A STUDY IN CONTRAST: Arnold Palmer’s Congressional Gold Medal Vs. Andy Bowdoin’s Congressional Medal Of Distinction

Arnold Palmer: From Wikipedia

Arnold Palmer: From Wikipedia

Tomorrow President Obama will present the Congressional Gold Medal to American icon Arnold Palmer.

The AP wire carried the story today. By coincidence, the Orlando Sentinel simultaneously was reporting that a two-year-old girl was rushed to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, after she was found submerged and unresponsive in a swimming pool.

Simultaneously Florida Today was reporting that a 13-year-old boy was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, after he had been struck by an SUV.

Arnold Palmer won dozens and dozens of golf tournaments; he represented the United States in international competition. He is an extraordinarily accomplished businessman.

And today two children have the opportunity to live because Arnold Palmer helped build a specialty pediatric hospital in Florida. The hospital is supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, an organization that also supports the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

All of this — and so many more acts of human goodness and decency — hails from a man admired internationally for fair play and the exemplary manner in which he has carried himself. People stand when he enters a room. They don’t have to; they just do. Indeed, they view Arnold Palmer, now 80, as that rarest of things: a man who genuinely makes the world a better place.

He rewards them involuntarily with his humility, and it only makes them admire him more. Arnold Palmer reminds them of the way things ought to be.

The first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to Gen. George Washington in 1776. Other recipients include John Paul Jones; Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson; Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant; The Wright Brothers; Thomas Edison; Charles Lindbergh; George M. Cohan; Irving Berlin; Robert Frost; Bob Hope; Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army, Walt Disney; Sir Winston Churchill; Roberto Clemente; Robert F. Kennedy; The American Red Cross; Simon Wiesenthal; Danny Thomas; President Harry S. Truman, Gen. Colin Powell; Mother Teresa; Rosa Parks; Mary Lasker; President Nelson Mandela; Pope John Paul II; President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan; Prime Minister Tony Blair; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King; Neil Armstrong; Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr.; Michael Collins; John Glenn; Elie Wiesel; and other remarkable human beings.

It literally takes an Act of Congress for the medal to be awarded. The legislation that resulted in Arnold Palmer’s award was known as “The Arnold Palmer Gold Medal Act.” The President must sign the legislation.

Now, compare the Congressional Gold Medal to the Congressional Medal of Distinction, as touted by Andy Bowdoin and members of AdSurfDaily.

No act of Congress is required for the Medal of Distinction. What’s required is a check to a campaign committee that provisions tickets to a political function. The Medal of Distinction is not an award from the White House or, really, even Congress. It is an award from the National Republican Congressional Committee for being a party loyalist.

It’s good that loyalty is rewarded with a symbol. But it is not good that the Congressional Medal of Distinction gets paraded around as though it represents valor or unique business acumen or exceptional personal achievement.

Outtakes

Here are two outtakes from the final paragraphs of letters to others who received the Medal of Distinction in 2006, two years before Bowdoin and ASD made a huge fuss about the award. Note the remarkable similarity in the closing paragraphs: (Emphasis added to titles.)

1.) “Commenting on [Name Deleted] selection, Congressman Reynolds said, “[Name Deleted] has served as an Honorary Chairman of the Business Advisory Council and has provided much needed support. This award could not have gone to a more deserving candidate.”

2.) “Commenting on [Name Deleted] selection, Congressman Reynolds said, “[Name Deleted] has served as an Honorary Chairman of the Physicians’ Advisory Board and has provided much needed support. This award could not have gone to a more deserving candidate.”

Now, here are two outtakes from the opening paragraphs:

1.) “NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced today that [Name Deleted] has been chosen as a 2006 Congressional Medal of Distinction winner.”

2.) NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced today that [Name Deleted] has been chosen as a 2006 Congressional Medal of Distinction winner.

The opening paragraphs are identical, except for the names of the individuals. The names simply were plugged in from a template. The second and third paragraphs of the four- paragraph letter also are identical, except for where a name was inserted.

In 2008, the year Bowdoin was awarded the medal, it also was awarded to a city councilman from a small town in Ohio. The councilman, however, had resigned his position, owing to his arrest on cocaine and marijuana charges. A judge placed him on probation, and he was permitted to attend the function in Washington as long as he checked in with his probation officer.

“There are a number of people in each state who receive this award for their continued support for the Republican Party and the NRCC,” the red-faced committee told the Washington Post in June 2008.

