Steve Israel Won't Allow DCCC To Challenge Republican Committee Chairs Like Paul Ryan And Buck McKeon
I'll talk about DCCC corruption and complicity with the Republicans after the election and in a more systematic way, although this particular theme-- about Israel opposing spending any money to challenge Republican leaders and committee chairs is something we've gone over several times before. We've been making the point all cycle that, for various reasons, "ex"-Blue Dog/New Dem Steve Israel-- founder of the ultra secretive let's-all-us-insiders-be-friends-and-get-rich-together Center Aisle Caucus (which pledges to never try to defeat fellow members-- has had a strict hands off policy when it came to targeting powerful senior Republicans. If the Democrats don't take back the majority-- in the light of a likely Obama win against Romney tomorrow and voter rejection of GOP extremism and obstructionism-- it will be because of Israel's blundering. He may well be the reptile Nancy Pelosi boasts he is, but his reptilian instincts have only been brought to bear against progressive Democrats and a few unheralded, powerless Republican backbenchers and assclowns. Who cares if he defeats inconsequential DCCC top targets like Chip Cravaack, Bobby Schilling, Francisco Canseco and Daniel Webster and replaces them with equally inconsequential zeroes like (respectively) Rick Nolan (who the DCCC and their affiliates spent $5 million on), Cheri Bustos ($4,250,000), Pete Gallego ($4,300,000) and Val Demings ($4,500,000)? These goofballs are nothing-- not the targets and not the DCCC candidates hoping to replace them-- and eating up so much money to do so. Meanwhile, the DCCC hasn't spent a nickel trying to replace toxic monstrosities like Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon, Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers or Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton with high-quality independent-minded progressives, respectively, Rob Zerban, Lee Rogers, Lance Enderle and Mike O'Brien-- all in districts Obama won in 2008 and is expected to win again tomorrow.
Over the weekend The Hulk ignored Steve Israel and came out for Rob Zerban. Kenosha, Wisconsin native, activist and actor Mark Ruffalo asked his own network to help Zerban defeat Paul Ryan, even if the Democratic Beltway Establishment is trying to protect his seat. "And as a Wisconsinite," he implored, "I'm writing to ask for your support for Rob Zerban for Congress on Tuesday. Rob is running against Paul Ryan because Paul Ryan's policies don't help families like the one I grew up in."
Paul Ryan would end Medicare, privatize social security, and try to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and working class folks. Just so that billionaires and Big Oil companies can keep huge tax breaks and bonuses.
Paul Ryan wants to squeeze every last drop from the middle class to benefit the few. That's not going to bring back jobs, and it's certainly not going to help people while they're looking for work.
But Rob Zerban will help get us back on track. He is a successful small business owner, and he is on our side on all the issues that matter to us: protecting clean air and water, reforming Wall Street's recklessness, protecting the safety nets and creating opportunities for working and middle class folks.
That's why I'm supporting Rob Zerban for Congress, and I hope you will too.
Lee Rogers, who could have overcome McKeon easily with a fraction of what Israel is spending on any of his pack of mangy Blue Dogs or "business-friendly" New Dems, ended his campaign with a call for comprehensive campaign finance reform. Riding a wave of voter discontent to pose the first serious challenge to McKeon in his 20 years in Congress, Rogers told the local media that if elected he would push for full disclosure of all campaign contributions, including preferential treatment offered to candidates or incumbents by banks, auto dealerships, or any other business seeking to influence the legislative process in Washington. As we explained when Blue America endorsed him last year, he supports citizen-led campaigns, which would couple small donations with public financing for candidates who refuse large campaign checks, and would push for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s dreadful 2010 Citizens United ruling, which has opened the floodgates to a torrent of “super-PAC” money and made the 2012 election cycle the most expensive in history.
“We cannot trust lawmakers to represent us when they’re taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from industries they’re supposed to be regulating and passing some of that money into their personal bank accounts,” Rogers said.This isn't a battle that ends tomorrow, regardless of which candidates win. Grassroots progressives have an enemy-- the Inside-the-Beltway, two-headed monstrosity-- and Steve Israel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Steny Hoyer and Joe Crowley are every bit as culpable as John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Buck McKeon. This is our country and we have to take it back from a bunch of fancy pants careerists who have long ago lost track of who they work for. And it looks like even if the hacks at the California Democratic Party decided to take their cues from Steve Israel, normal voters in Santa Clarita aren't-- and this in a newspaper that just endorsed McKeon (again):
“Our campaign finance system is broken from top to bottom and is corrupting many members of Congress because fundraising takes up such a disproportionate amount of their time and energy. We don't want powerful committee chairmen like McKeon caving in to the interests of defense contractors or mining companies. It’s long past time to put voters first, ahead of the lobbyists and the special interests, and to put the American people back in charge of their own democracy.”
The first thing Rogers would do if elected is introduce a bill he is calling Enhance the Honesty and Integrity in Congress and Staff, or ETHICS. This would ban payments to family members working on campaigns and prevent members and their staff from receiving preferential treatment or discounts on significant financial transactions, as Rep. Darrell Issa recommended in his report on the Countrywide scandal.
From there he would push for even more comprehensive campaign finance reform, including the constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
“It’s no surprise that Congress has dismal approval ratings in public opinion polls when the system is awash in so much money and so little regard for the public good,” Rogers said. “Buck McKeon doesn’t see anything wrong with the status quo and has personally benefited from it. And that’s why it’s time for voters to throw him out of office.”
McKeon’s wife, Patricia, is his Campaign Treasurer and has received $617,956 in the past ten years. His son, David O. McKeon, has received a further $60,951 since 2009 through three different shell corporations based in Las Vegas. The anti-corruption watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) recently put McKeon on its list of the most corrupt members of Congress, finding that his family campaign payments were among the largest of any member.