Campaign 2010

Oct 19, 2010

District by District: House Republicans are Plagued by Scandal and Lies

House Republican candidates across the country faced tough news stories last week, including ties to a motorcycle gang known as an organized crime syndicate, supporting Nazi enthusiasts, abolishing public schools, and failure to pay millions of dollars in debt to the government.

Below is a sample of last week’s coverage of the Republicans’ flawed candidates and Members:

Allen West (FL-22) – Allen West is tied to a disturbing motorcycle gang that denigrates women and engages in criminal activity

“NBC News late Friday reported that Republican challenger Allen West, who is running in a tight race against Rep. Ron Klein, ignored a supporter's warning not to invite the Outlaws, a national motorcycle gang, to a campaign bike riding event earlier this year. In its report, NBC said it obtained an exchange of e-mails between West and an unidentified supporter who warned, ‘criminal organization members in leather riding up [I-]95 is not the picture Allen wants.’ West, NBC says, replied: ‘Please, no more references to criminal,’ adding, ‘I was never more amazed at how members of the Outlaws guarded me during an interview.’” [Miami Herald, 10/16/10]

Minority Leader John Boehner (OH-08) – Minority Leader John Boehner still donated to Nazi enthusiast Rich Iott’s campaign

“The Republican party has all but given up on its Nazi-reenacting candidate Rich Iott. But that doesn't mean they've cut him off entirely. The Freedom Project, chaired by House Republican Leader John Boehner, is a Political Action Committee dedicated to electing Republican candidates. And look who they still support: Rich Iott. The month before the pictures of Iott dressed as a member of Hitler's Waffen SS surfaced, The Freedom Project gave Iott $5000. Not an overwhelming figure, but not nothing either. And though the NRCC yanked him off their list of ‘Contenders’ when the news broke, The Freedom Project still features him on their website.” [TPM, 10/18/10]

Jesse Kelly (AZ-08) – Jesse Kelly is connected to an anti-Semitic, white supremacist group

“Republican Jesse Kelly is backed by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), an advocacy group based in Raleigh, N.C. that, according to its website, ‘supports candidates who oppose any amnesty plan that would eventually make illegal immigrants voters.’… In a March statement, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said the group is ‘is backed by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.’” [The Hill, 10/18/10]

David Harmer (CA-11) – David Harmer advocated for abolishing public schools

“He's advocated eliminating public schools entirely and returning education to ‘the way things worked through the first century of American nationhood,’ when educational opportunities for poor people, African-Americans, women, the disabled, and others were, to say the least, extremely limited… Harmer's views on education—he's referred to public schools as ‘socialism in education’—are far from mainstream. They don't align with those of his own party's gubernatorial candidate: In her final debate against former Gov. Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman advocated strengthening California's public schools.” [Mother Jones, 10/13/10]

Bill Flores (TX-17) – Bill Flores only repaid $3 million of a $10.5 million debt he owed to the U.S. Government

“Flores, a retired Bryan energy executive, has touted his business experience in his quest to unseat the 20-year incumbent, in a race that has gained national attention. In particular, he has touted his role in turning around a failing oil and gas company, glossing over the fact that part of that effort included a 1992 bankruptcy. The subsidiary at which he was a vice president, Marine Rig 200, repaid just $3 million out of $10.5 million owed to the U.S. Maritime Administration.” [Dallas Morning News, 10/12/10]

Bill Flores (TX-17) – Bill Flores blamed a headache for suggesting that he would like to raise the retirement age

“Bill Flores, [Representative Chet Edward’s] GOP rival, first suggested he'd be open to raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 and then sought to explain away his remarks by saying he had been suffering from ‘a headache’ when he made them. Flores' made his original comment during a taping of a Texas political TV show, hosted by longtime reporter Brad Watson, and then subsequently called Watson and requested he not air the interview, employing the headache defense.” [Politico, 10/16/10]

David Rivera (FL-25) –There is no proof that David Rivera did consulting work for the government

“Over the past seven years, Republican state Rep. David Rivera repeatedly said in sworn documents that his main source of income, outside of his salary from the legislature, came from consulting work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development. But USAID has no record of ever hiring Rivera, now a candidate for Congress, or his company. ‘We do not have Mr. Rivera nor the corporations you referred to in our records,’ USAID press officer Annette Aulton told the Miami Herald in an e-mail.” [St. Petersburg Times, 10/12/10]

