Sunday, February 26, 2006

More Pombo Corruption

Tri-Valley Herald:
"California Republican Richard Pombo hits the road plenty as chairman of
the House Resources Committee. Now, the road is hitting back.

taking over the wide-ranging panel, a Sacramento Bee review shows, Pombo has
kicked up its travel spending beyond almost every other congressional committee.
He has authorized several hundred thousand dollars worth of staff trips funded
by special interests. And now, an extended family outing for which taxpayers
picked up the cost for an RV is highlighting benefits and costs of all this

"If elected," Pombo's Republican primary challenger and former GOP
congressman, Pete McCloskey, declared Friday, "I can promise the taxpayers I
will pay for any trips I take to the national parks."

In hopes of shaking the seven-term incumbent, the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee on Friday posted on its Internet site a two-minute television
ad attacking Pombo. While thead specifically targets Pombo's newly controversial
August 2003 trip — a trip that some park officials tell The Bee they don't
recall — it also paints with a broader brush.


Only one out of 21 House committees reported
spending more on domestic travel than Pombo's panel, congressional records show.
Pombo believes in the outside view so much that he has allowed his committee's
chief of staff, Steve Ding, to live in Stockton even while he is overseeing the
52-member panel's Republican employees. In the past three years, records show,
Congress has paid $87,000 for Ding's travel between the two coasts.

Pombo inadvertently highlighted a different kind of travel by having the
committee spend $4,935.87 to rent an RV in August 2003.
More... (Source)

Knight Ridder:

"As chair of the influential committee, Pombo has pushed to speed up
applications for tribal recognition, drafted a change in Indian gambling law
control so-called ``reservation shopping'' -- tribes seeking casino sites
outside traditional reservations -- and helped enable tribes to develop
own energy projects.

And in three years, tribes, their members and lobbyists (including the
disgraced Jack Abramoff) and other gambling interests have poured more than
$500,000 into Pombo's coffers, making him the third-leading beneficiary of
Indian money in Congress.

That generosity allowed Pombo to funnel nearly $350,000 to the GOP and its
candidates in the 2003-04 election cycle, helping to burnish his party
leadership status.

It also has drawn Pombo, by association, into the maelstrom around
Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to federal fraud changes and agreed to help
investigators probing corruption in Congress."

More... (Source)


"Duane Gibson, a Washington lobbyist under federal scrutiny in the Jack
Abramoff scandal, helped raise money for a California congressman who championed
legislation that would benefit Western mining interests that Gibson

Last fall, Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy), chairman of the House Resources
Committee, attached an amendment to a budget bill — without hearings or floor
debate — that would have opened national forest and other public land to mining.
The so-called Pombo provision passed the House, but was deleted from the bill in
the Senate when several Western state senators and governors complained that it
would endanger vast portions of federal land.

Three months before Pombo inserted the amendment, Gibson and his lobbying
firm had a $1,000-a-head fundraiser for the congressman. Although the total
raised at the July event is not known, Gibson contributed $1,000, and additional
donations came from mining companies, including at least one that Gibson has

Washington lobbying —A Monday correction dealing with a Feb. 8 Section A article on a lobbyist's ties to Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy) said the House had held hearings on a mining reform provision backed by Pombo but had not debated it on the House floor. A House member held hearings on mining reform in general, but not on the provision."



(El Cajon, CA), gave Pombo $1000

8/11/2003 - Off Road Warehouse (San Diego, CA), gave Pombo $1000

8/12/2003 - Southern Motorcycle (San Diego, CA), , gave Pombo $1000

8/13/2003 - Off Road Business Assoc (Lakeside, CA), gave Pombo $2000

8/17/2003 - Cycle Parts (La Mesa, CA), gave Pombo $10008/18/2003 - Dune Buggy
Enterprises (Whittier, CA), gave Pombo $500

8/18/2003 - McMillin Homes (Lakeside, CA), gave Pombo $500 (Corey McMillin
was a major supporter of the Off Road Business Association)

8/18/2003 - Michelle Cassella (Perris, CA), gave Pombo $500 (on Board of
Directors of District 37, American Motorcyclist Association)ON

DIEGO ON CALIFORNIA DESERT -- and the only witnesses are off-road industry reps
(see donation list above) and local anti-environmental politicians!" (Source)

Rocket Fuel, Levees, and Freeways

Pombo has been quite active locally as of late. Ever since the influence peddling, his aide's trouble, and the tax payer funded vacation -stories came to light, he's been buisy doing conference calls, meetings, and public events, in his own district.

AP: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, want Congress to approve $50 million to clean up perchlorate contamination in California. (Source)

Tracy Press: "...Wednesday after he spent the morning speaking about economic challenges that face San Joaquin County at a business group’s annual meeting...Pombo, R-Tracy, boarded a helicopter with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others to get a bird’s-eye view of the levees protecting Sacramento and along the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta." (Source)

SfChron: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an emergency declaration Friday that he says will speed improvements of delta levees in need of urgent repair.

The emergency declaration has been pushed by some Republican lawmakers who see it as a way of sidestepping environmental regulations for flood-control projects.

