Mark Pryor Seeks Appointment for Contributor Friend Who Auctions Senate Internship to Pornographer
As you likely know, Senator Mark Pryor is the son of Senator David Pryor. Apparently when you’re the son of someone important, you cross paths with the kids of other important folks, and this may be where Pryor the younger first crossed paths with Chad Brownstein. Chad Brownstein is the son of Norm Brownstein, uber lobbyist, and according to Senator Mark Udall, “the 101st Senator.”
Why does Senator Mark Pryor’s connection to Chad Brownstein matter? For the purpose of this post it matters because Senator Pryor in 2009, after noting “that I have known Chad for many years” recommended him for a position on the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. If you’re not familiar with the Homeland Security Advisory Council, it’s charge is to:
“provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on matters related to homeland security. The Council comprises leaders from state and local government, first responder communities, the private sector, and academia.”
The Council’s members include Governors, Mayors, Chiefs of Police, cyber security experts and the like. The resumes of the members are quite impressive.
Chad Brownstein’s resume on the other hand, while certainly indicating that he has done well in the investment banking community, shows no homeland security experience. In attempting to find a way to shoe-horn his well-heeled friend onto an advisory board at DHS, Senator Pryor notes that
his friend is “an advisor to the National Science Foundation’s Partnership Through Innovation Program. He also serves as a member of the executive committee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Governor’s Science and Technology Commission for the State of Colorado. He is one of the trustees of the Board of the Yitzchak Rabin Center in Israel.”
These all seem like very interesting positions, but being a bigwig at AIPAC and being on a bunch of boards because your dad is a muckety-muck in no way makes you qualified to advise the Secretary of Homeland Security.
If the fact that Pryor couldn’t come up with a better reason for appointing Brownstein wasn’t evidence enough that Brownstein didn’t belong on the Council, what happens later surely is.
In what can only be characterized as a spectacular error of judgment, Brownstein decided to auction off an internship in Pryor’s office. Without asking him. To a pornographer.
When the internship didn’t fetch the $15,000 Brownstein listed it for, the creator of Girls Gone Wild snapped it up for a paltry $2500 and proceeded to make it part of the prize package in his “Search for the Hottest Girl in America" contest. If you’re unclear on how a young lady would win one of these contests, you haven’t been watching enough late night VHF television.
At this point, Senator Pryor’s office had no idea what was going on and asked the FBI to investigate who might be impersonating him. The whole sorry affair culminated with Brownstein having to write Pryor an apology and take the blame for his stupidity.
The debacle makes one wonder what kind of criteria Senator Pryor uses for vetting his recommendations for federal appointments. It certainly isn’t merit.
Brownstein was clearly shamefully unqualified. But not only was he unqualified his judgment was so poor that letting him anywhere near a security clearance would be a homeland security risk. After all - the guy auctioned off a position in the US Senate without the Senator’s permission to a pornographer triggering an FBI investigation.
On the upside we got a clearer picture of Senator Pryor’s poor vetting process, learned that Chad Brownstein should be no where near homeland security, and we put an exact dollar value on how much a federal appointment costs in Senator Pryor’s office. For $2500 in campaign contributions from you and your dad, (same price the pornographer paid for the internship) Mark Pryor might appoint you to a federal advisory board.
Hopefully Arkansas voters have higher standards in who they chose for Senator this time.