Skip to content

The Six Million Dollar Question…

31 May 2012

Political consultant Luis Costa Bonino (LCB-Marketing) apparently had dinner with wealthy businessmen and AMLO supporters last week (24 May) and supposedly spoke… several times… of needing six million dollars to win the election.

For someone used to U.S. elections, the figure seems ridiculously tiny for a fund-raising appeal in a national election (just by comparison, Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for U.S. President, has raised just under six million dollars, and President Obama, just under six and a half million dollars in Texas alone… so far).  Still, according to a press release from AMLO’s rivals in the PRI, this amounts to “two and a half times the amount of private campaign contributions permitted by law”.   I had always thought private campaign contributions were completely illegal, but apparently some are more illegal than others.

Whether the meeting was for the purpose of “passing the hat” (the actual phrase in Spanish is pase de charola … “pass the (collection) plate”, like in Church), is a matter of some controversy.  Of course, PAN and PRI have both been quick to demand an investigation by the Elections Commission (IFE) and PRI has also filed a complaint with the Federal Prosecutor’s office and immigration authorities.

Immigration?  I cannot find any biographical information on Costa Bonino that gives his nationality, but he holds a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Paris, and his political marketing firm is based in Paris, so presumably he is a foreigner, and by law, prohibited from political activity.

He makes mention on the audio recording, and in his promotional literature of having been a campaign adviser to Lula da Silva, the former Brazilian President, and his European activities seem to be mostly for leftist parties.  However, the company’s on-line site shows it has worked for Latin American parties of all political stripes, and in Mexico for PAN, PRI and PRD.

On the audio tape (there is no video), Costa Bonino is heard to mention the figure (in U.S. dollars) several times, including one time when he says that would be adequate for an regional election in Honduras.  Whether he was actually fund-raising or was, as film maker Luis Mandoki (who invited Costa Bonino to the dinner meeting) says, simply a discussion of Costa Bonino’s business, is at the heart of the controversy.  There is some suggestion that the audio tape was edited.  One assumes it was, if only for news value… the only speaker other than Costa Bonino is a comment about the feasibility of “passing the collection plate” by the host, Luis Creel — who, incidentally, is a first cousin to PAN leader, Santiago Creel.

To my suspicious mind, this calls to mind the scandal that erupted in2004 when various Federal District officials were videotaped apparently taking bribes from businessman Carlos Ahumada (at the time, romantically involved with former Federal District Governor Rosario Robles) .  Ahumada turned out to have close ties to Carlos Salinas (Enrique Peña Nieto’s political godfather).  The thinking at the time (and now) is that the opposition (Salinas in particular) tried to “set up” Lopez Obrador… which, with a healthy assist from the OEM newspapers, …  looks like deja vu all over again.

On the other hand, given the relatively small “footprint” of AMLO’s advertising and marketing outside of that covered by IFE expenditures… bus ads and bling touting AMLO are conspicuously absent, and the candidate makes an issue of traveling by commercial carrier,  rather than leased or “donated” aircraft, six million dollars (about 80 million pesos) would buy some  hats and tee-shirts and those “dispensas” that the other parties give away in return for showing up at their candidate’s rallies.  Or buy a few reporters. 



3 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 June 2012 12:49 am

    Portraying yourself as the victim of an “evil” opposition candidate is straight out of the Karl Rove cookbook. Falsified scandals have long been used in campaigns he supported.

    In 1986, he (planted and) discovered bugs in his own office in Austin to paint the opposition as unethical and garner sympathy votes for his candidate.

    He also was not above trying to torpedo members of his own campaign by planting stories in the press, which is what got him fired by George H. W. Bush in 1992.

    Bush operatives came to Mexico to get Calderon elected. To see that such things are going on in Mexico… well, they may have had some creative support from elsewhere, although politicians everywhere are never shy about borrowing tactics.


  1. The Mex Files
  2. Up for debate? « The Mex Files

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: