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FlashReport launches anti-McNerney web site

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, September 19th, 2008 at 5:55 pm in Congress, congressional district 11.

Conservative Republican FlashReport founder Jon Fleischman launched a new web site this week –  www.ONETERMISENOUGH.COM — targeting freshman Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

What does a Southern California Republican care about the outcome in District 11?

For one, it’s the only competitive congressional race in California and one of the top five targeted races in the nation. In a big upset, McNerney beat seven-term incumbent Richard Pombo in 2006 and this year, Republican Dean Andal of Stockton hopes to put the seat back in the GOP column.

(And no, Fleischman says, he’s not on the Andal campaign payroll. He donated his own money to start the web site.)

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

On the site, Fleischman calls McNerney out for having pizza with CodePink activists. (For those who don’t know, CodePink is a high-profile anti-war activist group that conservatives loath, particularly after the group supported the removal of a Marine recruiting office in Berkeley.)

But if you look at link to CodePink’s own web account of the lunch, McNerney didn’t go to a CodePink sponsored pizza party. It was one of McNerney’s own “Congress on the Corner” events in May 2007. He has held more than 40 of these events where members of the public are invited to attend and either speak with him personally or listen to his comments. This one happened to be at a pizza parlour in Discovery Bay and the CodePink folks, among others, attended.

As for the quotes attributed in the CodePink account to McNerney about his support for the removal of President George W. Bush from office, I have no idea if they are accurate. I wasn’t there

But the latest issue Fleischman brings up is far more interesting.

On Dec. 12, 2007, USA Today reported that McNerney accepted campaign contributions from the political committee of Morgan Hill-based defense contract EDO Corp. two days before he requested a $800,000 federal earmark for the company.

FEC records show EDO Corp. PAC contributed $9,500 to McNerney in 2007 betwen March 12 and Dec. 12. The congressman sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee on March 14, 2007, asking for funding for EDO Corp.’s “electronic warfare concept demonstrator for the littoral combat ship.”

The earmark issue is tricky on several fronts.

It is illegal, of course, for an elected official to accept campaign dollars in exchange for earmarks, votes or other government favors

But while the term “earmark” has become associated with corruption (think Jack Abramoff) and pork barrel projects (think “Bridge to Nowhere”) most members of Congress request earmarks. It’s a means by which members tap into federal dollars for projects they deem worthwhile, especially if it brings jobs to their districts.

Some of these earmark recipients contribute money to the campaigns of members of Congress.

EDO Corp., for example, also contributed $6,000 to the campaign of Richard Pombo. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, successfully secured $4.6 million in federal funding for a Martinez firm that manufactures biometric identification devices and whose executives contributed to his campaign and political action committees.

Did EDO “pay to play?” There’s no evidence to suggest it did.

McNerney ran on a reform platform during a time when congressional ethics was on the hot seat but he also promised to bring jobs to his district. Should he eschew all earmarks? Should he return the EDO campaign money?

And what about the requests for earmarks that McNerney declined to pursue? Did they contribute money? Unlike many of his colleagues, McNerney fully disclosed his earmark request list.

Fleischman and other critics oppose earmarks, particularly to private businesses, on the grounds that individual members of Congress lack the perspective to properly evaluate the country’s need for the service or the product. Earmark reformers seek a standardized, transparent method to prioritize earmarks on their value rather than a member’s political standing on a committee or seniority.

As I said, this is an interesting issue and one that will undoubtedly surface again in this campaign.

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  • RR

    CodePink calls itself a women’s antiwar movement but its antecedents are mostly on the Extreme Left. It is a posing as a pacifist group but its aims aren’t likely to impress Quakers. Medea Benjamin doesn’t hate war per se, she hates American society and American policies abroad. CodePink is a latter-day version of Women’s Strike for Peace, a onetime Communist front that was last heard of during the Vietnam War.