Charles Bass (NH-02) – Charles Bass may have violated House ethics rules

“A leading ethics watchdog said if Bass bought stock while in Congress and later helped set up a meeting with a Bush administration official, this would clearly violate House ethics rules. ‘This would have clearly been a conflict of interest and clearly an even more serious one had he not disclosed to the Energy Department he already had a financial interest in the company,’ said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington. ‘This is not a close call. We don’t have all that many members of Congress who have been found to have engaged in this conduct. Even those accused of this have faced some serious charges. If the facts were as you explained, this would be a big deal.’” [Nashua Telegraph, 10/14/10]

Stephen Fincher (TN-08) – Stephen Fincher derides government spending, but his farm received millions in state and federal farm subsidies

“Republican Stephen Fincher, who has spoken against government spending and ‘bailouts’ in his congressional campaign, applied for and received a $13,650 grant from the state Department of Agriculture last year, records show. The state grant is in addition to federal farm subsidies of at least $3.2 million he and his wife have received over the last 10 years…” [The Commercial Appeal, 10/14/10]

Frank Guinta (NH-01) – The source of Guinta’s personal campaign finances remains murky

“Questions continue to linger over the source of a great deal of money that Frank Guinta revealed in a July financial disclosure statement.” At least a quarter million dollars spent on his election supposedly come from savings from real estate development and insurance consulting jobs. However NHPR News reports, “We simply do not have enough information to know and he has yet to produce a bank statement to confirm his claims… Guinta might be a modest man. Or he might be a man of more modest means, means that fell short of the money he needed for his campaign.”  [NHPR News, 10/12/10]

Austin Scott (GA-08) –Austin Scott’s sealed divorce records should be opened

“According to [Charles] Richardson, what's sealed in the divorce records is potentially damning for Scott. In a recent radio appearance on WMAC-AM in Georgia, Richardson detailed what he said were rumors swirling of troubling ‘allegations’ regarding "a restraining order" and ‘domestic violence.’” [TPM, 10/18/10]

Blake Farenthold (TX-27) - NRCC Young Gun Blake Farenthold was photographed partying with scantily clad women

The cover of a local weekly magazine in Corpus Christi photographed NRCC Young Gun “contender” Blake Farenthold in duckie pajamas posing next to a scantily clad dressed woman. The NRCC claims that they have expanded their playing field and Farenthold “is supposedly part of that expanded playing field. The NRCC lists him as a ‘contender’ on their website -- the same tier on which they once placed Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott.” [TPM, 10/15/10]

Michael Grimm (NY-13) – Michael Grimm’s business broke numerous health code violations

“Bay Ridge GOP congressional hopeful Michael Grimm touts himself as a successful small businessman, but one of his bungled ventures mainly succeeded in racking up city health code violations. City health inspectors found ‘mice and flying insects’ as well as other sanitary violations inside Healthalicious, a health food restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East that Grimm co-owned… Grimm, who is looking to unseat freshman Rep. Mike McMahon (D-Bay Ridge), admits that he cut ties with Healthalicious…” [NY Post, 10/12/10]

Frank Guinta (NH-01) – Frank Guinta fled the scene of a bar brawl, stepping over the victim’s body on his way out the door

“…Republican Frank Guinta is trying to explain his behavior during a shocking altercation at a private club in Manchester while he was mayor of the state's largest city. Though any mention of a fight was omitted in the police dispatch report of the incident, transcripts of police interviews obtained by HuffPost show that a serious altercation took place. No action was ever taken and the victim declined to press charges. Guinta was present for the entire event but claims he was too engrossed with his BlackBerry to look up. He left before the ambulance arrived, reportedly stepping over the victim's body on his way out the door.” [The Huffington Post, 10/11/10]

Matt Doheny (NY-23) – Matt Doheny tried to hide his support for privatizing social security

Despite efforts to hide his support for privatizing Social Security, “..Mr. Doheny has said at least three times publicly that he supports reforming the system so that retirees decades from now could put at least a portion of their contributions into investments that they choose.” [Watertown Daily Times, 10/14/10]