Schwarzenegger told reporters that the timing of his announcement stemmed from worry over levee failure, not worry over buttressing his image with GOP party faithful. He issued the declaration less than an hour before arriving at the state Republican convention in San Jose. He said the proclamation would accelerate work on 24 severely eroded portions of levees." (Source)

Tracy Press: "Pombo, R-Tracy, met with officials from cities and counties in his congressional district who are asking that he crack open the federal government’s piggy bank to build freeway interchanges, widen roads and strengthen flood-control levees." (Source)

Tri-Valley Herald: "Pushing a regional agenda, local leaders told Congressman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, that the five Valley cities could use federal help to work cooperatively to prepare for emergency response and recovery.

Pombo, who met with leaders from Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Contra Costa and Alameda counties Tuesday, listened to elected officials and staff members detail local priorities.
Central to their request is assistance for a radio communication system — which may cost between $50 million to $100 million — that could be used in both Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Emergency responders currently operate on different systems.
Discussion of the Valley's traffic congestion, as well as Interstate 580's importance as a route from the Port of Oakland to the Central Valley, prompted Pombo to note that planning for transportation corridors and statewide movement of people and goods needs a greater look."

Tri-Valley Herald: "Pombo, who steered clear of national issues, said the biggest items on his agenda are energy and transportation.
"A lot of people don't realize the (energy) crisis we are in," he said." (Source)

Tracy Press: "Recent studies suggest that smelt and striped bass populations in the Delta have reached record lows, and some Washington lawmakers want to know why.
House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, has called for a committee oversight field hearing in Stockton at 8 a.m. Monday to examine Delta fisheries’ populations in the San Francisco Bay-San Joaquin Delta." (Source)

'Dirty Dick Pombo'

"Dancing Around Congress’ Ethics Rules

Richard Pombo exemplifies the Republican Culture of Corruption in the House of Representatives. He uses his position of power to benefit his family, engages in pay to play politics with energy companies and Indian tribes with ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and is a close ally of indicted former GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay. " (Source)

The DCCC is targeting Pombo with a new campaign, complete with a billboard contest, website, and a dancing 'Dirty Dick Pombo.'


Friday, February 24, 2006

Pombo Implicated in Report on Corruption

Mydd: list of Republicans implicated by the report.

Implicated in America for Sale
Current/Former GOP Congressional Leaders
Fmr. Rep. Dick Armey* (TX) 74, 80, 84, 92, 101Roy Blunt (MO) 107John
Boehner* (OH) 10, 78, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97Eric Cantor (VA)
107Tom DeLay (TX) 4, 6, 35, 36, 67, 68, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 92, 93, 96, 98,
99, 102, 103, 104, 107, 110, 111John T. Doolittle (CA) 67, 68, 86, 109Dennis
Hastert (IL) 15, 68, 71, 74, 107, 109Fmr. Rep. Bill Paxon* (NY) 92, 93Deborah
Pryce (OH) 109 Fmr. Rep. J.C. Watts (OK) 74
Current/Former US Congressional
Joe Barton* (TX) 35, 36Kevin Brady (TX) 110 John Culberson (TX) 110
Fmr. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (CA) 6, 65, 66, 67Tom Feeney (FL) 108Virgil Goode
(VA) 66Doc Hastings* (WA) 81Duncan Hunter* (CA) 67Joe Knollenberg (MI) 52Steven
C. LaTourette (OH) 106, 107 Jerry Lewis* (CA) 67Jim McCrery (LA) 108 Candice S.
Miller (MI) 16Bob Ney* (OH) 105, 106 Michael Oxley* (OH) 95Richard Pombo* (CA)
86Hal Rogers (KY) 51Dana Rohrabacher (CA) 31Pete Sessions (TX) 110 Fmr. Rep.
Billy Tauzin* (LA) 17, 35, 37Don Young* (AK) 106, 107*Denotes Current/Former
Committee Chairs
Current, Former GOP Administrative Officials
Brown- 53, 62Vice President Dick Cheney- 29, 30, 34, 35, 59, 60Philip A. Cooney-
31Timothy Flanigan- 84J. Steven Griles- 31, 111, 112John McManus- 17Julie L.
Myers- 53Gale Norton- 107, 111, 112Phillip J. Perry- 50Karl Rove- 61, 85David
Safavian- 85, 106Thomas Scully- 16, 17
Current, Former Congressional
Ed Buckham (DeLay)- 81, 98, 104Tony Rudy (DeLay)- 96, 102, 110, 111
Michael Scanlon (DeLay)- 81, 96, 110 Neil Volz (Ney)- 106, 107
Jack Abramoff 2, 5, 6, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 95,96,
98-112Italia Federici 111, 112Adam Kidan- 106Ken Lay- 30Grover Norquist- 94, 98,
103, 111Ralph Reed- 103, 108

  • Report from the House - America for Sale: The Cost of Republican Corruption
    by Rep Louise Slaughter, Wed Feb 22, 2006 at 10:29:10 AM EST

Good morning folks. So here is our report, America for
Sale: The Cost of Republican Corruption
, which we released today to explain
how the corruption in Republican-controlled Washington has harmed our country.
It shows how the harmful policies Republicans have passed into law over
the past few years are the result of a corrupt process that gives "K Street
Project" lobbyists more power to shape legislation than the legislators the
people have elected to represent them in Washington.

