Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McNerney's and Andal's smelly money -- and canned outrage

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a sampling of political writer Josh Richman's blog, The Political Blotter. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

Sept. 23

I got a news release this morning from the National Republican Congressional Committee noting Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, has given away to charity $5,000 he received from the leadership political action committee of Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., who is under investigation into suspected ethics violations:

"Hoping he could get away with keeping Rangel's money, all eyes are on fellow Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-CA) who is still standing by the scandal-scarred Congressman. So how much longer will Jerry McNerney hold out?"

"The still mounting evidence of Rangel's infractions is overwhelming and the voters will not forget that Jerry McNerney chose to endorse the status quo and turn a blind eye to corruption. Just last week McNerney voted to kill a resolution that would have convened a House Ethics Committee investigation to look into Rangel's mounting scandals (House Roll Call 609)."

It might be a stretch to say "all eyes" are on McNerney — he's one of almost 100 Democratic House members or candidates who have accepted donations from Rangel's PAC in this election cycle, and the National Republican Congressional Committee is sending these releases to media in any of those districts deemed Advertisementcompetitive.

Also, it's true that McNerney voted to table House Minority Leader John Boehner's House Resolution 1460, which not only would've convened a House Ethics Committee investigative subcommittee to probe Rangel's doings but also would've instantly removed Rangel as House Ways and Means chairman. The vote was 226-176, with five Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with Democrats in favor of tabling the resolution.

Truth is, Rangel by then already had requested an Ethics Committee investigation and pledged his cooperation, and Boehner hasn't been so quick to demand action on GOP members facing ethical questions.

But that doesn't change the fact that McNerney's campaign has accepted $10,000 from Rangel's PAC this cycle — just as his Republican challenger, Dean Andal, has received $5,000 from the Future Leaders PAC run by California's own Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, and $1,000 from the Midnight Sun PAC run by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. Both Lewis and Young reportedly are under federal criminal investigation into influence peddling; both Lewis and Young have resisted calls for them to step down from key committee posts. And in a less direct parallel, Andal's campaign has received $5,000 from the Rely on Your Beliefs PAC run by House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, who through that same PAC had controversial ties to disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and imprisoned former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Potentially dirty money is never good, but hypocritical, canned outrage isn't so great, either.

Sept. 24

The CodePINK folks sent out a news release yesterday saying they and their allies who've been protesting outside Berkeley's U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station on and off over the past year were going to declare "Mission Accomplished" at a news conference today.

"CodePINK and our allies have prevailed! Major protest operations at the MRS have been ended, one year since covert military recruiting operations were first uncovered in Berkeley. Our coalition is now engaged in dis(as)sembling and deconstructing the U.S. military, making the world safe and secure," the statement said.

But late last night, they announced they'd postponed the event indefinitely. Maybe they realized that it's tough to call a storefront recruiting station "covert;" that the station is still there, doing what it did before they started; and that they have about as much chance of disassembling and deconstructing the U.S. military as I have of being president of the United States.

Seems like their "mission" was no more "accomplished" than that other one we all heard about "...

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  • McNerney’s and Andal’s smelly money — and canned outrage
  • McNerney’s and Andal’s smelly money — and canned outrage