McNerney’s bills and bill$

mcnerneyportrait.jpgRep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, testified today before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security about a gang-crime bill he introduced last month.

His National Safe Streets Gang Crime Prevention Act of 2007, H.R. 3474, would create a National Gang Activity Database to disseminate information on gangs, gang members, firearms, criminal activities, vehicles, and other useful information, which would be accessible to law enforcement officials nationwide. Now H.R. 3474 is being incorporated into a bigger bill, H.R. 3547, The Gang Prevention, Intervention and Suppression Act, a comprehensive approach to reducing U.S. gang violence.

“Gang activity does not stay neatly within one jurisdiction; it spreads across geographic boundaries. Therefore, law enforcement officials need a mechanism to easily share intelligence and track crime,” he told the panel. “I have witnessed what this level of cooperation can do locally to prevent gang activity. In my district, the City of Stockton Police Department coordinated efforts with the DEA, FBI, ATF, and other local jurisdictions to target suspected drug traffickers and gangs operating in San Joaquin County. Impressively, these efforts have resulted in 51 arrests since January.”

Meanwhile and on another front, McNerney must be tickled pink with the apparent disarray of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In the 2006 election cycle, the NRCC outraised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($179.5 million to $139.9 million) and spent at least about $1.4 million trying to help House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, keep his seat; instead, he was defeated by McNerney. The DCCC, meanwhile, came late to McNerney’s side after having backed someone else in the Democratic primary, but in the general campaign’s final weeks ended up spending about $2 million (make that $216,000; see the comments below) to help put him over the top.

But the NRCC seems to have fallen on hard times. Politico reported a few weeks ago that the NRCC has raised $34.6 million this cycle compared to $43.6 million by the DCCC. The big difference, however, is in cash-on-hand, where Democrats have a huge advantage: $22 million in cash, compared to the NRCC’s $1.6 million.

McNerney clearly is on GOP’s hit list of vulnerable freshman Democrats it would like to pick off next year; so far, former Board of Equalization member and state Assemblyman Dean Andal of Stockton is the only declared Republican challenger. But remember, the 11th Congressional District straddles the San Francisco and Sacramento media markets, so television ad buys can easily run into the millions of dollars. That’s a big ante if the NRCC keeps on struggling, leaving Andal and other GOP candidates across the nation to fend for themselves… and McNerney’s campaign finance reports show he banked a whopping $823,293 in the first half of this year to Andal’s $288,168.

Anyhoo, you can read McNerney’s full testimony as prepared for today’s hearing, after the jump… Continue Reading


Drug czar sent to prop up N.Cal. Republicans?

The White House apparently sent drug czar John Walters and his deputy out on the Congressional campaign trail last year on the taxpayers’ dime to benefit embattled Republicans including former Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Rep. John Doolittle, R-Granite Bay, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman claimed today.

Waxman, D-Los Angeles, released documents including former White House Political Affairs Director Sara Taylor’s Nov. 20, 2006 memo which recapped all the “suggested participation” events Walters or his deputies had attended earlier in the year. Among them were April 11 and 12 community roundtables that Walters and Doolittle held in Nevada City and Oroville, respectively, and a May 8 “meth roundtable” Deputy Director Scott Burns held with Pombo in Stockton.

Waxman wrote a letter to Taylor today requesting that she testify before his committee Monday, July 30 about the apparent politicization of the Office of National Drug Control Policy:

The list of Republican officials named in your memo reads like a roster of the most vulnerable Republican members of Congress seeking reelection in 2006. Your memo identifies 29 events with 26 Republican office-holders. Assessments by political analyst Chartie Cook in October and November 2006 considered the re-election races of 23 of the 26 candidates identified in your memo as “competitive;” 15 of the races were listed as “toss-ups.” Your list included eleven Republican candidates who lost, ten who won their races with less than 53% of the vote, and two who won by fewer than 1100 votes. You included no Democrats or Independents in your memo of suggested travel by the ONDCP Director.

There’s also a post-election e-mail memo from Douglas Simon — the ONDCP’s White House liaison — to other staffers relating White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser Karl Rove’s “thank you for all of the work that went into the surrogate appearances by Cabinet members… He specifically thanked, for going above and beyond the call of duty, the Dept. of Commerce, Transportation, Agriculture, AND the WH Drug Policy Office. This recognition is not something we hear everyday and we should feel confident that our hard work is noticed.”

See other documents released today here. Pombo, of course, was unseated by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; Doolittle fended off Democratic challenger Charlie Brown, who now is hard at work raising funds and building support for another run at Doolittle in 2008.


Pombo won’t run again; takes lobbying group chair

pombo2007.jpgFormer House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, who was unseated last November by Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, has announced he’s the new national chairman for the Partnership for America, which refers to itself on its Web site as “a large national grassroots education and advocacy organization that lobbies for greater public access to public lands, reform of the Endangered Species Act and less reliance on foreign energy.”

And that means he won’t be in the running to regain his seat in 2008, an option he’d not foreclosed until now.

“I spent 14 years in Congress fighting for what I believe in and doing what I knew was right,” Pombo, 46, said in a news release. “But the fight is far from over. I plan to continue to fight against those special interests that want to lock up and restrict the people’s access to their land; that abuse environmental laws in order to take away people’s property rights and individual liberty; that stand in the way of economic freedom and more American jobs; and that work to keep America addicted to foreign energy by blocking America’s ability to produce more American energy.”

Pombo also will continue on as a senior partner at PAC/West Communications, an Oregon-based public affairs consulting group with GOP ties that he joined earlier this year. At that time, he’d said he was still considering whether to run again next year.

Pombo couldn’t immediately be reached for comment today, but Environment and Energy Daily‘s E&ETV has a video clip of an interview with Pombo about the new job and his decision not to seek office in 2008. There’s a transcript here.

The Partnership for America evolved out of the Partnership for the West, a Colorado-based coalition of mining, logging, ranching and recreational groups founded by Jim Sims, who now serves as PFA’s senior adviser. Sims in 2001 was President Bush’s communications director for the National Energy Policy Development Group — Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force, which was roundly criticized and sued for its secrecy. Earlier, Sims spent 12 years as a senior staffer to various Republican U.S. Senators. He’s also now president of Policy Communications Inc., a public affairs/lobbying firm with which the PFA shares a Golden, Colo., office suite.