Sunday, February 28, 2010

It Isn't Only Democrats Angry About Ken Calvert's Corruption-- Meet Chris Riggs


In 2008, progressive Democrat Bill Hedrick came closer to ousting an incumbent than any other candidate of either party in any of California's heavily gerrymandered (for incumbent-protection) districts. With Obama reversing a 2004 Bush victory of 59% to a 50-49% win over McCain, Bill's 49% of the vote was the best any challenger did in the state. That was quite an accomplishment, particularly when he was outspent 5-1, had no acknowledgment-- let alone assistance-- from the DCCC and ran a 100% grassroots campaign. Ken Calvert spent $1,150,432 and Bill Hedrick spent $191,461. Bill is running against Calvert again but right now he isn't the only problem Calvert has in his hopes for re-election.

Chris Riggs, a local real estate broker, is challenging Calvert from the right. Although the Republican registration edge in the district has dropped precipitously over the past 2 years-- down to about a 9% edge from a 14% edge-- Calvert is not well-liked by plenty of local Republicans, particularly the teabagger variety. And that's exactly what Riggs is counting on. Calvert may be known as a pork-mad big spender with a solid air of corruption about him, but the one thing foremost on teabaggy minds is how he voted not once, but twice, for the big bank bailout in 2009. On September 29, Bush and Paulsen appealed to Republicans to help him pass the biggest Wall Street bailout in history. It failed 205-228, stunning Bush and his bankster buddies. 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans voted against it. Ken Calvert, however, was one of the 65 corrupt corporately oriented Republicans to vote yes.

Bush panicked and came back to the House with all guns blazing 4 days later. Corporate shills like Paul Ryan, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Adam Putnam, Jerry Lewis, Dave Camp and, of course, Ken Calvert started twisting arms until they persuaded 26 more Republicans to vote for the bailout. It passed 263-171. Teabaggers hate Calvert for it and, because Hedrick was actively campaigning against the bailout, he racked up some impressive crossover votes from independents and even Republicans, actually winning in the Riverside County portion of the district. Riggs is hoping to appeal to Republicans angry at Calvert not just for these two votes, but for his entire political posture of robotic acquiescence to the Beltway Establishment. Calvert is no longer viewed as a member of the community, except as someone who uses it for his own personal gain. He lives in DC and has no real attachments to Riverside County or even to far redder Orange County. Like Hedrick, Riggs is all about the Inland Empire-- and he isn't being shy about pointing out Calvert's shortcomings, especially in the ethics department.
• On November 27, 1993 Calvert was caught by Corona Police Officers with a prostitute in his car.

• Calvert was one of three U.S. Representatives featured on the Fox News Documentary “Porked: Earmarks for Profit” in 2008. Calvert obtained millions in taxpayer dollars to build roads and a transportation hub near commercial real estate properties he owns. One such project, the Corona Transit Center is located within 1.75 miles of 7 of Calvert’s own properties, an earmark that increased Calvert’s personal net worth.

• Calvert is currently involved in a controversial, high-profile land deal that a Riverside County Grand Jury determined was an illegal real estate transaction. Calvert was able to personally purchase a 4 acre piece of land from a public agency that is part of his congressional district without competition. This “sweetheart deal” is currently in litigation.

• In 2006, the FBI combed through five years of Rep. Calvert's financial records, only eight days after the Los Angeles Times reported that he made a 79% profit on a land deal after earmarking funds that helped drive up the price of his own property.

• Seventeen years ago, Calvert signed “The Contract with America”, promising not to hold his Congressional seat for a day more than twelve years.

• Calvert received zero points for influence within the House of Representatives according to’s 2008 Power Rankings.

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