Thursday, January 26, 2006

'Pombo aide under fire for finances'

Contra Costa Times: Pombo aide under fire for finances (source)

"Rep. Richard Pombo's top aide might have violated congressional ethics rules by not correctly reporting all of his outside political work and making too much money from California campaigns and consultants, the aide said Friday.

Steven Ding regularly worked for candidates and organizations with close ties to Pombo, a Tracy Republican who is chairman of the House Resources Committee.

Ding's admission, in response to a Times investigation of his activities, raises questions about his outside work and a special arrangement under which Pombo has allowed him to spend more than $87,000 in taxpayer money on travel, meals and lodging during the past three years.

Despite being chief of staff to the Washington-based Resources Committee, and being paid more than $150,000 a year from the committee's budget, Ding works primarily from California and commutes to Capitol Hill at taxpayers' expense when the committee is in session."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

'Denying scandal link, congressman pushes oil drilling in Alaska'

Modesto Bee: "Denying scandal link, congressman pushes oil drilling in Alaska

RIPON — Rep. Richard Pombo, a Tracy Republican who has been defending and distancing himself from two influence-peddling scandals, on Tuesday turned his remarks to energy policy and the environment.


In light of Abramoff's guilty plea, Pombo said he decided to give the money to charity because it "was the right thing to do." The $7,000 will go to help establish a Boys and Girls Club on an Indian reservation in Minnesota, a spokesman for the House Resources Committee said Pombo said Tuesday that what he did "exposed what FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) was doing" to "extort land away from a private citizen."


Pombo said drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska makes sense. He said it would yield oil production equal to what the United States gets from Saudi Arabia. He said the area of interest for drilling is just 2,000 acres of a 20million-acre refuge.


In other Pombo news Tuesday, the congressman presented a check for $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Manteca and Lathrop. The money is part of an $85 million federal appropriation for Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide."


Friday, January 13, 2006

'Pelosi Wants Probe of 'Corrupt Congress'' including Pombo

AP: "Pelosi Wants Probe of 'Corrupt Congress'

WASHINGTON - House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said Republicans had created "one of the most closed, corrupt congresses in history" and urged the House ethics committee to investigate GOP lawmakers linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.


In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Pelosi said Democrats expect the ethics committee to look into the "alleged violations of criminal laws and the rules of the House" by former Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, and three other Republicans with ties to Abramoff — Bob Ney of Ohio and Californians Richard Pombo and John Doolittle."


I should also point out, as the article does, Pelosi didn't in this request ask for an investigation of DLC Democrat, William Jefferson, who is also under investigation on unrelated corruption and ethics cases, but she did go on to say "we have said all along that, Democrat or Republican, anyone who doesn't follow the rules or the law has to be held accountable. That's the difference between us." (Source)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

'Pombo responds to allegations' / 'McCloskey group registers as 527'

From The Record, 'Pombo responds to allegations'..."U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy lashed out Monday against allegations he improperly compromised a federal investigation of the owner of Northern California's Pacific Lumber Co. - a major contributor to the indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas." Pombo in the article said, "There's no question this was a 'to hell with them' decision," Pombo said of his actions in the Hurwitz case. "They [regulators] were guilty of conspiracy. They were guilty of extortion. If I ever run across another case like this I wouldn't hesitate to do it again." Pombo went on to claim that "It was a classic property-rights case, and that's what I'm all about," (Source)

-And over at Juliano's Blog 'McCloskey group registers as 527'

-On another McCloskey related note, he also showed up at the Defenders of Wildlife Action meeting. Read about that at SayNoToPombo.

Pombo's environmental rampage included in Sierra Club poll

"Pombo on a Rampage" is included in Sierra Club's RAW Survey: 2005's Top Environmental Event amongst such notable events as "Arctic Refuge Drilling" and "Hurricanes Devastate the Gulf Coast."

"Pombo on a Rampage
It's been a busy year for House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA). He wants to rewrite the 30-year-old Endangered Species Act to eliminate critical habitat designations. He's leading the charge to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to destructive oil drilling and wants to end a 25-year-old moratorium on oil and gas drilling off our coasts. He's worked hard to overturn a ban on ozone-destroying pesticides and recently drafted a bill in which he proposed selling 15 national parks to generate revenue."

Vote Here.

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund meeting a Success

Good turnout, McNerney and McCloskey showed up, and Defenders of Wildlife is likely to continue to and increasingly target Pombo. - You can read about the meeting at SayNoToPombo -

-as well as from Nick Juliano (Tracy Press)-

-and again, in a follow up from Nick Juliano -

Monday, January 09, 2006

Delay, Doolittle, and Pombo and influence peddling / Jerry McNerney Announces Plan to Strengthen Federal Lobbying Laws

If you haven’t already seen the LaTimes piece on Tom Delay, John Doolittle, and Richard Pombo’s latest scandal here you go:

-A Donor Who Had Big Allies
By Richard A. Serrano and Stephen Braun, Times Staff Writers

In a case that echoes the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, two Northern California Republican congressmen used their official positions to try to stop a federal investigation of a wealthy Texas businessman who provided them with political contributions.Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking $300 million from Hurwitz for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.

The investigation was ultimately dropped.The effort to help Hurwitz began in 1999 when DeLay wrote a letter to the chairman of the FDIC denouncing the investigation of Hurwitz as a "form of harassment and deceit on the part of government employees." When the FDIC persisted, Doolittle and Pombo — both considered proteges of DeLay — used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on Hurwitz.Then, in 2001, the two congressmen inserted many of the sensitive documents into the Congressional Record, making them public and accessible to Hurwitz's lawyers, a move that FDIC officials said damaged the government's ability to pursue the banker.


