State GOPolitburo Chairman Chris Vance is either a liar or a fool… or both. Of course, this isn’t really news to anybody who has followed WA state politics over the past year or so, but it’s worth repeating, especially when he sends out one of those blatantly false press releases like yesterday’s doozy.
In response to the state Dems’ Santa stunt, in which they called attention to the $14.3 million parting gift Safeco is giving outgoing CEO Mike McGavick to kick off his Senate campaign, Vance accused the Dems of hypocrisy:
Maria Cantwell never resigned from Real Networks in 2000, she simply took a “leave of absence.” During 2000, the company paid her $10.5 million in salary and stock options. Cantwell then funded her campaign with this money.
That is a complete and utter load of crap.
The money Cantwell cashed out in 2000 came from the stock options she had vested during her four years working as a Vice President at Real Networks. Early Real Networks employees were granted generous, five-year option schedules with the first fifth vesting after one year, and the rest vesting in six-month increments. Because Real Networks was a tiny, risky startup at the time she joined — whose shares might have eventually been worthless — the strike price on her original option grant was only pennies a share.
Unlike McGavick, Cantwell’s vesting schedule was not accelerated when she left Real Networks, and she wasn’t granted any additional options. Vance’s claim relies on a single line in a 2001 article in The Olympian that clearly misunderstands the nature of these transactions. Option grants are not declared as income until they are exercised and the shares sold. The fact that Cantwell exercised these options in 2000 does not represent compensation for that calendar year, but rather the realization of the capital gains from the options she had previously vested throughout her tenure.
Quite simply, Vance lied. Real Networks most definitely did not pay Cantwell $10.5 million in 2000. She bet four years of her life on a risky startup, and while handsomely rewarded, anybody who has ever worked for Rob Glaser will tell you that she earned her money the hard way.
Clearly, Vance was just trying to deflect attention from the fact that Safeco is giving McGavick $14.3 million during an election year… money that he is then free to spend on his own campaign in unlimited quantities. McGavick, who has represented the insurance industry for years, is essentially being paid to run for office, and if elected would surely represent the industry’s interests over that of ordinary Washington citizens.
But I also want to point out to my friends in the media, that this is yet another instance where Vance has boldly and shamelessly lied to your face. He dishonestly fed you information that was factually wrong and easily disproved. He dissed you.
Any reporter who takes anything coming from the Vance-led state GOP at face value, is a chump.