Tag Archive: GOP

QOTD: Sure, Yes

This is a transcript of Andy Unanue, the current savior of the NJ Republican Party’s effort to win a statewide race, where he defends himself against the charge of being drunk on the job by saying he was just hung over.

Q: Did you hear some testimony regarding your drinking alcohol [on the job]?

A: Yeah.

Q: Were you ever drunk in the office at GFI’s [Goya Foods] headquarters?

A: No

Q: Were you ever drunk in any other offices where you worked?

A: No.

Q: Were you ever hung over in the office?

A: Sure, yes.

“Sure, yes.” he says.  As if this were a normal occurrence for an officer of a major corporation to show up to the office hung over.

If that’s what he did while managing the family business, imagine what he would do in the US Senate.

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.

GOP Playbook: When In Doubt, Scream Terrorism

True to form, with the prospect of some of the most right-wing members of the legislature losing their seats to Democrats, Republicans in Jersey have decided to play the terror card. September 11 is not a distant memory for most in this state, and the GOP knows it. So they’re really left with no other way to go after an increasing Democratic majority than by appealing to fear.

The New York Times wrote up a comprehensive review of their tactics this morning. Here are the most galling examples. I think you’ll agree that the charges of terrorist sympathy are stretches at best and straight up lies at worst.

  • In Bergen County’s 39th LD, incumbent Senator and right-wing lunatic Gerald Cardinale is attacking Democratic challenger Joe Ariyan because Ariyan’s law partner is an Arab-American who is involved with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The ADC is a favorite target of David Horowitz, whose front-groups are clearly the source of the Cardinale campaign’s talking points. But according to Cardinale’s own wife, the state chapter of the Anti Defamation League has refused to condemn the ADC, denying that they are aligned with terrorists, calling them “benign.” This whisper campaign against Ariyan has only started peaking its head in the press, but it’s widely expected that the GOP will be doing a heavy direct mail campaign on this to close out the election.
  • In Burlington County’s 8th LD, Democratic Assembly challenger Tracy Riley is being attacked because her husband is the court-appointed public defender for one of the men accused of plotting a terror attack on Fort Dix. Mail sent to voters in the district shows photos of masked men with guns overlaid with the question, “Tracey Riley: Whose values will she represent in Trenton? Ours? Or theirs?”
  • In Toms River’s mayoral race, Democratic challenger Richard Strada is being attacked by the incumbent Republican’s campaign for holding an interfaith panel as the dean at Ocean County College, which was attended by an associate of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. The associate, Mohamed Nabeel Elmasry, was not invited by Strada, who was also unaware of his association with Rahman.

In the case of both Ariyan and Strada, their Republican opponents had conducted polling (some called it push-polling) that implied that the Democrats supported terrorism. And in all three races, Republican favorites are feeling the heat from Democratic challengers.

Sadly, this is what we’ve become used to from Republicans in New Jersey and across the nation. Since September 11, every time they’re in trouble, they pull the proverbial fire alarm and scream terrorism at the top of their lungs. It’s interesting to note that this time, the media doesn’t seem to be buying it. Though the Times is the first to give this trend its attention this election cycle, PoliticsNJ reporters Matt Friedman and Max Pizarro have been on these stories from the start (check here, here, and here for examples).

We can only hope that the voters are as astute as the reporters in sifting through these Republican scare tactics and recognizing them for what they are — baseless garbage.

The $300 plastic cup

It sounds like guests of yesterday’s gala event with the President had the red, errr… tin foil carpet rolled out for them.  Tucked in the Gloucester County Times article is this little piece of info…

Only a handful of legislators attended the event held at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, where attendees drank from plastic cups and were entertained by the Montgomery High School Jazz Band, an award-winning group from Wilson’s hometown of Killman.

I’m sure the band was fantastic and well worth the show, but plastic cups?  Why not just go with styrofoam?  I know you don’t pay for the food at fundraisers, but i might be a little insulted being given the plastic for a $300 event.

So lets recap:  many were afraid to acknowledge publicly they were attending, only a handful of legislators actually did attend, those who came had to drink out of plastic cups and the media were forced to move their TV trucks because the owner of the property didn’t want to acknowledge he was holding the event.  So with all this wondeful information, what did the NY Times have to say?

The most prominent New Jersey Republican officials on hand were the party’s top leaders in the Legislature: Leonard Lance, Senate minority leader, and Alex DeCroce, Assembly minority leader.

The event also played out without a hitch, in contrast to what happened last year when Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Newark for a fund-raiser on behalf of Mr. Kean, the Senate candidate.

Mr. Kean was tardy after taking the usually traffic-clogged Route 1 from Trenton rather than the speedier New Jersey Turnpike. That generated speculation that while Mr. Kean wanted the money that was raised ($400,000), he did not want to be photographed with the vice president.

Wow, has the bar been lowered so much that as long as you don’t give a pathetic excuse, the event went off without a hitch?  Yeah, sounds like a huge success to me.