Our report clearly demonstrates that when the GOP Congressional
leaders allow Republican lobbyists to set the agenda and write the bills, the
American people suffer the consequences. While the special interests walk away
with billions of dollars in tax breaks, subsidies, and federal contracts,
Americans must live with the bad laws this system produces. The political
corruption we associate with now-notorious figures such as Duke Cunningham and
Jack Abramoff comes at a very real cost to each and every one of us. - LMS

For the first time, this report tries to quantify the
damage the Republican Congress and Bush White House have inflicted on our
country. Here are a few numbers to consider:

*14.2 million American seniors (including millions of our sickest
and most vulnerable seniors) are stuck in a complicated, expensive, and
inefficient Medicare prescription drug program because the Republican Congress
and the Bush Administration allowed lobbyists from the insurance and
pharmaceutical industries to design this program.

*60 million American families who heat their homes with natural
gas and 8 million families who heat with heating oil are paying higher bills
this winter, even though the Republican Congress recently passed their "national
energy plan" into law. Although this plan gives the energy industry
billions in new tax breaks and subsidies, it doesn't lower prices for consumers
or make our country more energy independent.

*The 150,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Iraq may not have
the equipment they need because of waste, fraud and cronyism by the Republican
Congress and the Department of Defense. While Halliburton and other
companies with Republican connections get their contracts, our soldiers still
don't have the body armor and armored vehicles they need to fight the war.

*750,000 households in the Gulf region are still displaced today,
more than 5 months after Hurricane Katrina hit that region, at least in part
because the political hacks the Bush Administration put in charge of crucial
homeland security functions were not adequately prepared to prepare for or
respond to this disaster.

*More than 10 million students and their families will have larger
student loans to repay because House Republicans, led by new Majority Leader
John Boehner working hand-in-hand with his commercial loan industry allies, cut
$12 billion from the student loan program in the recent reconciliation bill and
shifted the costs on to students and their families.

These numbers, along with the many others documented in this
report, should deeply concern all Americans.

A true culture of corruption has developed under today's
Republican Congress and Republican White House, and the real-life costs it has,
and continues to have, for everyday Americans are staggering. The recent, and
unprecedented, subversion of our legislative process and federal government is
not simply an "inside the beltway" problem. America - all of America - is
literally for sale.

Our government is working on behalf of the special interests, not
the public interest, and the time for a change is long overdue. Here are few
examples taken from different sections of this report showing that Republican
politicians have taken care of special interests instead of the American people:

A Confusing and Expensive Medicare Program Millions of American
seniors have been forced into a confusing and expensive new Medicare drug
program that was not created for them, but for the insurance and drug industries
who were given special access to shape this legislation.

An Energy "Strategy" That Saves No Energy While American
consumers must live with an energy policy that the Energy Department itself has
found will not reduce our high oil and gas prices, the Republican Congress and
the Bush Administration have rewarded the oil companies with billions of dollars
in new tax breaks and subsidies.

Polluters Re-Writing Environmental Laws The quality of the
air we breathe and the water we drink has been degraded because energy lobbyists
temporarily working in the Bush Administration have undermined some of our
country's most important environmental standards.

A Nation Still Vulnerable to Terrorist Attacks No American
citizen can be sure that the billions of dollars the federal government is
spending on homeland security projects are making us safer, rather than just
making politically-connected defense contractors richer.

A Government Run by Political Hacks Americans have no
confidence that their government will be able to adequately respond if a
disaster (natural or man-made) strikes their community, because its agencies are
staffed not by professionals, but by political cronies and lobbyists like
Michael Brown, who botched the federal government's response to Hurricane

Fat Cats Get Their Defense Contracts, but Soldiers Don't Get Their
Body Armor American soldiers and their families don't know if they are
going to have the body armor and other supplies they need to fight in Iraq,
because Members of Congress are instead steering hundreds of millions of dollars
to defense contracts for products and services the military often says it does
not need and, at the same time, unscrupulous contractors like Halliburton are
defrauding the government of millions of dollars.

Drug Companies Get Off the Hook if Their Products Injure Americans
While American citizens, public health officials, and first responders
worry about how our country would handle the outbreak of a flu pandemic, the
Republican Congress recently relieved the pharmaceutical industry of any
responsibility for the harm their vaccines or other products might cause during
such a crisis.

Corporate Profits Up, American Family Income Down While
record numbers of American workers are losing their good-paying jobs as well as
their health and pension benefits, large corporations are enjoying new tax
breaks and record profits, and are still free to move their corporate
organizations overseas to avoid taxes.

Student Loan Debt, Student Loan Industry Profits Both at Record
Highs Thanks to the efforts of newly-elected Majority Leader John Boehner,
private student loan companies are some of the most profitable companies in
America and American students are graduating with record student loan debt.

People need to how the Republicans in Washington have created a
culture that breeds corruption and this concern is not just a partisan one.
Check out couple of these comments from my colleagues on the other side of the
isle in House of Representatives:

"Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, and the ongoing and
disgusting saga of abuse of power and public trust are not just made up by the
Democrats." - Representative Mark Edward Souder (R-IN)

"We simply have too much power...We Republicans have abused that
power badly over the past several years." - Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

I urge you to read this report and share it with your family,
friends, neighbors who may not be as politically plugged in as you all.
They have a right to know that their government is working on behalf of
the special interests, not the public interest.

Again, if you have any questions/comments about this report,
please let us know by posting your thoughts here. As I said above I will be
lurking in and out of here this morning try to answer some of your
questions/comments this morning as best as I can. Thanks so much again for the
wonderful feedback and support from your wonderful community.


Full Report Available Here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Contra Costa County Central Labor Council Endorses Steve Filson, Creates Controversy.