  • Rewgolfer

    Congressman George Miller has been in office for 35 years, and he shows no sign of ever leaving or retiring. Basically he’s our permanent Congressman, whether voters like it or not. The reason he’s our permanent Congressman is because of gerrymandered districts, and campaign finance laws that favor incumbents. When somebody holds a congressional district permanently by manipulating the rules behind the scenes , ie reappotionment, they are thwarting democracy. So it’s a sad thing that only the McNerney
    Andal race is “competitive”. I’d like to see more competive races but with anti-democratic office holders like Miller around there is scant chance this will happen.

  • Rewgolfer

    The founding fathers set up congressional elections to happen every two years to force Congress to answer for thier action every 24 months. Sadly, with these gerrymandered districts like Miller’s they answer to nobody. In the modern era you can only vote out Senators, because they don’t have the luxury of gerrymandering.

  • Freak_of_the_far_right

    Things must be getting hairy over at the Andal Campaign. Now Jonny Fleischman has weighed in. Gee I wonder why our local GOP Super Leader Tom Del Baccarro is allowing Fleischman to get into his backyard?
    The big question is Andal going to be raising any cash to match McNerney soon? With the republican brand as tarnished as it is some of the local GOP hacks/insiders who were drinking the hard GOP Koolade earlier in the year are getting concerned about his prospects.

    So what if McNerney is getting earmarks that is what I expect from Congress. As Mark Twain said of congress they are our native criminal class. The current GOP congressional minority is as earmark addicted as ever. What makes anyone think Andal will be any different?
    If nothing else the fact that he has not publicly repudiated the failures of the GOP tells me that he is not the kind of leader we need to make changes in congress and in the DC/GOP in general. Instead this is Andals statement from his website:
    “Bring a new standard of ethics and accountability to Congress and the federal bureaucracy — to restore confidence in government, honor to public service and trust in our elected leaders.”

    Andal if you are listening we the voting public does not want pabulum. We want a reform minded pit-bull to go to DC fighting to change the culture of stupidity there. Nothing else will do. If you can change from a sheep to a pit-bull then you need to do it now.

    The reality for local republicans is that 2010 will be the year to get rid of McNerney. Maybe we can have a real primary with competition. Robert Rao are you listening? Andal is just a cheap suit version of old style republicanism that the public has grown to hate. The voting public would rather elect McNerney than return to the Bill Baker era.

  • Rewgolfer

    Republicans have a chance to oust McNerney. He sort of lucked into that seat, he was a pretty weak candidate 2 yars ago. I recall he didn’t have a job, he claimed to be a “wind consultant” or something like that. Having said that, the odds should be in McNerney’s favor. He has 18 goverment paid staffers working for him; basically, it’s almost impossible to get rid of a Congressman once they are in office.

  • RR

    Andal has a shot at making the incumbent uncomfortable, but he’s definitely a long-shot. This is the Dems’ year, like it or not. Andal can win only by criticizing McNerney’s record and pointing out how he could help the district more than the incumbent. It’s doubtful Dean can pull it off.

  • Freak_of_the_far_right

    What you are missing RR is Andal needs to campaign against the reason the district is voting democrat: the republicans in DC. Andal is too establishment to do that. We need a pit-bull who will rip some sense into the GOP.

  • Freak_of_the_far_right

    Actually McNerney earned the seat because nobody but the really politically astute understood that Pombo was going to get crushed. He stepped up again after being beat badly and won the 2nd time. He earned it.

    The funny thing about Andal is he was the big GOP savior he was raising the money, running off the competition. All the Republican Sheeple were afraid to run against him. Guy Houston bailed and ran against his ex-staffer who kicked his tail. Five other potential republicans ran for the assembly seat.

    In retrospect if any of those people had run in the primary maybe Andal would be running a better campaign that would have galvanized the voters positively for him. We will never know. This race the 11th house district and the 15th assembly are the far rights last stand in the Tri Valley. If they don’t win this time oblivion awaits.