Update:  While i’ve had alot of fun railing on this event for the past few weeks and the plastic cups may not be a huge issue, I think the fact that they only raised $700,000 having the President of the United States in town is very telling.  Compare that number with the fact that in Dec. 2003, the Star Ledger reported on Dec 2. that Bush took $1 M for his campaign at an event in Morris County.  In July 2001, The Bergen Record on July 31 reported that Vice President Cheney raised $3.5 million for Gubernatorial Candidate Bret Schundler.  In fact, in 1999, Bush earned $800,000 for the assembly republicans alone, not even the State Party. 

Allow NJ to serve as an example

The time is going to come to pay the piper for the misgivings and misspendings of the GOP run amok the past six years.  It is not going to be an easy pill to swallow.  But before the GOP gets a chance to start playing the game, and trying to set a trap of blaming the Democrats for being “tax and spend” crazy, please allow me to offer you New Jersey up as an example of what happens when you allow “Borrow and Spend” policies to rule the land.

It is easy to blame the “tax and spend” Democrats, but really, if you look at the root cause of this problem, it was the “Borrow and Spend” tactics of Kean Sr. and Whitman that we are now being forced to pay for that is the biggest problem.  If the State wasn’t so bogged down with debt, and so many tax dollars being spent to service the debt of Republican scammers that don’t spend any less, but cut taxes leaving a huge debt load, we wouldn’t be in this position.

If people didn’t lose their collective minds when Florio raised the sales tax to cover the misspending and out of balance budget of the Kean years, that extra what would it be now 14 years (or so) of paying down the debt load, instead of just adding to it while Christie Whitman cut taxes while continuing to spend, maybe just maybe we wouldn’t be in this deep hole.  But we are.  The time has come to pay up.  New Jersey residents are not happy about it.  We are suffering through some severe pains in Property Taxes and such, and now must endure more in a Sales Tax increase before things get better.

But the key to all of this is, that if we hadn’t had such a burden of debt layed upon us by “Conservative” ideals that cut taxes and spent, we wouldn’t be in this position.

We cannot allow our National debts to carry on this way as well.  We need to balance the budget and pay-off our debts now!  Before it becomes an unmanageable burden as it did here.  Just remember, it was your (the GOP that is of course) fiscal irresponsibility that put us in this position.  Don’t go crying when you are asked to ante up your share to pay it off.

GOP Franked Campaign Lit

My friends in the PA 6th are writing to the Phil. Inq. and other papers, objecting to the fact that Rep. Gerlach, who is in one of the tightest House races in the country in a rematch against Lois Murphy has sent three franked campaign pieces out.  They refer to it as “unethical, if not
illegal, franked mail.”

Is this standard practice?  Do NJ incumbents use their franking privileges for campaign lit? 

GOP campaign law violation in CO

I think we can expect these kind of tactics in NJ too.

Dems cry foul over GOP fundraiser invitation

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency violated federal campaign laws by allowing his name and title to appear on an invitation to a fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Rick O’Donnell, the chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party alleged Friday.

Party leader Pat Waak filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, asking for an investigation into any laws that may have been broken in relation to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson’s appearance Thursday at a $300-a-plate fundraising lunch for O’Donnell in Denver.

“By exploiting Mr. Johnson’s role as EPA administrator, Mr. Johnson and the O’Donnell campaign have jeopardized what should be a distinct separation between public policy and partisan politicking,” Waak wrote.

O’Donnell is the lone Republican candidate running for the 7th Congressional District seat being vacated by Bob Beauprez. O’Donnell officially resigned Friday from his job as director of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to campaign full-time.Officials from the O’Donnell campaign and the EPA have denied any wrongdoing in regard to Johnson’s visit.

The federal Hatch Act allows presidential appointees to stump on their own time for their favorite candidates, but it prohibits them from listing their titles on the invitations.

The subject line of an invitation e-mailed last week on behalf of former state health department Director Doug Benevento invited potential donors to a “Fundraiser with Administrator of EPA Stephen L. Johnson for Rick O’Donnell.”

The attached invitation was titled, “Fundraiser with Administrator of EPA.”

Benevento hosted the lunch at his Denver law firm, Greenberg Traurig, where he has practiced law since resigning from his state job Dec. 30.

He said Friday that the e-mail originated from his office, and that he was accountable for it. He said the e-mail did not violate the Hatch Act, since a government official didn’t send it.

“The fact of the matter is, a private citizen took it upon himself to change the subject line and sent an e-mail that was not approved by our campaign or the EPA,” O’Donnell campaign manager KC Jones said.

“Doug Benevento has apologized profusely and has said, ‘I did this. I did not know it was wrong. I’m sorry,’ ” she said.

Democrats said that Benevento was just taking the fall for the Republican Party.

“It’s the same culture of corruption stuff,” said Kate Bedingfield, regional spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“It’s tweaking the law here and bending the law there for personal gain.”

