Saturday, March 15, 2008



Gary Miller (R-CA): extremist AND corrupt

Last night before turning in I did a short post about political hypocrisy. The GOP has been hysterically demanding that New York Democrats whose campaigns had had funds donated by Governor Spitzer return the money. I decided to check on what happened with the hundreds of thousands of dollars some of the Republican crooks had donated to each other. It was an eye-opener.

And then I got an e-mail from Blue America congressional candidate Ron Shepston (D-CA). Ron told me about something far more serious than penny-ante hypocrisy going on. And it got me thinking and wondering if John McCain, who claims to be the scourge of earmarks would join Ron in demanding Rep. Gary Miller, California's most far right member of Congress, return a $1.28 million earmark that is not only unethical but probably illegal. Here's what Ron had to say:
"Gary Miller should reimburse the taxpayers for earmarks that help his personal business. Like almost everyone else in this country, I work hard, pay my taxes and worry about my financial future. I don't think my tax dollars should be used to personally enrich Gary Miller and his biggest campaign contributor... Rep. Miller has abused the public trust. Earmarking federal funds to pay for road improvements by developments you and your biggest campaign contributor own is not acceptable. There is a clear line between right and wrong and Rep. Miller has crossed it."

Miller, a millionaire developer, has been under several ethical clouds in the past for using his position in Congress to benefit himself financially, while avoiding millions of dollars in taxes on suspect transactions.

The ethical problem Ron is talking about was in the 2005 highway bill where Miller surreptitiously inserted an earmark for road improvements to Diamond Bar Village, a residential and commercial development that he co-owns with Lewis Operating-- who just happens to be his #1 campaign contributor. That's illegal. Members of the House are prohibited from, "taking any official actions for the prospect of personal gain for themselves or anyone else."

Someone should have told Miller and his staff. Oh... come to think of it, they've been warned over and over again. But his staffers have lamely claimed, in the L.A. Times, no less, that "There was never a clear line between what was Congressional business and what was just business. The expectation was that you would do both."

Regular Americans pay their taxes and follow the rules. Gary Miller doesn't and neither does John McCain. I bet they'll be campaigning together in an Orange County subdivision near you in the not so distant future. Meanwhile, Ron-- even apart from how awful his opponent is-- would be an extraordinary member of Congress and I'd like to urge you to read the live blog session Ron did last September at Firedoglake. And if you would like to replace a rich, out of touch, corruput wingnut (who likes dressing up in Confederate uniforms) with a progressive, well-informed regular guy-- who enlisted in the Air Force and then went back to college and now makes a living as an avionics engineer-- please consider making a donation of any amount to Ron Shepston's Blue America page.

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