“The allegation is false.” Chelan put on his best stern face. “I have no interest in supporting any of the current political parties in the Union. That’s a problem for the much younger generations. Each of Bulger’s Debtor in Possession expenditures passes by an audit committee that sees everything, down to my Number One pencils and the fountain pen ink for my desk. We have occasional disagreements, but they are over sensible questions, not proposals that money is being stolen.’
“However, the public Union Audit Report for Bulger’s former employees,” Whitecloth put an image up on the wall behind him, “shows that on the indicated date you paid these people the indicated amounts, and within three days the listed people made matching donations,” another column of numbers appeared on the screen, “to the National Renaissance Party.” There were gasps from the audience.
What was going on here? Chelan wondered. Those were donations to Whitecloth’s own party.
“Mister Chairman?” Tara Broadhurst intervened, “this being a legal matter?”
“Please, ma’am,” Whitecloth answered, a smile crossing his face, “explain?”
“First, our only payments to employees to date were for work done under the prior management,” Broadhurst answered, “with Union auditors reviewing them, for work done before Debtors in Possession took control. Bulger’s records are at best tangled, but all parties agreed these appeared to be payment in full and settled all claims by people who worked for the former management. Those people still have time to object, though they have not yet done so, so we may owe them more money.” And they won’t object, either, she thought, since our counter would involve felony charges against them, charges for which we have irrefutable evidence. “Our position on taking control was that superficially valid claims against the prior firm by employees and suppliers would in general be paid immediately, to avoid endless legal arguments.”
“Suppliers?” Whitecloth asked.
“The suppliers had yard ownership as collateral, so not paying them was not a sensible option,” Broadhurst explained.
“By the way,” Chelan asked, “those are all political party donations, very large, from a single not-that-large employer. Might I ask who vetted them, as is legally required?”
“The column is,” Broadcloth affected to hesitate, “oh, I am most sorry, I should have displayed that.” He gestured. “Humble apologies. All totally in order, vetted by a Senator as the Law requires.” Two names, alternating, appeared in a new column.
And those, Chelan thought, are his two leading National Renaissance Party opponents for the Presidency, who have just been cut off at the knees. Half the reporters in the Union are now going to be looking at the full record of Bulger donations. “It appears to me,” Chelan said, “that there are indeed some interesting questions that might be asked here, but we are the wrong party to be answering them. You are, of course, welcome to ask them, but I fear that ‘I don’t know what was going on under the prior management’ and ‘I agree that your information, doubtless accurate, seems a mite odd’ will become repetitive. Did you have other questions?”