STENY HOYER, AN ARCH-VILLAIN LEADING OTHERS DOWN THE ROAD TO PERDITION
You know, here at DWT we didn't just wake up during the FISA debate and suddenly decide Steny Hoyer should be removed as House Majority Leader. I just ran across this post from February, 2007 where we asked some rhetorical questions about Steny Hoyer:
I thought this is why we worked our asses off last year-- not to make slimy hacks careers better but to bring honesty and decency back to our government. So now instead of Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert we're stuck with the equally reprehensible Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel. These people don't belong leading the Democratic Party; they belong in prison-- along with anyone else, of either party, who thinks being elected to public office means dining at the public trough-- and golfing with lobbyists, whether in Scotland or Puerto Rico.
I'm sure the Rio Mar Beach Golf Resort and Spa is no St Andrews but the idea is the same-- corruption. Technically the trip is not illegal and Hoyer can't be dragged before a judge and thrown in prison. But that's because of the absurdity of allowing politicians to write the laws governing their own behavior. The trip is being paid for by Hoyer's PAC and NPR explains how it works:
This is the way the leadership PAC loophole works: Hoyer's guests give thousands of dollars to his PAC. Because there are few restrictions on how PAC money can be spent, Hoyer's PAC uses some of the cash to pay for the congressman's trip to Puerto Rico. The PAC also provides entertainment, golf, even nifty little gifts bags for all the guests. The lobbyists and donors who have supplied the cash for this party then pay their own way to Puerto Rico. And in return for their generosity, they get to golf and hang with the congressman in the Caribbean.
Am I saying that Hoyer should be stripped of his job as majority Leader? Yes. Am I saying that Hoyer should be kicked out of the Democratic Caucus? Yes. Am I suggesting to the good folks back in Maryland's 5th CD that they defeat him and elect ah honest congressman instead? Of course I am.
Today I was doing a little research on where John Barrow, the reactionary warmonger in GA-12, gets his money from. One his biggest individual contributors was AmeriPAC ($30,000). I looked to see what AmeriPAC is and, lo and behold, it's Steny Hoyer's leadership PAC. He's taken in $2,247,384 (as of the last reporting period) and it went a long way towards explaining why so few Democratic incumbents or candidates are willing to go on the record attacking his sell-out on Iraq or on FISA last week. He and his master, Rahm Emanuel, led enough Dixiecrats and Blue Dogs across the aisle to join the Republicans in order to give Bush what he wanted on both war funding for Iraq-- something Hoyer has been a strong proponent of since he helped trick Congress into voting to attack Iraq in 2002-- and on retroactive immunity for their criminal corporate contributors in the telecom companies. But the majority of Democrats voted against the war and against the FISA sell-out. I spoke to dozens of members of Congress and, although some told me some rather unpleasant things about Hoyer, no one would go on the record. Same with the candidates.
His PAC contributions explain a lot. After all, the reason we'll never have meaningful campaign finance reform is not something we can only blame on Republicans. Emanuel and Hoyer owe their power to the money they are able to gobble up from special interests and parcel out to other Democrats. In that way they are exactly like the biggest Republican scumbags we just dealt with, slimy characters like Tom DeLay, Jerry Lewis, Rick Santorum, Bill Frist, etc.
I decided to see if there is any correlation between how Democrats voted on continuing the war and supporting retroactive immunity and the amount of money Hoyer has doled out for them. These are the fifteen biggest recipients of Hoyer's largess in the current cycle only:
Melissa Bean (IL)- $52,300- pro-war, pro-FISA
Ciro Rodriguez (TX)- $33,500- pro-war, pro-FISA
Tim Mahoney (FL)- $30,100- pro-war, pro-FISA, anti-Obama
Chis Murphy (CT)- $29,250- anti-war, anti-FISA
Brad Ellsworth (IN)- $28,300- pro-war, pro-FISA
Patrick Murphy (PA)- $28,250- anti-war, pro-FISA
Joe Donnelly (IN)- $27,500- pro-war, pro-FISA
Ron Klein (FL)- $27,100- anti-war, pro-FISA
Jason Altmire (PA)- $27,000- pro-war, pro-FISA
Ed Perlmutter (CO)- $26,250- missed war vote, pro-FISA
Chet Edwards (TX)- $25,500- pro-war, pro-FISA
Heath Shuler (NC)- $25,300- pro-war, pro-FISA, pro-Republican
Travis Childers (MS)- $25,250- pro-war, pro-FISA
John Barrow (GA)- $24,000- pro-war, pro-FISA
Baron Hill (IN)- $22,300- pro-war, pro-FISA
Draw your own conclusions. Oh, and speaking of members of Congress who support the occupation of Iraq and are all gung-ho about spying on Americans without warrants and treating rich corporate criminals differently from non-campaign donors, the House Democratic Majority Leader has also given $10,000 to Republican Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12) of Ft Worth who is being opposed by Texas Democrat Tracey Smith, who must be scratching his head.
Late last night, a Democratic candidate for Congress who has already been burned by the DC Insiders, Steve Harrison, running for the open seat in NY-13, feels passionately about retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretapping, sent us his statement about what happened last week. He wasn't shy about saying he's willing to stand against his own (corrupt) party leaders to fight for the rights of all Americans:
This Friday, legislation was passed that will take away constitutionally guaranteed rights. The FISA bill strips Americans of these rights and protects telecommunications companies from being held accountable by the people.
I am standing up against my own party because I believe we can have sound legislation that defends our country and, at the same time, protects our Constitution. If we are to hold our government accountable, retroactive immunity is the wrong path to go down.
It's time to support Democrats with democratic values and principles, Democrats who will work on behalf of the American people and protect their rights. When I'm elected to Congress, I will be that Democrat.
Oh, and about that thermometer up top. That shows the number of donors and the amount of dollars those donors have donated for the project of bringing a little accountability into the lives of treacherous Democrats like Steny Hoyer and Chris Carney and... well, we don't want to alert them all but if you watch Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars, Digby, Glenn Greenwald and DWT you'll know before anyone else does. And if you'd like to help us get to out goal of half a million dollars, here's the correct Blue America page. The thermometer moves when you put money in-- and you don't even have to refresh the page!