Two months later, the committee was embarrassed again with the seizure of tens of millions of dollars from Bowdoin’s bank accounts, amid wire-fraud, money-laundering and Ponzi scheme allegations.

(Both major political parties in the United States sponsor banquets, including star-studded ones, along with functions at which the President appears. It would be unfair to say the Republican Party has cornered the fund-raising market. Democrats are at least equally good at selling tickets to functions and raising funds, and also have been embarrassed by the actions of fund-raisers and attendees.)

Bowdoin took his medal with him during the summer — prior to the seizure — to show it off. ASD members trumpeted it far and wide as a special award from the President of the United States for Bowdoin’s lifetime of business achievement. It helped ASD generate business, and witnesses told the Secret Service that they were impressed by the medal and considered it when evaluating the ASD program, according to court documents.

About six months prior to the banquet, Bowdoin shared these words of wisdom with a silent partner in ASD, “[I]f we change the site and the marketing plan before [the regulators] attack, everyone will be safe,” federal prosecutors said.

It was boiler-room talk. ASD later introduced a fraudulent “Legality Statement” to sanitize the opportunity, prosecutors said.

Prior to the seizure, Bowdoin gifted 100,000 ASD ad-packs to a charity, passing the cost of funding the ad-packs and their accompanying rebates to ASD’s rank-and-file membership.

Bowdoin, prosecutors said, also gifted favored individuals into the program, and even paid an employee to surf for his son, so the son could qualify for rebates paid for by ASD’s rank-and-file. Multiple thefts by other individuals were reported to Bowdoin, but he never filed a police report.

One of the purported thefts involved $1 million. “Russian” hackers, he said.

“Neither Mr. Bowdoin, nor any other operator of ASD, ever alerted authorities to criminal activity targeted at ASD. ASD did not want any law enforcement scrutiny,” prosecutors said.

Illegal proceeds from ASD were used to retire multiple mortgages, including mortgages linked to Bowdoin and family members, prosecutors said.

There never has been a greater need for the Arnold Palmers of the world and what they symbolize, and Congressional dignitaries and the President of the United States will stand for Mr. Palmer tomorrow.

You’ve come a long way from Latrobe, Mr. Palmer, and the American people have been been proud to watch you soar within the surly bonds of earth.

A high flight indeed.

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5 Responses to “A STUDY IN CONTRAST: Arnold Palmer’s Congressional Gold Medal Vs. Andy Bowdoin’s Congressional Medal Of Distinction”

  1. What can one say? Your article only goes to show further the total shamelessness and the egocentricity of the founders and promoters of ASD. They have compared Bowdoin to a God-sent money making machine, they have compared the AG’s raid to the disaster of 9/11, they have compared Andy Bowdoins fight to run a successful financial fraud with the fight of a severely injured child to overcome her injuries and go on to win the Miss America contest. The elevation of an award given by NRCC to faithful party donors to the status of an award for services to american business is only one more example of the same lack of moral values and hypocracy that we have seen from ASD.

    The really startling thing about the whole false PR show of ASD is that they dont seem to realise that other people are listening and that they are being asked to believe a lot of information that is totally disproved by legal documentation.

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  2. Yep, it’s all b.s. alasycia. I hope you’re as excited for the indictments and arrests as I am!

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  3. Of course. I like the idea of seeing justice at work

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  4. Here’s another criminal “awarded the Businessman of the Year for 2006 and the Congressional Medal of Distinction in 2006 for meritorious service,” who was convicted on 288(a) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS ACTS WITH CHILD UNDER 14 YEARS. See http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/cgi/prosoma.dll?searchby=offender&id=18600321E5899

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpaulvalencia

    http://jpaulvalencia.wordpress.com/

    Someone needs to do a thorough background check before handing out these “prestigious” awards.

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  5. It seems the National Republican Congressional Committee is in no hurry to publicly clarify what seems to be a rather common and deliberately fraudulent misuse of the Congressional Medal of Distinction

    The following letter was sent to another recipient of the same medal:

    “Mr. Hemmert,

    Thank you again for your recent contribution to the National Republican Congressional Committee. As you know, your contribution includes two tickets to the Presidential dinner and, as a token of our appreciation for your support, a Congressional Medal of Distinction.

    Recent news reports have implied that the Congressional Medal of Distinction is a merit-based award based on your background, which is not the case. The Medal of Distinction is being given to you because of your continued support of the Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

    Thank you for your time, and of course, thank you for your support of the Republican Party.

    Sincerely,

    [Signature]

    Pete Kirkham
    Executive Director
    National Republican Congressional Committee”

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