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Tom McClintock quits House Freedom Caucus

Rep. Tom McClintock quit the House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday, saying the Tea Party-dominated group actually undermines conservative goals in Congress.

Tom McClintockMcClintock, R-Elk Grove, tendered his resignation to caucus chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the caucus’ moves during the near-shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security in Februrary; during the debate over Trade Promotion Authority in May; and last week regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran have actually helped defeat Republican aims.

Now, he wrote, the caucus has formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood. Though he has strongly opposed public funding of abortions through his entire political career, “this tactic promises only to shield Senate Democrats from their responsibility for a government shutdown and to alienate the public from the pro-life cause at precisely the time when undercover videos of Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices are turning public opinion in our favor.”

“A common theme through each of these incidents is a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to strip the House Republican majority of its ability to set the House agenda by combining with House Democrats on procedural motions. As a result, it has thwarted vital conservative policy objectives and unwittingly become Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally,” McClintock wrote. “I feel that the HFC’s many missteps have made it counterproductive to its stated goals and I no longer wish to be associated with it.”

Jordan issued a statement calling McClintock “a principled conservative and a valuable member of the House Republican Conference,” and saying the caucus “looks forward to continuing to work with him, as well as every one of our colleagues, to give a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them.”

Read the full text of McClintock’s letter to Jordan, after the jump…
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CA17: Honda hits Khanna again on work record

Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign has sent out another mailing claiming Democratic challenger Ro Khanna “resigned from Commerce Department after missing performance marks,” but when pressed, acknowledges there was no relation between the two.

Khanna’s campaign also is reiterating that he left the Commerce Department with plaudits from his superiors, and Khanna is now airing a new online ad calling attention to Honda’s attacks.

Click to enlarge:
Honda mailer 1

Honda mailer 2

The Honda mailer says Khanna “worked as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, where his department failed to meet four out of six performance targets. He resigned after just two years to switch careers again.”

As I wrote a few weeks ago of a previous Honda mailer, this claim is based on a Government Accountability Office report from September 2011 which gauged the success of the department’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in supporting President Obama’s National Export Initiative, launched in 2010. “In fiscal year 2012, CS will implement revised performance measures that align more closely with the NEI,” a summary says. “Although CS did not meet four of its six performance targets in 2010, it achieved increases in most of its measures as it shifted to address NEI priorities.”

Khanna was a Deputy Assistant Commerce Secretary from August 2009 to August 2011; his name does not appear anywhere in the 71-page GAO report. And Khanna’s campaign provided an August 2011 letter from Francisco Sanchez, then the Commerce Department’s Under Secretary for International Trade, commending Khanna for “leading an important agency during challenging economic times” and rendering valuable service to the nation.

Asked whether Honda is implying the GAO report led to Khanna’s departure from Commerce, spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said he stood by the quote he gave me last time. “We’re saying that Khanna has a record of trying to build his resume, rather than actual public service,” Kembaiyan had said. “This explains why he was so absent on the Parks & Rec commission, and why he left Commerce after just two years. He started raising money to run for Congress just one month after he left Commerce.”

In other words, whatever the mailer’s implication, they are NOT claiming Khanna left Commerce because of the GAO report.

Khanna spokesman Tyler Law said Honda “is continuing to mischaracterize Ro’s record.”

“But the facts are clear: Ro oversaw 108 domestic offices and implemented the President’s National Export Initiative, fought for labor to have a seat at the table, led clean technology trade missions abroad, and delivered a critical manufacturing grant to Fremont, amongst many other accomplishments. Frankly, the Honda campaign’s attempt to rewrite the truth is bizarre,” Law said. “Ro has run a positive campaign focusing on growing the economy to create good paying jobs, ensuring people have the skills needed in the 21st century, leading by example on government reform, and championing an internet bill of rights. These are the issues that are relevant to improving the lives of people in the 17th district — not Ro’s college election nearly two decades ago.”

Khanna launched this online ad Wednesday that features this very Honda mailer:

In other 17th Congressional District news, California Attorney General Kamala Harris attended a fundraiser for Honda on Tuesday night at the San Francisco home of venture capitalist Andy Rappaport and his wife, Deborah. “He has been an effective champion in Congress on behalf of California’s justice system and has been there for its residents on a range of issues: from fighting to end domestic violence, improving public safety, ensuring civil rights of all people are protected and putting a stop to drug trafficking,” Harris said of Honda in a news release issued Wednesday morning. “Silicon Valley needs Congressman Honda’s effective leadership and it is my sincere hope we can continue to gain from it for years to come.”

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CA17: Mike Honda’s political director resigns

The political director of Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign has quit, telling supporters the 17th Congressional District’s competitive nature “will require and deserve an increasingly greater commitment of time and energy.”

Lamar HeystekLamar Heystek wrote that he’s choosing instead “to begin devoting more time and energy to my wife, our son and the family we look forward to growing together,” as well as starting a new job as program development officer at ASIAN Inc., a San Francisco nonprofit working on behalf of Asian Americans and other minorities in areas such as business development, housing and financial education.

It sounds like there’s no bad blood between Heystek, 35, of San Francisco, and Honda, D-San Jose. “My faith and confidence in him and his campaign have been unshakable. He is an outstanding public servant and a great friend who will continue to receive my support and assistance.”

Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Honda’s campaign has been paying Heystek $6,000 per month.

