8

CA15: Corbett accuses Swalwell of dishonesty

State Senator Ellen Corbett has accused Rep. Eric Swalwell, whom she’s challenging in this year’s election, of a “lack of integrity and honesty” over pay he accepted for the time in which the federal government was shut down last October.

Yet it seems Swalwell kept his word.

This dustup started when KTVU aired a report this week following up on whether Bay Area lawmakers had kept their word about rejecting or giving away their pay during the shutdown. The report said Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, “sent a letter to the House’s Chief Administrative Officer asking to have his pay withheld. But we found out he did get paid.”

Ellen CorbettCorbett, D-San Leandro, posted a statement on Facebook saying that’s a problem.

“This lack of integrity and honesty by Mr. Swalwell is very disappointing,” she wrote. “The public has a right to expect honesty from their elected officials. Thousands of unemployed Californians who are struggling to make ends meet after their benefits were terminated by Congress deserve better.”

However, in the Sept. 30 letter that KTVU cited, Swalwell had asked that “until federal employees who must work during a federal government shutdown are paid, I not be given my paycheck.” Swalwell announced this in a news release the same day: “I will refuse my paycheck until federal employees who must work during the shutdown are paid.”

And that seems to be what happened. Swalwell’s office noted Thursday that the House’s Chief Administrative Officer had notified Swalwell at the time that his salary would be placed in escrow for any pay periods that occurred while the government was shutdown. The government re-opened Oct. 16, Congress voted to give back pay to all federal workers, and the federal workers were paid that month; on Nov. 1, Swalwell was paid his monthly salary for work performed during October.

8

CA15: The year-end finance reports

Freshman Rep. Eric Swalwell raised about three times much as Democratic challenger Ellen Corbett in the final quarter of 2013, leaving him with about four times as much money banked for the 15th Congressional District campaign.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, raised $275,018 in 2013’s final quarter while spending $63,418; his campaign had $823,362 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, with $3,576 in outstanding debts. Corbett, the state Senate majority leader from San Leandro, raised $90,918 in the last quarter of 2013 – by far her best quarter to date – while spending $25,892; she had $208,658 as of Dec. 31 with no outstanding debts.

6

And the military bands played on.

Military bands can once again perform at community events, thanks to an Bay Area congressman’s amendment that was signed into law last month.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, wrote a National Defense Authorization Act amendment to fix a bureaucratic problem at the Defense Department which had been preventing events from hosting military bands even when their sponsor agrees to pay the cost.

Marine Corps Band“The provision represents a common-sense solution to a needless, bureaucratic problem,” Swalwell said in a news release Monday. “My job as a legislator is to identify problems and find a solution – and we did so in this case without costing the taxpayer a dime. Residents in my congressional district will once again be able to enjoy the patriotic music of the military bands at the Pleasanton Scottish Games.”

Swalwell introduced his amendment after a Marine Corps veteran in his 15th Congressional District informed him that the Marine Band San Diego was prohibited from playing at the Scottish Games held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton over Labor Day weekend. The Caledonian Club would have fully funded the band’s costs as it had in years past.

The Defense Department earlier last year had changed its prior policy and stopped allowing military bands to perform at community events, claiming that reimbursements from sponsoring organizations were not going to its correct account.

Some critics might accuse Swalwell of letting the bands fiddle while Rome burns – the NDAA also continues the controversial policy enacted in 2012 that allows indefinite military detentions without charge or trial. Some opponents also said the bill authorizes too much military spending, particularly at a time when other government programs are being slashed.

Swalwell actually voted against the House version of the NDAA last June, as did every other Bay Area House member except for Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton; he also voted against a compromise version of the bill on Dec. 12. President Obama signed it into law Dec. 27.

Spokeswoman Alison Bormel later Monday said Swalwell was “disappointed with the bills as a whole.”

“The Congressman thought the bills authorize more money than necessary for the Department of Defense, fail to adequately address the problem of sexual assault in the military, and inadvisably keep the Guantanamo Bay prison open,” she said. “He voted against the bills as he thought they were not in line with his constituents’ priorities.”

