• No Sweat
  • Thursday, July 13, 2006

    More Republican Corruption in California: John Doolittle

    Corruption already brought down California Republican Randy Cunningham, now shamed, convicted and jailed. But Republican corruption is alive and well in the family of another California Republican: Congressman John Doolittle (CA-4). From the Washington Post:

    n the past two years, campaign and political action committees controlled by Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) paid ever-larger commissions to his wife's one-person company and spent tens of thousands of dollars on gifts at stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co. and a Ritz-Carlton day spa.

    The use of such committees, especially "leadership" PACs, for purposes other than electing politicians to Congress is a common and growing phenomenon, but campaign finance watchdogs say Doolittle has taken it to new heights...

    "I don't know if there's anything comparable," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a watchdog group that called last month for an investigation of Doolittle by the House ethics committee. "If this is okay, it is a road map for how to convert substantial sums of campaign money to personal use..."

    And John Doolittle's committees have been generous with the money they have raised. The campaign committee has reported gifts to volunteers, staff members and supporters totaling $55,679 since 2001. Flower expenses were $2,983. Purchases of See's Candies, a California favorite, were $10,737. Dues for the Capitol Hill Club, the Lincoln Club of Sacramento Valley, the Sutter Club of Sacramento and other membership organizations have totaled $12,275. heights of Republican corruption. Way to go Congressman Doolittle. But Doolittle is not alone by any means. The article mentions a couple of other Republicans who are doing the same trick of misusing such "leadership funds."

    The leadership PAC of Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.) lists $22,896 in hotel expenditures for donors and $320 worth of baseball tickets. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) received attention in February when the news media reported leadership PAC expenses at a Starbucks near his Virginia home that totaled $558 since 2001, as well as payments to Wal-Mart, Burger King bills totaling $50 and 11 meals at Arby's worth $118.

    Just how do these corrupt bastards manage to convince voters to vote for them? Well, we have a Fighting Dem running against Corrupt Doolittle. Lt. Col. Charlie Brown is on a roll aiming to defeat Doolittle in November. Your a good man, Charlie Brown! Please help him out with a donation or some time. Jerry McNerney is the Democrat running against Corrupt Pombo, and, of course Bob Casey is well on his way to defeating Corrupt Santorum.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Republican Corruption in NY State: Sweeny and Fossella

    NY State Republicans may not quite be as corrupt as their counterparts in Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky (the three most corrupt Republican State Parties in the nation), but, my own NY State is not immune to the largely Republican Culture of Corruption. Some time back I brought up the hypocrisy and corruption of Republican Congressman John Sweeny (NY-20) who did his best to distance himself from the Republican mega-scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramhoff but is himself just as much a part of the Republican-Lobbyist Culture of Corruption as any Republican. I also have blogged extensively about some corrupt ties between a particular developer (Bruce Ratner) and New York politicians (Republicans Michael Bloomberg and George Pataki (Ratner's law school chum) well as Democrat Marty Markowitz). Today I want to review Sweeny's corruption and introduce a new target of my campaign against corruption in NY State: Congressman Vito Fossella (NY-13).

    Corrupt Republican Congressman Sweeny: This is drawn from a Daily Kos diary:

    Sweeney, known for his defense of the indicted Tom DeLay and his close ties to Bush's inner circle...jetted off to Park City, Utah for a "Skiing with Sweeney" weekend, a $2,000 event that included dinner at the home of Jeffrey Kimbell, a pharmaceutical lobbyist. His second annual "Skiing with Sweeney" weekend…

    According to the invitation, attendees were to check in...Thursday, ski on Friday and then go to dinner at the home of Jeff Kimbell, whose D.C. lobbying firm, Jeffrey J. Kimbell & Associates, lists among its clients pharmaceutical heavyweights like Novartis and Allergan.

    His actions also earned him a strong rebuke in the Albany Times Union…:

    "There was Mr. Sweeney, a Clifton Park Republican, soliciting money last weekend on a Utah ski holiday where access to power was literally for sale.


    Not very subtle, especially when the invitation to this gathering so crassly noted that Mr. Sweeney is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which controls a big portion of the fruits of access to government…"

    And here are some of Sweeny’s donors:

    Alexander Strategy Group, the lobbying firm run by former Tom DeLay staffers, Ed Buckham and Tony Rudy, that announced that it would be closing operations in the wake of the Abramoff guilty plea. The plea deal with Abramoff gives all the appearance that indictments of Mr. Buckham and his associates will be forthcoming.

    Greenberg Traurig, one of the lobbying firms that Jack Abramoff was using as a front for his bribery and corruption enterprise. Preston, Gates, Ellis is another.

    TYCO International, that model of responsible corporate behavior, has recently revealed that it hired Abramoff and Greenberg Traurig during this time to lobby congress on their behalf.

    Gee, sure sounds like Sweeny may be a good target for investigation.

    In addition to his own corruption, John Sweeney voted to weaken the ethics rules in a move that many say served only to protect Tom DeLay. Sweeney also voted to allow Tom DeLay to continue serving as Leader even if indicted. Sweeny, NY Republican, is part of the Republican Culture of Corruption.

    Corrupt Republican Congressman Vito Fossella: Vito Fossella is the only Republican Congressman from NYC. He is a loyal toady of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and has refused to condemn Rove and Cheney for insensitive statements regarding NYC and 9/11. Fossella represents Bush, Rove and Cheney, not NYC. But it turns out he is also as blatantly corrupt as any Halliburton Republican. This is from the Brooklyn Papers

    Bay Ridge’s four-term Republican congressman has been dipping into campaign funds to finance pleasure trips to exclusive resorts in Florida, Colorado, Nevada and California, according to published reports.

    Rep. Vito Fossella violated federal law when he took $53,142 from his campaign war chest to pay for fun-filled trips to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and the Lodge at Vail, according to the Daily News.

    The trips often included his wife and two children, the News reported.

    In addition to the alleged misuse of campaign funds, the congressman took $11,000 from political consultants and corporate sponsors for “fact-finding missions,” including a $5,000 stay at Turnberry Isle Resort near Miami, which he charged to a political consultant’s credit card.

    Fossella also failed to disclose a free roundtrip to Miami on the private jet of the late Richard Adeo, cited by federal authorities as a Gambino crime family associate.

    He even sent out a taxpayer-funded mailing in which it appeared that Muppets Elmo and Rosita were endorsing him — a no-no in the public TV world...

    Fossella has been under increased scrutiny in the wake of corruption scandals that have rocked the national GOP, including the fall of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

    Clear links between Abramoff and Fossella were previously reported. Records show that Abramoff hosted a 2002 fundraiser for Fossella at a Yankees/Orioles game in Baltimore that raked in $1,000 a ticket. Fossella has denied that Abramoff was involved in the event.

    Misuse of campaign funds and, I mean "fact-finding missions" that included luxury stays for himself and his family paid for by consultants. Links to convicted criminal Abramoff (and lying about it!). Close association with Mafioso. AND, worst of all, exploiting Elmo and Rosita! My baby son (a huge Elmo fan) would be horrified! Shame on Fossella!

    So you know the score. Write the media and complain about the Republican culture of corruption and their failure to realize that America hates corruption. Focus on Fossella and Sweeny and their addiction to lobbyist money.

    And don’t forget, Sweeny and Fossella are also targets of the Sweep NY State campaign so PLEASE donate to defeat Sweeny in the NY-20 and Fossella in the NY-13 race! You can take part in defeating Republican Corruption!