-The Record reported, "Danville airline pilot Steve Filson won the endorsement of the Contra Costa Central Labor Council on Thursday, effectively splitting labor support in the 11th Congressional District Democratic Party primary." (Source)

-There's seems to be quite a bit of controversy over the process by which this endorsement occured. I'll leave it to Say No To Pombo to explain.

-Nick Juliano on his blog has also now reported that "Bay Area Rep. George Miller has decided to endorse Filson...This adds to Filson's cadre of inside-the-beltway support..." Juliano briefly touched on the controversy surrounding Filson's CCC-CLC endorsement in the same blog. (Source)

The Lamorinda Club Candidate Forum

You can read about it from the Tri-Valley Herald, Contra Costa Times, and over at Say No To Pombo.

Quotes from the CCTimes article;

"Throwing rocks at Pombo is not going to be enough," Filson said. "I believe in a strong defense, a balanced budget and getting government out of our personal lives. Republicans will like that message."

"We got 104,000 votes (in 2004) and we inspired people that had never been involved in politics before," McNerney said. "In 2005, we have continued to organize and reach out to working families."

"We deserve a government that will make the middle class thrive," Thomas said. "To do that, (Democrats) need 15 seats to take back the House. Pombo has one of the seats, and I want it."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Medicare Part D Showdown

- Nick Juliano (Tracy Press) reports that, "About 30 senior citizens descended on Rep. Richard Pombo’s office in Stockton on Tuesday to protest his support of a new Medicare prescription-drug law before moving to continue the protest at a nearby drug store where the congressman’s staff was fielding questions on the new law.

The program in question, Medicare Part D, expands the health-care program to cover prescription-drug costs for seniors through federally subsidized private insurance plans. Critics say it is filled with giveaways to big drug companies and confusing for consumers.


The protesters, organized by the California Alliance of Retired Americans, called the new program a “disaster,” and said that it has been chaotic and more costly to seniors. Protesters filled out Valentine’s Day cards for Pombo and displayed signs urging him to “have a heart.”


The rally also featured an appearance by Democratic congressional candidate Jerry McNerney, who was collecting signatures to get his name on the ballot for the primary election in June.

“Richard Pombo is dirty; Richard Pombo is corrupt. It’s hurting the people of this district; it’s hurting the people of this country. We need a universal health-care plan,” McNerney said, his voice rising as he spoke.

More Here.

-2 Days later Jim Martin, who'm the Tracy Press describes as the "president of 60 Plus Association, a nonpartisan, “pro-senior” special-interest group headquartered in Arlington, Va." was defending Pombo in an editorial available here.

-Scott of Vote Pombo Out, on the VPO mailing list brought to light a little something regarding this 'nonpartisan, "pro-senior"' group, courtesy of Source Watch.

"In the 2002 election campaigns, the 60 Plus Association paid for issue ads on local radio and TV stations across the country saying that local Republican candidates "care for seniors" so much that they "passed a prescription drug bill" that saved us from an inept government bureaucracy meddling with health plan benefits.

Though 60 Plus claims to be a citizens' group, they are actually a front group for the pharmaceutical industry. That bill died in the senate, but Big Pharma paid them and similar front groups well - more than $5 million dollars by most accounts (see below). The misinformation of those 'soft money' issue ads helped elect a lot of drug-industry-friendly congresspersons.

The 60 Plus Association has championed the pharmaceutical industry in mass mailings, press releases, lobbying and law suits since its inception. It was one of three associations that backed the "astroturf" issue ads of Citizens for Better Medicare (a drug industry front group) during the 2000 elections. It is currently supporting a lawsuit by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America against the state of Maine (in a "friend of the court" brief) for daring to try to pass a law that will authentically reduce prices for Medicare drugs by allowing the state to buy in bulk directly from manufacturers. It has also joined a lawsuit against the FCC regarding campaign reform (specifically -surprise!- they support soft money for issue ads).

The AARP Bulletin of February, 2003, has an excellent, well-researched article explaining this subversion of the democratic process by 60 Plus and two other astroturf organizations (United Seniors Association and the Senior Coalition). It notes that none of these groups have significant membership roles or community bases. "All three organizations claim to speak for millions of older Americans, although as recently as 2001 none of the three listed any revenue from membership dues on their tax returns," it states. "Moreover, an investigation by the AARP Bulletin shows that virtually all of their largest contributions in recent years have come from the same source - the nation's pharmaceutical industry." [1] "


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Upcoming Events...

*2/14 (Tues.) - 11:00 am - Have a Heart, Richard Pombo! - Reconsider and Replace the Medicare Part D - Rally & Valentines Party at Pombo’s Office in Stockton

11:00am: Rally & Valentines Party at Pombo’s Office2495 W. March Lane, Stockton 12:00pm: De-brief and Tailgate Party/Lunch in parking lot(sponsored by CWA District 9 Locals)

Sponsored by the California Alliance for Retired Americans. To RSVP, call the Bailey’s @ 209-951-0499 or Jodi Reid @ 415-550-0828

Flyer Here.