9

Bill Lockyer endorses Eric Swalwell for re-elction

Lest you think Rep. Mike Honda’s 17th Congressional District is the only Bay Area race where incumbents are trying to get an early leg up on their challengers, Rep. Eric Swalwell fired a shot across his challenger’s bow Monday morning.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, announced he has the endorsement of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer for re-election to his 15th Congressional District seat.

“I’m for Congressman Eric Swalwell because I’ve seen him bring great energy and smart thinking to his job, and the determination to listen well to the people and work very hard for them every day,” Lockyer said in Swalwell’s news release. “Eric is getting good things done in Washington and at home, he has earned another term in Congress, and his re-election will be good news for his district and the nation.”

Lockyer’s endorsement is significant not only because he’s the longest serving statewide elected official, but also because he’s a powerful figure in Alameda County politics – particularly in the areas where Swalwell’s challenger, state Sen. Ellen Corbett, runs strongest.

Corbett, D-San Leandro, is looking to her home base on the west side of the hills for strength, but Lockyer’s word could carry significant sway there: He served many of the same areas during his 25 years in the Legislature that Corbett now does. He lives in Hayward now, but started his career in elected office (in 1968!) as a San Leandro Unified School District board member. Corbett as a college student did an internship in then-Assemblyman Lockyer’s office; he spoke at Corbett’s Senate swearing-in ceremony in 2007.

Eric SwalwellSwalwell said he’s honored to have Lockyer’s support.

“He has always been a fierce defender of his constituents and committed to improving the lives of the middle class and those less fortunate,” Swalwell said. “I admire Treasurer Lockyer’s unwavering commitment to his Democratic ideals while also working toward compromise if it will benefit the people. He has provided steady stewardship of California’s finances as Treasurer and I share his priorities to improve our economy and responsibly manage the people’s money.”

3

Swalwell urges GOP to wake up from ‘wet dream’

Rep. Eric Swalwell’s somewhat salty language on the House floor today is making national headlines.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, spoke against the House continuing resolution that’s predicated on defunding Obamacare.

“I rise in strong opposition to this radical right-wing effort to walk our economy off of a cliff and cause a government shutdown,” he said. “I invite my colleagues on the other side to wake up from this radical, ideological wet dream, and come back to reality.”

Yowza! The Hill noted its search of the Congressional Record dating back to 1989 doesn’t show that any other member has used that particular turn of phrase on the Jouse floor. The Washington Post called it “an R-rated term,” but noted that a Senator had used it back in 1996 (albeit not as an insult). The Huffington Post says it’s much ado about nothing.

To me, it sounds like something Pete Stark would’ve said.

Maybe Swalwell will hear about it from constituents who join him Saturday (Sept. 21) for his third “Ride With Your Rep” bicycling event. 15th Congressional District residents are welcome to join him at 10 a.m. at the Alameda Creek Regional Trail staging area, near Union City Boulevard at Lowry Road in Union City, for a 45-minute ride and chat.

UPDATE @ 4:30 P.M.: Pete Stark says it’s NOT something he would’ve said. Maybe. On a good day.

1

Hayward pastor delivers House’s opening prayer

A Hayward pastor delivered the House of Representatives’ opening prayer today at the U.S. Capitol.

Bishop Jerry Macklin – leader since 1978 of Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ, which has more than 1,500 members – served as guest chaplain at the invitation of Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton.

“Bishop Macklin is a true community leader, and his good work goes well beyond the pulpit,” Swalwell said in a brief floor speech after Macklin’s prayer. “He is a pillar of support to his members and under his leadership the church provides food, affordable housing, health care, and other resources to community members in need.”

“Given the overwhelming crises confronting our nation’s leaders and our world, there could be no more appropriate time to pray and seek God’s sovereign wisdom than now,” Macklin, 61, said in Swalwell’s news release.