Author Archive: Church Street

Saxton and the Scent of Scandal

A scandal most foul is bubbling up like raw sewerage around House Republicans in Washington, and a whiff of the scandal is wafting around retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ3).

House GOP officials acknowledged on Thursday that the longtime and trusted treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee may have skimmed as much as $1 million from the committee. From today’s WaPo:

For at least four years, Christopher J. Ward, who is under investigation by the FBI, used wire transfers to funnel money out of the NRCC and into other political committees he controlled, then shifted the funds into his own personal accounts, the committee said.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Ward is treasurer of SAXPAC, Saxton’s leadership PAC formed in 2005.

If It Sounds Too Good to be True …

On Monday, Hopeful shared the news that the Justice Department had settled an eight-year-old case brought by the EPA, eight states (including NJ), and environmental groups seeking to force Ohio-based utility American Electric Power to reduce emissions from its coal-fired power plants. “Now, any settlement by the Bush administration should be examined carefully,” Hopeful warned, “but the initial reporting is good.”

Hopeful’s healthy skepticism no doubt was rooted in BushCo’s history of giving polluters a pass, and of giving a little with one hand while taking a lot more with the other.

Sure enough, a closer examination of the “history-making settlement” hailed  by environmentalists reveals that the deal represents “a significant victory for the power industry.” From today’s WaPo:

Buried in paragraph 133 of the consent decree, in which the utility agreed to install $4.6 billion in pollution-control measures at 16 existing plants and pay $75 million in penalties, is a section that assures AEP that the government will not pursue any action stemming from the “modification” of these plants between now and Dec. 31, 2018. The EPA has inserted similar language in other settlements.

As I understand it, the settlement gives AEP the green light to upgrade plants and expand output without being subject to “New Source Review” and higher clean-air standards.

The language of the settlement indicates that the administration has not wavered in its distaste for a Clinton-era policy of using the law to force power plants to upgrade their pollution controls whenever they significantly update or expand a plant. That marks a significant victory for the power industry, which has strenuously opposed the “New Source Review,” saying that it penalizes them for efficiency improvements that
ultimately benefit consumers and the environment.

The lesson is one that Hopeful obviously grasped: Never breathe easy with BushCo in charge.

Saxton: Going Down with the SCHIP?

Really good analysis. Promoted from the diaries — Juan

NJ3’s Jim Saxton figured prominently in a September 21 “CQ Today” piece on House GOP moderates. Reading it now, it seems ? quaint.

For much of his career, Rep. H. James Saxton has been sidetracked – a moderate Republican brushed aside by ambitious conservatives who ruled the caucus.

These days, the New Jersey lawmaker has quietly become a leader in a drive by moderates to increase their clout just when the party needs them most.

Just a few days later, Saxton threw off his moderation and voted against a modest increase in the popular SCHIP insurance program for needy kids. And he threw in with the red-scaring crowd of scared Red Staters raising the (false) alarm that expanding SCHIP starts the slide to “socialized medicine.”

Wile E. Saxton

Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ3) looks more and more like a cartoon character standing on the edge of a cliff. With his GOP brethren, he’s got the Iraq War hanging like a stone around his neck, made even heavier by his shameful record on the House Armed Services Committee green-lighting the Bush Administration’s ill-advised, incompetently managed, and apparently endless war.

He added more weight yesterday by voting against a modest expansion of the popular SCHIP children’s insurance program, alienating thousands of constituents and millions of uninsured Americans.

Grassroots Sexton ad; Kean on Hewitt tonight

Another grassroots ad for Rich Sexton.

This one slams Jim Saxton for his Armed Services Committee’s “midnight rider” closing the only office performing oversight on the expenditure of $20 billion Iraq reconstruction funds.

Saxton’s biggest vulnerability, IMHO, is rubberstamping Bush on HASC. Honestly, I can’t understand how he can  sleep at night.

PS: Kean on lunatic right-wing radio talker Hugh Hewitt sometime before 9pm. Hewitt posts transcripts quickly on www.radioblogger.com

(A little more.)

Fabulous Cakewalk for Sexton

Reporting on our Halloween Cakewalk for Rich Sexton through the streets of our NJ-3 town.

Truth is, we almost punked out. (“Whose idea was this, anyway?”) But we screwed up our courage, headed out, and spent about 2 hours cakewalking through goblin-infested streets, ringing doorbells, and singing our ditty. Watch it here.

The good news is that our reception was overwhelmingly positive. (Only one door slammed in our faces.) Better news is that most of those we “entertained” were planning to support Dems next week. The best news was that quite a few had actually seen and heard Rich Sexton at campaign events. (Sure, we live in Sexton’s hometown, but it’s still impressive, since Sexton has had no paid media.)

More.

Halloween “Cakewalk Canvas” for Sexton

Just wanted to share our plan to combine Halloween, music, and fun with a local canvass for Rich Sexton in the NJ-3. We’re calling it our “Cakewalk Canvass.”

Three of us will be dressing in red, white, and blue with Lady Liberty headpieces. We’ve composed a little ditty sung to the tune of “Happy Days are Here Again”:

If you can’t abide the state we’re in
If you want a change in Wash-ing-ton
Make a better world for your kith and kin
Vote for Democrat Rich Sex-ton.