Beware of informational CDs, especially from the GOP

This tactic is pretty vile, not to mention using an anti-gay marriage amendment to bring out the GOP base.  (I also have a copy of a pretty vile mailer from the GOP regarding the election this year, which I’ll have to scan or type in.  Later)  I agree with the guy who says these should go straight to the round file. 

Go to Minn Public radio to see a draft of the packaging:

GOP peers into voters’ data with CD

On Monday, the Minnesota Republican Party announced that it will send out CD videos on Friday to inform voters about the importance of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. It turns out the CD is also being used to add to the GOP voter database. Officials with the Republican Party say certain voter data is being collected by the party. Internet privacy experts say they’re concerned that the party isn’t telling the viewer that it’s collecting the data and worry where the information will end up.

St. Paul, Minn. — The GOP says they intend to send thousands of the CD-roms to a wide array voters who may be concerned about the issue of gay marriage. The compact discs contain video clips from four of Minnesota’s top elected officials. They talk about the cultural dangers of gay marriage, activist judges and why an amendment is needed to keep marriage between one man and one woman…

Republican Party Chair Ron Carey said the video is an attempt to get the DFL Senate to vote on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. At the CD’s unveiling, he never mentioned that the party is also using the video to collect information about those who view the video.

Here’s how it works:

To watch the video, a person has to log onto the Internet and punch in an identity code that tells the party who is watching the video. Once the video is going, viewers are asked questions on certain subjects like abortion, the Second Amendment and their party preference.

Party officials distributed test copies of the CDs to the media and have been open with the technology. They were no disclaimers that the data was being collected and transmitted.

Mark Drake, with the Minnesota Republican Party, says information provided through the CD will be sent to a server and will be used by the parties.

Initially Drake said people who were going to receive the CD should assume the data is being collected because the video is sent by the GOP, is interactive and that the viewer has to provide their personal information. He says the CD packets will now specify that the Republican Party is collecting certain information.

Political parties and candidates spend a lot of time and money collecting voter information especially since Minnesota doesn’t require voters to declare a political party. The groups used to collect the data with good old-fashioned shoe leather and a clipboard or by paying for subscriber lists. Drake says the CD-ROM is the latest way to collect the information.

“It’s an ageless part of American politics and I don’t think it’s anything that is particularly a big deal beyond that it’s high tech. It’s not different than 30 years ago filling out a voter survey in your kitchen and then mailing it in,” he said.

Drake also pointed to Internet surveys by the DFL Party and Education Minnesota as similar examples.

But some privacy advocates disagree. They argue that someone who submits a survey on those sites is actively providing information. It’s not clear on the Republican CD that the data is being transmitted back to the Republicans, or even what other data about the user is being extracted and sent.

Lillie Coney, the associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, says the GOP CD should clearly indicate that the packet is not only a video on gay marriage, but a tool to collect voter data.

“Any time the consumer is providing information to an entity and they’re not aware of how that information is being used or what purpose the information may be put to, they’re at a disadvantage,” according to Coney. “It’s easier to tell people what’s going on. It makes for better relations.”

Coney also says she has concerns that the data could be accessed by a third party.

International Falls based CH Consulting is the company that produced the video for the GOP. Christa Heibel, the CEO of the company, says specific firewalls have been added to ensure that the voter information is protected. That was after Minnesota Public Radio was able to access some of the data that was collected during testing.

She also says the public should know through the CD’s packaging and by other means that voters will be sharing information with the Republican Party.

“The packaging specifically uses the word ‘interactive’, the presentation after each of the questions that we are asking uses the words ‘submit’ and ‘continue’ and I think the party has been very upfront about the fact that they are obviously asking for this information to receive that data back and they care about what the voter has to say.”

Reaction to the CD has created quite a stir on blogs, Internet message boards and in the state Capitol.

DFL Sen. Steve Kelley of Hopkins, a candidate for governor, is also one of the leaders on technology issues at the Capitol. Kelley, who issued a statement warning consumers about the CD, says the public should be cautious whenever they are asked to submit information to a third party.

“I think with this CD, for example, in order to make sure that their privacy is protected, the best solution is to throw it in the trash can,” Kelley said.

Kelley is one of the author of the state’s Internet privacy laws in 2001 with then representative Tim Pawlenty. That law prevents Internet Service Providers from collecting personal information but didn’t prevent third parties from collecting it.

Republican challengers trained to disenfranchise voters

From Democratic State Committee spokesman Rich McGrath:

“Today, attorneys for the Corzine for Governor Campaign and the State Democratic Party challenged an apparent statewide effort by the Republican State Committee to train its Election Day workers to challenge voters based on signature comparisons. Responding to numerous complaints received by the Democratic campaigns, the Attorney General issued the following directive making clear that such challenges violate New Jersey election laws and informing Election Board officials statewide to prevent the reoccurrence of these practices anywhere in New Jersey.”

An excerpt from the Attorney General Memo (11/08/05):

As you further know, in terms of the signature comparison process, it is the exclusive duty of the district board workers to compare signatures. This process must be done openly and in the full view of the challengers, but the challengers cannot engage in this process.