Tuesday, February 07, 2006

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."



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