McNerney’s and Andal’s smelly money

I got a news release this morning from the National Republican Congressional Committee noting Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, has given away to charity $5,000 he received from the leadership PAC of Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., who is under investigation for alleged ethics violations:

Hoping he could get away with keeping Rangel’s money, all eyes are on fellow Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) who is still standing by the scandal-scarred Congressman. So how much longer will Jerry McNerney hold out?

The still mounting evidence of Rangel’s infractions is overwhelming and the voters will not forget that Jerry McNerney chose to endorse the status quo and turn a blind eye to corruption. Just last week McNerney voted to kill a resolution that would have convened a House Ethics Committee investigation to look into Rangel’s mounting scandals (House Roll Call 609).

It might be a stretch to say “all eyes” are on McNerney – he’s one of almost 100 Democratic House members or candidates who have accepted donations from Rangel’s PAC in this election cycle, and the NRCC is sending these releases to media in any of those districts deemed competitive.

Also, it’s true that McNerney voted to table House Minority Leader John Boehner’s H.Res.1460, which not only would’ve convened a House Ethics Committee investigative subcommittee to probe Rangel’s doings but also would’ve instantly removed Rangel as House Ways and Means chairman. The vote was 226-176, with five Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with Democrats in favor of tabling the resolution.

Truth is, Rangel by then already had requested an Ethics Committee investigation and pledged his cooperation, and Boehner hasn’t been so quick to demand action on GOP members facing ethical questions.

But that doesn’t change the fact that McNerney’s campaign has accepted $10,000 from Rangel’s PAC this cycle – just as his Republican challenger, Dean Andal, has received $5,000 from the Future Leaders PAC run by California’s own Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, and $1,000 from the Midnight Sun PAC run by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. Both Lewis and Young reportedly are under federal criminal investigation for influence peddling; both Lewis and Young have resisted calls for them to step down from key committee posts. And in a less direct parallel, Andal’s campaign has received $5,000 from the Rely on Your Beliefs PAC run by House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, who through that same PAC had controversial ties to disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and imprisoned former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Potentially dirty money is never good, but hypocritical, canned outrage isn’t so great, either.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.