*2/17 (Fri.) - 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm - Candidates Forum - Lamorinda Democratic Club

Refreshments at 6:30pm Forum at 8:00pm

Location: Orinda Community Church

10 Irwin Way


This is a candidate forum where all 3 candidates will be speaking. Admission $5 - Students free. (Source)

*2/20 (Mon.) - 7:00 pm - TRI-VALLEY DEMOCRATIC CLUB presents a speaker: BRENT PLATER, an environmental attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity


6250 Village Pkwy

Dublin, CA directions

BRENT PLATER, an environmental attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, who will explain why Americans must save the Endangered Species Act and why the efforts of Pombo and DeLay must be stopped. The Endangered Species Act is under attack by Tom DeLay and his henchman Richard Pombo who are out to destroy a legacy of environmental protection on behalf of the oil and development interests that fill their campaign coffers and give them their marching orders. Everyone one is invited, free admission'

More Info...

*2/24 (Fri.) - 7:00 PM -'Take Back Congress - Hayward Demos Democratic Club

Westminster Presbyterian Church

27287 Patrick Ave, Hayward, 94544

Take Back Congress will feature 3 congressional candidates who are vying for some all-important seats currently held by California Republicans. Charles Brown is facing John Doolittle in the 4th District, and Jerry McNerney and Steve Filson are both challenging Richard Pombo in the 11th district. In addition, Jeffrey Thomas of Representative Barbara Lee's office will be in attendance to give a speech. Please come join us!' (Source)

*3/11 (Sat.) - 11:00 AM - California Legislature Candidates - Hayward Demos Democratic Club

Westminster Presbyterian Church

27287 Patrick Ave, Hayward, 94544

This event will feature candidates for both houses of the California Legislature will be in attendance. Candidates include Assembly candidates Mary Hayashi and Bill McCammon. Senate candidates Ellen Corbett, Johan Klehs and John Dutra will also be joining us.' (Source)

* 3/18 - 3/19 (Sat. & Sun.) - 8:30 am - 5:30 pm - DFA Training Academy in Northern California

Description: ...Grassroots leaders are working to bring you a weekend full of campaign training, simulation, and serious fun. Local and national experts on campaign management, field organizing, communications, and grassroots advocacy, and organization building will be on-hand to instruct and work with you one-on-one to develop the skills needed to take our country back.

This is no social get together; the training is an intensive two-day series of sessions and workshops geared toward your particular political landscape. We develop the program so you can go out and actually use the skills you learn as soon as you get home. We follow up with you to make sure you have the support you need in your communities.

Contribution: Complete your RSVP by using DFA's online contribution system to pay your registration fee.$60 for general attendees (prepaid online)$70 pay at door$25 for students $25 for attendees on a low income (upon approval)

More Info...


*3/24 - 3/26 (Fri. - Sun.) - 2006 California Democratic Council statewide convention

Santa Clara Convention Center

Santa Clara, CA 95054

The 2006 California Democratic Council statewide convention will include endorsement consideration in all statewide Democratic primaries during a weekend of training sessions, inspirational speeches, networking and campaign preparation. CDC and the host Mission City Democratic Club invite you to spend a Democratic activist weekend in Santa Clara, CA, March 24-26, 2006. Save the dates and join us at the Santa Clara Convention Center! More Info...

*4/19 (wed.) - 7pm - 9pm - Diablo Valley Democratic Club - Candidate Forum

Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church

55 Eckley Lane

Walnut Creek CA

This is a candidate forum where all 3 candidates will be speaking. (Source)

*4/28 - 4/30 (Fri. - Sun.) - California Democratic Party 2006 State Convention

Sacramento Convention Center. More Info...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

'Pombo charges taxpayers for vacation' and calls it "legitimate"

Tracy Press: 'Pombo charges taxpayers for vacation

In summer 2003, just after he was named chairman of the House Resources Committee, Rep. Richard Pombo loaded the family in an RV for “two weeks on vacation” traveling around the West.

Documents obtained by the Tracy Press show taxpayers covered most of his expenses.

“This August, my family and I rented an RV and set out to explore the West,” Pombo, R-Tracy, wrote in a 2003 article posted on the Resources Committee’s Web site.

“We spent two weeks on vacation, stopping along the way to enjoy the splendor of many of our national parks.”

Pombo was reimbursed $4,935.87 to rent the RV and spent $1,500.51 on a government credit card for “travel subsistence” during a two-week span from July 27 to Aug. 11, 2003, according to a Resources Committee spending ledger obtained by the Press.

Much More...

-And now the Tracy Press front page reads; 'Pombo's answers raise questions' and links to an article containing Pombo's response:

“This is a legitimate thing that was work all the way through, and it was not a personal trip,” Pombo said of the excursion...


...a list of parks Pombo visited during the trip: Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and Joshua Tree national parks in California; Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; and Mount Rushmore and Badlands national parks in South Dakota.

During that time, Pombo also met with at least six Indian tribes in South Dakota and visited properties owned by the Bureau of Land Management...


But officials from at least two parks Pombo says he visited have no recollection of him making an appearance...


On Thursday, Steve Filson, a Democratic candidate in Pombo’s 11th Congressional District, sent a letter to the House Administration Committee, which oversees spending by other committees, requesting an investigation into the trip.

Much More...

Lawmakers request audit of Pombo aide

From the Contra Costa Times:
'Lawmakers request audit of Pombo aide

Two East Bay congressional Democrats have asked a House panel to investigate the travel of Rep. Richard Pombo's top aide, who has spent more than $87,000 in public money in the past three years commuting from Stockton to Washington, D.C.

Pombo, R-Tracy, also has asked the Administration Committee chairman to determine if the travel of the aide, Steven Ding, is proper.