Heystek, a former Davis councilman, departs as the 17th District race shifts into even higher gear for the sprint toward June 3’s top-two primary. Fellow Democrat Ro Khanna’s challenge has been making headlines for almost a year; Republican Vanila Singh got into the race at the start of 2014; and two other Republicans – Joel Vanlandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore – entered the race just before this month’s candidacy filing deadline.

Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said Wednesday that Heystek has been an important part of the campaign since joining it in 2011, helping to run its multi-lingual voter outreach and laying the groundwork for Honda’s overwhelming Democratic Party endorsement.

“Lamar’s departure from the campaign, so he can spend more time with his growing family, has been in the works for months and the transition has been smooth,” Kembaiyan said. “We miss seeing Lamar everyday, but thanks in part to his dedication and hard work, Congressman Honda’s campaign is in its strongest position ever and we are continuing full speed ahead into the primary.”

Read Heystek’s entire email, after the jump…
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Nadia Lockyer interview to air later this week

Former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer – wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer – apparently has given a Bay Area television station an interview on her recovery from methamphetamine addiction.

Lockyer, 42, of Hayward, posted a message on her Facebook page Monday indicating that KGO ABC7 News will “will be airing a 2-part story about my life,” with the first segment airing during the 11 p.m. newscast Thursday and the second at 11 p.m. Sunday.

Lockyer early in 2012 had claimed Stephen Chikhani attacked her in a Newark hotel room, but the state Justice Department investigated and eventually declined to charge him with any crime. As details emerged about Lockyer’s lengthy affair with Chikhani and their drug use, she resigned her supervisorial seat in April 2012.

Bill Lockyer, 72, filed for divorce a few months later, citing “irreconcilable differences” and seeking joint physical and legal custody of their son. Then Nadia Lockyer was arrested in August 2012 in Orange County and charged with felony methamphetamine possession and three misdemeanors: being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and child abuse and endangerment. She spent several months in a residential rehabilitation program and now remains under court supervision; her next progress report is scheduled for Nov. 14.

But her husband announced in March that he had withdrawn the divorce papers in hope of reconciling for their son’s sake. When he announced in June that he’ll not seek the state controller’s office next year and instead retire from public office, he said he was “looking forward to family reunification.”

Nadia Lockyer in April 2012 gave the Bay Area News Group an exclusive, videotaped interview in which she apologized to her constituents and promised to focus on her family and recovery from addiction, but many of her troubles were still ahead of her at that time. It’ll be interesting to hear what she says now that she (hopefully) has finished this awful roller-coaster ride and started moving on with her life.

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State Senator resigns, takes job with Chevron

Cue the feeding frenzy: A California State Senate seat just became available.

State Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, announced today he’s resigning effective immediately and has accepted a job as manager of California government affairs for San Ramon-based oil giant Chevron Corp.

“As many of you know, a little over a year ago I decided not to run for the United States Congress to meet the needs of my growing family,” Rubio said in a statement issued today. “My time serving since then has been a blessing, but it has also been a challenge. I have missed too many family dinners, bedtime stories and parent-teacher conferences. My wife and I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters, from whom we have learned a great deal.”

“Our youngest child, who has special needs, has given me great perspective as to life’s priorities and our eldest has reminded me that the most critical decisions are made at home and not under the Capitol dome,” he continued. “I have realized that my current professional path has left little opportunity to be home for those who are most important to me, which is why I am making a change.”

Rubio said his job with Chevron means working for a respected company “with deep roots in Kern County near the very oil fields where I was born. I am truly grateful for the rare opportunity to serve and the support I have been given. Thank you to everyone who made it possible. In my absence, Senate staff will remain in the district and Capitol offices to respond to the needs of residents of the 16th State Senate District – as they have always done.”

Rubio was elected to the 16th District in November 2010, representing all or portions of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties; at 35, he has been the state Senate’s youngest member. Earlier, he was a Kern County supervisor.

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Berkeley’s Steven Chu resigning from cabinet

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced he’ll resign from President Barack Obama’s cabinet as soon as a successor is confirmed.

Chu, 64, is a Bay Area local: a former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and a University of California, Berkeley professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology. Earlier, he taught at Stanford.

“Serving as Secretary of Energy during such a momentous and important time has been incredibly demanding but enormously rewarding,” he wrote in a letter to department employees today. “While I will always remain dedicated to the missions of the Department, I informed the President of my decision a few days after the election that Jean and I were eager to return to California. I would like to return to an academic life of teaching and research, but will still work to advance the missions that we have been working on together for the last four years.”

From President Obama:

“I want to thank Secretary Chu for his dedicated service on behalf of the American people. As a Nobel Prize winning scientist, Steve brought to the Energy Department a unique understanding of both the urgent challenge presented by climate change and the tremendous opportunity that clean energy represents for our economy. And during his time as Secretary, Steve helped my Administration move America towards real energy independence. Over the past four years, we have doubled the use of renewable energy, dramatically reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and put our country on a path to win the global race for clean energy jobs. Thanks to Steve, we also expanded support for our brightest engineers and entrepreneurs as they pursue groundbreaking innovations that could transform our energy future. I am grateful that Steve agreed to join in my Cabinet and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“Secretary Chu is a brilliant man who understands the importance of addressing the threat posed by climate change and has helped put America on a path toward energy independence and a clean energy future.”