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Posts Tagged ‘hypocrisy’

McAuliffe: The “Not As I Do” Candidate

If there’s anything to be said for Terry McAuliffe’s shameless self-promotion, it’s that he tends to know what people like. Recently, he managed to latch on to government reform as an issue, and knowing that many transparency efforts have seen wide Republican (and indeed, Democratic support) in the last few months, he decided to kick things up a notch. From the RTD

McAuliffe, one of three candidates for the Democratic nomination, yesterday called for a prohibition on “all gifts and trips from lobbyists” to legislators and executive-branch officials, including the governor.

The proposal follows a report Sunday in the Richmond Times-Dispatch spotlighting widespread weaknesses in the state’s mandatory disclosure rules under which entertainment and gifts go unreported.

Frankly, I think that the proposal may be a bit overreaching. I’d like to hear if this is just a ban on gifts from registered lobbyists or a gift of value from anyone advocating for or against legislation. I think it’d be rather ridiculous if a local Farm Bureau group was not allowed to give their Delegate or Senator a token of their appreciation. Honestly, the requirement of gifts of more than $50 probably goes as long a way as an outright ban, as members of the GA have to think long and hard before they accept a gift knowing it will be in the public record. 

What’s far more interesting, however, is that while McAuliffe thinks there’s a big problem with legislators and the Governor accepting gifts from lobbyists while in office, he has no problem with using lobbyist money to fund his own ambitions. From CNN: 

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is taking flack from one of his Democratic rivals for attending a campaign fundraiser co-hosted by a prominent Republican lobbyist who publicly opposed Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.

The event was held Tuesday night at the Washington office of the BGR Group, a top government affairs and public relations firm founded by three Republicans including lobbyist Ed Rogers, a friend of McAuliffe’s who co-hosted the fundraiser.

Ethical pop quiz: If you were a legislator, would you feel more beholden to the donor who gave $5,000 to your campaign, or to the lobbyist who gave you a coffee mug, or even, heaven forbid, a steak dinner? 

Of course, as the Washington Examiner points out, it’s not the big business lobbyists that we’ll have to worry about:

Under Gov.Tim Kaine – one of Obama’s earliest supporters for president and his choice as DNC chairman – Virginia became the 18th most taxed state in the U.S. But that would just be the starting point for McAuliffe, who has been busy lining up lots of outside money from his union pals in New Jersey and elsewhere. He was known during the Clinton years for his “soft money” strategy that culminated in the 1996 Lincoln Bedroom sleepover scandals. And at least two of McAuliffe’s private real estate investments in Florida were bankrolled by a union pension fund. A former DNC finance director even testified at the 1999 Manhattan trial of the Teamsters’ former political director that McAuliffe urged him to bypass campaign contribution limits by getting major Democratic donors to give to unions and liberal political groups, which would in turn contribute to various Democratic Party committees.

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And For What?

February 14, 2009 1 comment

From the Washington Post, word that Speaker Howell has once again caved on the smoking ban and is actively working with the Governor to mostly restore the original proposal:

At a meeting Friday, Kaine (D) sat down with House and Senate leaders to restore elements of his smoking ban proposal so that it includes most bars, in addition to restaurants. In keeping with the initial compromise between Kaine and Howell, smoking would be allowed in enclosed rooms that are ventilated with fresh air from the outside, the sources said.

…..

Sources say the latest agreement, which will be announced Monday, removes most of the House amendments. Smoking would be permitted in private clubs but not in restaurants that hold private functions. The ban would apply to bars, regardless of whether minors are admitted. The patio exception, however, will remain. Legislators have to agree on what constitutes an outdoor patio, according to sources.

And what is Howell reward for his rush to sell out free market principles? Why, an opponent, of course! And not just some kook, but a popular elected official. From Fred2Blue:

Stafford Co. Board of Supervisors Chairman George Schwartz is running against Speaker Bill Howell in the 28th HD. The full press release is below.

Barack Obama captured 50.2% of the vote in the 28th last November, a district that includes the city of Fredericksburg and part of Stafford County. Although Schwartz is the Stafford BOS Chairman, he hasn’t been elected county-wide. He represents the Falmouth district and was voted in as Chairman, following the 2007 elections, with 4 votes (3 Democrats and 1 Independent) to 3. Schwartz will not seek re-election this year. This won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but we couldn’t ask for a better candidate to run against Wild Bill. Get pumped.

With numbers like that, Howell was going to have an opponent. However, in his search for an issue, he has now managed to show that, in addition to not appeasing liberals, he also has no principled backbone, meaning that grassroots activists and other free market types are going to be less than enthused about working for him. 

Good work, Bill. It’s very rare that you sell out and harm yourself at the same time.

Sixteen Days

February 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Forget the first 100 days–Obama and Congressional Democrats have already raised their first tax just a little over two weeks in to the new administration. From Townhall.com:

President Obama approved his first tax hike today.

The bill he signed to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program contains a provision to increase taxes on tobacco by a whopping 155 percent. That means the federal taxes on cigarettes have gone up an additional 61 cents a pack. This brings federal taxes on a pack of cigarettes to $1 per pack total.

And as Americans for Tax Reform points out, this is a violation of Obama’s tax pledge during the campaign, when he promised not to raise taxes on any Americans who earn below $250,000 a year:

55 percent of smokers are considered “working poor” and one in four live below the poverty line. 

“Tom Daschle and Leona Helmsley believe that only the little people should pay taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “Obama agrees; he just raised taxes on millions of lower-income Americans.  His central campaign promise was a lie.”  

Of course, as everyone knows, if there’s any group of people that Democrats hate more than gun owners, its smokers. As smokers seem to have lower popularity than Satan with the general public as well, we’ll probably see little backlash from this one. 

Still, Obama has made it clear that it’s only a matter of time until the financial crisis becomes so that we all have to do our “patriotic duty,” as Vice President Biden would put it.