The requests were made after a Jan. 15 report in the Times that Ding, the Resources Committee chief of staff, commutes nearly weekly between Washington, D.C., where the committee is based, and Stockton, where he lives. His hotel and airfare costs are paid from Pombo's personal staff budget, which is funded by taxpayers.

In a Feb. 1 letter, Reps. George Miller of Martinez and Ellen Tauscher of Alamo wrote that Ding's travel "may be in violation of numerous rules of the House and committee regulations." They released the letter Tuesday.


The Contra Costa Times has been doing a feature on Pombo, Here's a list of recent articles from them, compiled by SayNoToPombo and then the Jerry McNerney blog last month:
Pombo at Core of Ethics Debate
Capital Cowboy
Pombo’s Environmental Claims
Pombo’s Fund-Raising Efforts
Pombo’s Ethical Standards
Pombo Timeline
Q & A — Reader Forum

'Alameda County Central Labor Council Endorses Jerry McNerney for Congress'

  • 'Alameda County Central Labor Council Endorses Jerry McNerney for Congress' is up on the Jerry McNerney webpage.
  • The Tri-Valley Herald reports that 'The council held candidate interviews with McNerney, an energy consultant and Pleasanton resident, and his two challengers, pilot Steve Filson and electrician Steve Thomas, both of Danville.


    Sharon Cornu, the council's executive secretary-treasurer, said McNerney was selected by a delegate of rank-and-file union members.


    "We have found him to be a tireless campaigner and very community-oriented person," Cornu said.

  • Matt at Say No To Pombo points out that "This means that McNerney has been endorsed by two of the four Central Labor Councils that are involved with CA-11. He had already been endorsed by the San Joaquin-Calaveras Central Labor Council." You can read more of that analysis Here.

Get a Pombo For Your Pocket courtesy of Defenders of Wildlife

That's right. Get A Pombo For YOUR Pocket courtesy of Defenders of Wildlife and their website.

Available Here.

Also from Pombo In Their Pocket:
Top 5 Outrages
Proposing Bill to Gut the ESA. more...
Pombo Tied to Abramoff and Tribal Money. more...
Proposed Sale of National Parks. more...
"Dark Knight of the Environment" proposes CA Off-shore Drilling. more...
Rep. Pombo named as one of the "13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress." more...


Press Release:


February 6, 2006


McCloskey for Congress

In a speech to the Lodi Rotary Club today, former Congressman Pete McCloskey responded to press reports that incumbent Congressman Richard Pombo had raised $1.2 million in campaign funds by year end 2005, as against McCloskey's zero.
"I intend to make Pombo's campaign funding sources and Mr. Pombo's actions in response to those sources a major issue in this campaign," McCloskey said.

He challenged Pombo to respond to the following facts:

1. Indian gaming lobbyist Jack Abramoff has recently pled guilty to felonious effortst to bribe Members of Congress.

2. Mr. Pombo and his PAC, "RICHPAC," have received more money from Abramoff, his wife and clients ($54,500) than any other California congressperson.

3. Mr. Pombo has also received more money (over $500,000) from Indian tribes than any other Member of the House.

4. One of Mr. Abramoff's most lucrative clients was the infamous clothing manufacturing industry in the Marianas Islands, a U.S. trust territory under the jurisdiction of Chairman Pombo's Committee on Resources. The industry, led by one Willie Tan, paid Abramoff millions to fend off legislation which would reform applicable immigration and labor standards to the thousands of young women brought to the Marianas to work in the sweatshops there.

5. Working conditions had become so notoriously bad by 2000 that conservative Senator Frank Murkowski, (R. Alaska) was able to obtain unanimous Senate passage of a Marianas reform bill. The bill upon passage was referred to Pombo's Committee on Resources, then chaired by James Hansen (R-Utah) where it died.

6. Over a two year period Abramoff records reflect he met on at least two dozen occassions with Majority leader Tom Delay (R-Texas) seeking to prevent Marianas reform legislation and on other topics.

7. During an 8-month period in 2000, Mr. Pombo's press secretary and legislative assistant received at least a dozen tickets to Abramoff's private "skybox," on five separate occasions, the tickets being valued at $1,000 each for inside-the-Beltway fundraising purposes.

8. On September 16,2003, Abramoff's associate Kevin Ring, a former staff person for Congressman John Doolittle, gave Pombo's RICHPAC $1,000. Mr. Ring also gave Mr. Pombo an additional $3,000 between September 13, 2002, and February 18, 2005. In the fall of 2005, Mr. Ring took the 5th Amendment when questioned by Senator John McCain's Committee on Indian Affairs.

9. In January 2004, Mr. Pombo traveled to the Marianas, and on May 18, 2004, received nine campaign contributions from the following residents of the Marianas connected with the garment industry or the government of the Marianas.

Jerry Tan
Eloy Inos
Juan Baubata
Paul Zak
Hsia-Ling Lin
Richard Pierce
Clarence Tenorio
Pedro Atalig
Diego Benevente

10. In January 2005, Mr. Pombo and the House Republican leadership changed the House Ethics Rules to prevent any further investigation of Tom Delay who had been three times admonished on the House Ethics Committee.

11. As of February 2006, Chairman Pombo has neither considered a bill to implement the Murkowski bill, nor has he responded to repeated requests to investigate the Abramoff influence on either the Marianas reform bill or the Indian casino industry.

