, and as a legal firm connected to the Enron scandal. Vinson & Elkins may come back into the spotlight again, however, as the 2010 congressional campaign season enters full gear, bringing extra scrutiny to unethical connections between industry and members of Congress.

Searching through FEC disclosures, That’s My Congress has found that Vinson & Elkins partners made a rather concentrated burst of political contributions to Blue Dog Congressman Jim Matheson last year.

First, on May 13, 2009, Vinson & Elkins attorney Jeff Chapman made a contribution to Matheson’s 2010 re-election campaign. Then, eleven days later, all of a sudden, seven partners from Vinson & Elkins gave money to the Matheson campaign.

It’s against the law for companies to coordinate political contributions by their employees, but it seems that Vinson & Elkins made such coordinated donations to Jim Matheson last year. Why would the law firm (also a federally registered lobbying firm) do so? The lawyers of Vinson & Elkins are not constituents of Congress Matheson. Matheson represents the 2nd district of Utah, whereas the lawyers from Vinson & Elkins who donated to Matheson all live in Texas.

Who organized the coordinated donations from Vinson & Elkins? Did Jim Matheson or his staff know about what appears to be an illegal group of corporate donations? Given their need to organize campaign finance information, how could the staff of Matheson’s re-election campaign not be aware of what was going on?

5 thoughts on “Jim Matheson and Vinson & Elkins – What’s The Connection?”

  1. Ross says:

    Very interesting. Is anyone looking into it?

    1. Peregrin Wood says:

      No, as far as I can see, no one is looking into this at all. I don’t even think it’s been noticed before today.

      1. Ross says:

        Can’t tell if that’s snark or not. But I meant looking into it further than this.

        1. Peregrin Wood says:

          No, not meant to be snark at all. It definitely merits looking into more, and I’d love to see someone doing that. In fact, I’m worried that journalists, the FEC and other appropriate parties aren’t already scouring this sort of thing.

  2. ramone says:

    hey, it’s not coordinated, it’s just a coincidence they all happened to give donations. everybody just loves “the beaver”. jim matheson is the guy who played “the beaver”, isn’t he? oh, that was jerry mathers, never mind.
    🙂

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