"At the very least, Mr. Pombo should explain to his constituents why he has taken so much money from Mr. Abramoff, his clients, and the Indian tribes interested in casino gambling," McCloskey said.

For more information contact:

Robert Caughlan

650 575 9448 ###


Another Republican Challenges Pombo

Tracy Press: 'Tom Benigno, 70, is reviving a quixotic campaign that got him 13 percent of the vote in a 2002 race against Pombo in the Republican primary.


Benigno is no stranger to electoral politics in California. He ran for the state Assembly in 2000 and was a write-in candidate for the 2003 gubernatorial recall election.' (Source)

Steve Filson 'earns' Machado's endorsement or Machado endorses Filson 'after failing to woo councilwoman'

Headline from Steve Filson's website: 'Steve Filson Earns Endorsement of Senator Michael Machado' (Source)

The Record article entitled, 'Machado won't challenge Pombo - Senator backs pilot after failing to woo councilwoman' goes on to say that '...Machado only endorsed Filson after failing to enlist former Stockton City Councilwoman Ann Johnston.' (Source)

Machado's 'endorsement' of Filson joins the DCCC's 'endorsement' but non-endorsement, as well as endorsements from such establishment figures as Rahm Emanuel, Zoe Lofgren, and Ellen Tauscher. A full list is available Here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pombo votes to cut 12.7 billion in federal student loans

From the Tracy Press:

"Budget cuts could affect college students
Brenda Huang
Tracy Press

Congress narrowly passed a bill Wednesday that will cut $12.7 billion in federal student loans...


...The provisions on student financial aid are part of the Deficit Reduction Act, which shaves $39 billion off federal programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.

“Instead of investing in higher education and the future of our country, Congress passed legislation that puts college even further out of reach for America’s families,” said critic Eddy Morales, president of the United States Student Association.


Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, supported the bill, which was passed by a vote of 216-214.

“Tough decisions must be made, including updating some of our federal programs and reining in spending to ensure a strong economy,” Pombo said. “The alternative is to raise taxes for every working American and pass along the heavy burden of a deficit to future generations.”



-I thought they were already passing along the heavy burden of a deficit to future generations, isn't that what the massive corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich, out of control and waisteful defense spending, and the war in iraq, -get us? - Tax cuts for the rich, loop holes, subsidies, bail-outs, and tax breaks for big business, oil, and defense, cuts for students, the poor, veterans, the sick and elderly.

This is far-right republican values in action.

How does the Republican majority think we're going to fix the deficit? A. make the democrats raise taxes, or B. Cut social programs, either way they win. This is what Grover Norquist meant when he said he wanted to get the government to "the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." It's called the Starve-the-Beast conservative strategy and it's nothing new, it's just extremely dangerous.

'Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) Named "Wildlife Villain"'

February 2, 2006
CONTACT: William Lutz 202/772-0269Deborah Bagocius (202) 772-0239


Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) Named "Wildlife Villain"

Washington, D.C. -- After a year that saw both the first vote ever to effectively dismantle the Endangered Species Act, and a tremendous conservation victory on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund today named eight members of the House of Representatives and four members of the Senate as 2006 "Wildlife Heroes." The selection of these heroes and the naming of Rep. Richard Pombo as the 2006 "Wildlife Villain" were based largely on the leadership the congressional members played on those two paramount issues.

In conjunction with the awards, the Defenders Action Fund released its 2005 Conservation Report Card, which evaluates how well members of Congress protected wildlife and wild lands for future generations. This year's report card includes votes on two of the most important conservation and wildlife issues in decades: a vote to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a vote for a substitute bill to counter Rep. Pombo's bill to gut the Endangered Species Act.

The eight House members receiving the 2006 "Wildlife Hero" awards are: Representatives Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), John Dingell (D-MI), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ed Markey (D-MA), George Miller (D-CA), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Jim Saxton (R-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM). Senate awardees are Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Jim Jeffords (I-VT) and Harry Reid (D-NV).

"Each of our awardees exhibited tremendous leadership in a very visible and effective manner, choosing to stand against anti-conservation special interests, President George Bush, and other powerful members of Congress," stated Rodger Schlickeisen, president of the Defenders Action Fund. "They put the interests of America's wildlife conservation heritage and our children's future ahead of political expediency and lobbyists' contributions -- something too rare in Washington these days."

Although the action fund is not dedicated to naming a "Wildlife Villain" each year, Schlickeisen declared, "Looking back on 2005, there is no question that Richard Pombo of California stood out as the "Wildlife Villain" of the year. He is far and away the most anti-conservation member of Congress we can remember." Continued Schlickeisen, "Pombo appears to have set himself on a mission to destroy every major federal conservation law we have on the books. Not only did he have a 'zero' on his wildlife conservation report card, but he actively led efforts to: sell national parks for commercial exploitation; create a massive oil industrial complex in the Arctic refuge; remove the 25-year ban on drilling for oil and gas off our fragile coastlines; eliminate the 11-year moratorium on selling federal lands to mining companies; and -- worst of all -- effectively eliminate the federal government's efforts to save and recover endangered wildlife."

A full accounting of the grades earned by all members of Congress, and a complete list of votes scored in the House and Senate, can be found at (Here).

Affiliated with Defenders of Wildlife, the Defenders Action Fund is 501(c)(4) organization created to provide the wildlife conservation community with a stronger voice in the political process. For more information, see


McCloskey wants debates, Pombo doesn't.

From Nick Juliano's (Tracy Press) Blog:

""Hopefully we'll have debates ... every weekend he's home," McCloskey said


Pombo's campaign spokesman Wayne Johnson said: "I think we’ll wait till we get a legitimate candidate."


A couple of online articles recently about Pombo and the campaign to unseat him

I came across these in January and thought I'd post them-

First from Working For Change:

Get Richard or die tryin'

Enviros plot to beat Pombo in November


But an even bigger priority for enviros is thwarting the reelection of Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chair of the House Resources Committee and a zealous advocate of major environmental rollbacks -- among them, weakening the Endangered Species Act, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the outer continental shelf, selling off national parks and monuments, and changing mining law to allow thousands or even millions of acres of public land to be transferred into private hands.

"Pombo hasn't met a part of the country that he doesn't want to drill, mine, or develop," says Mark Longabaugh, former political director for the League of Conservation Voters who is now spearheading a Defenders of Wildlife campaign against Pombo. "He tops the list of history's most ruthless environmental bad boys." But Pombo's transgressions, eco and otherwise, are catching up with him, Longabaugh says: "He's gotten himself mired in a number of ethical dustups, and this year faces the most difficult election of his career."


Pombo also has support from the Bush administration on a number of his legislative proposals, and has come to be seen as a golden boy by Republican ideologues. Three years ago, he leapt over more senior colleagues to take the helm of the House Resources Committee thanks to strong backing from then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).Of course, Pombo might not be bragging about that connection these days, with DeLay awaiting trial on charges of laundering campaign money and trying to explain away his close ties to former high-flying lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who recently pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges. And Pombo has some explaining of his own to do: He received more than $35,000 in donations from Abramoff and his Indian-tribe clients between 1999 and 2004, and has been accused of letting that influence his committee dealings.


Critics also point to Pombo's alliances with industry. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he has taken more than $223,890 in campaign contributions over the course of his career from real-estate developers, who would stand to benefit if his rewrite of the Endangered Species Act becomes law. He's also a big beneficiary of contributions from oil and gas companies, which channeled more than $85,000 into his last campaign, and he's seemingly repaid the favor by aggressively pushing for more public land to be opened to drilling. High Country News reported last year that Pombo's committee staff enjoyed extravagant travel sprees funded by industry interests, including Shell Oil and the American Gas Association, in 2003 and 2004 with expenses totaling $152,000 -- more than double what was spent on committee staffers in the preceding two years under the previous committee chair.

Pombo has also raised some eyebrows with the use of his campaign funds and his leadership PAC, dubbed Rich PAC -- shorthand for Richard, but heavy with irony given Pombo's reputation as an industry crony and master fundraiser. He paid his wife and brother a whopping $465,000 out of his campaign war chest between 2001 and 2004 for services described simply as "fundraising," "bookkeeping," and "clerical," according to High Country News."


and here's from AlterNet:

Richard Pombo Faces a Green Avalanche

"Environmental groups nationwide are pooling their funds for a campaign to unseat one of the worst environmental offenders in Congress.


...this year, many environmental leaders are saying that one of the best deals for green donors can be found in the congressional election in California's 11th District -- in the campaign to defeat Rep. Richard Pombo, chair of the House Resources Committee.
As Adam Werbach, former president of the Sierra Club, puts it, "Investing in Pombo's defeat would be as effective as owning the o's in Google."


Pombo's 11th District is a Republican anomaly in the otherwise heavily Democratic Bay Area of Northern California. The 11th contains some of the agricultural Central Valley and stretches into the Bay's tech corridor, spreading across four counties. In the more than 12 years he's been in Congress, Pombo's district has become home to some of the most horrendous stretches of strip malls and cultureless housing tracts in California. According to the East Bay Express, Pombo's father and uncles have made tens of millions of dollars selling farm and ranch land to developers. And on Pombo's watch, his district also has come to have some of the worst air quality and drinking water in the country.

While Pombo, who embodies the Republican archetype of the fake rancher, waxes on about "the land" and the generations of Pombo farmers, he has quietly worked his legislative powers to sell his family's acreage to the government for an unnecessary freeway add-on.

And it should come as little surprise that Pombo has danced with lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He ranks fifth on the money list of politicians who have taken money from the Abramoff's cash nexus, raking in $54,500. In exchange, Pombo had his fling with the Mariana Islands and played cowboy and Indian casinos. But these political sins don't come up to the ankles of the work he's done to destroy the environment as chair of the House Resources Committee, which then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay cherrypicked him to run in 2003."


Thursday, February 02, 2006

4th Quarter Fundraising Numbers Are In

Say No To Pombo is reporting that "McNerney raised $41,165.34 in the 4Q of 2005 and has $69,204.87 on hand
Filson raised $50,964.33 in the 4Q of 2005 and has $102,498.52 on hand
Pombo raised $371,727.90 in the 4Q of 2005 and has $841,793.10 on hand" (Source)
Read the interesting breakdowns Here.

The Record reports, "Part of Filson's viability has hinged on his ability to raise the money needed to beat Pombo, who as House Resources Committee chairman can tap energy, Indian and agricultural interests better than most.

So McNerney's closing the gap comes as something of a surprise. Filson dismissed it as a blip and said he's "planning to raise some eyebrows" in his next report, due in April." (Source)

McNerney also raised quite a bit from small donations, which is a good thing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A couple new sites

McCloskey gets a lot of media coverage