In key aspects, the Hurwitz case follows the pattern of the Abramoff scandal: members of Congress using their offices to do favors for a politically well-connected individual who, in turn, supplies them with campaign funds. Although Washington politicians frequently try to help important constituents and contributors, it is unusual for members of Congress to take direct steps to stymie an ongoing investigation by an agency such as the FDIC.

More Here…


-Nick Juliano of the Tracy Press posted a blog entitled, ‘Pombo upset over LA Times story’ in which a Pombo aide tells him ‘that Pombo intervened because he believed the FDIC was unduly influenced by environmental groups’.

-Also from Juliano’s Blog‘Pombo for majority leader?’


And while Pombo and Delay are involved in just their latest scandal:

-Jerry McNerney Announces Plan to Strengthen Federal Lobbying Laws

Pleasanton, CA – Congressional Candidate Jerry McNerney today announced his plan to strengthen federal lobbying laws in order to bring back strong ethics to Capitol Hill.

“The lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s guilty plea to corruption, fraud and tax evasion charges needs to lead to laws that change the way our nation’s business is done on Capitol Hill and on K Street,” according to Jerry McNerney, candidate for the 11th Congressional District.
“Locally Congressman Richard Pombo’s actions on behalf of client’s represented by Jack Abramoff reeks of the pay to play atmosphere of Washington. For the future of our country we need to prevent even the appearance of such impropriety.”

“In my first week in Congress I will either introduce or co-sponsor legislation that adds real teeth to federal lobbying laws. Such laws need to restrict the hiring of the relatives of members of Congresses by lobbyists, increase the waiting time for Congressional staff to work as a lobbyist after leaving the Hill, and take away the fox from guarding the henhouse by taking away the power of Congress to regulate federal lobbyists and place it in the hands of the Justice Department.”

McNerney’s Plan

Restrict lobbyists from hiring the relatives of members of Congress. Jack Abramoff hired spouses of congressional members, members with whom he had business. Such activities are an indirect way to reward Congressman for compliance. This must stop. Lobbyists with business before a member of Congress must be restricted from employing, either directly or on a contract basis, the relatives of members of Congress.

Increase from one to four years the waiting period before a former Congressman or congressional staffer can work as a Federal lobbyist. The present system rewards those with access; access that is developed through working closely with that member of Congress. One year or even two years is not enough, especially in the process of crafting legislation, to prevent someone with inside knowledge to leave and work for lobbyists in crafting that law or related legislation.

Prevent lobbyists from indirectly funding through foundations or other related entities trips abroad, meals, and access to seats or arena luxury boxes not only for members of Congress but additionally their relatives, and congressional staffers.

Allow Justice Department oversight of all federal lobbyists. Presently the DOJ only has jurisdiction over the lobbyists of foreign governments and other foreign entities. The present situation gives the elected Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate oversight, but they have no enforcement authority over rogue lobbyists. The Justice Department has the independence, authority and resources to investigate and punish individuals who violate the law.

Source: Press Release

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Events, events, events...

Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley member makes the The Case for Jerry McNerney at DailyKos

DailyKos: The Case for Jerry McNerney (v. Pombo, CA - 11th CD)

by deaniac83

Sat Jan 07, 2006 at 11:58:11 AM PDT

Right now, in the 11th Congressional District of California - the seat currently held by Delay's corrupt buddy Richard Pombo - there are three Democrats running in the primary: Jerry McNerney, Steve Filson, and Steven Thomas. I wasn't able to find a website for Thomas. But practically speaking, I am going to concentrate on the race between McNerney and Filson and I want to tell you why McNerney comes out better, in my opinion, by leaps and bounds. My reasoning has to do with three factors: political courage, progressive values and credentials, and grassroots battle.

Let me say something first though. I know Jerry McNerney in person. I've met him, he knows my name, and he is a terrific person. He is candid, straightforward, kind, and friendly. Anyway, so let's begin.


In 2004, Jerry McNerney got a call from his son who was serving in Afghanistan. His son told him that there were no Democratic candidates running against Richard Pombo in the 11th Congressional District. Now, before I go any further. Stop. Think. The Democratic party could not find and recruit a candidate. More likely, the establishment did not want to go through the trouble of recruiting a candidate who would, you know, "lose anyway" to Pombo. The Democratic establishment lacked the courage to fight for every inch of the ground before giving it up.

Jerry McNerney decided that he was going to step forward and fill in that courage void. He ran as a write-in candidate in the primary. After the first count, he did not have enough votes to get on the November 2004 ballot, but he was close. So he decided to ask for a recount. In our rotten system, he had to take out a second mortgage on his house to pay the $10,000 recount fee that resulted in him picking up enough votes - just one more than required - to get on the ballot.

McNerney had no party support. He had no money. He had nothing, except a lot of good people who were willing to stand their ground and fight. And he was going to stand with them and fight. He had the courage to stand up and represent the aspirations of people who were tired of lying down and taking it, people who were tired of Democrats giving up before a battle even began. He was and is the Democrat with the courage.


I believe that one's values and public stands on the issues of the day is very much indicative of one's courage to stand up for them. Let's start with looking at McNerney's issues page vs. Filson's.
Iraq and Foreign Policy: Right off the bat, the word "Iraq" is not even mentioned in Filson's "platform." McNerney, on the other hand, plenty of material on it. He is unequivocally opposed to the war of distraction and choice. Filson? Not a single word. Not one. At a time when we are losing people every day, at a time when this is affecting ordinary Americans. Silence from Filson. Well at least from his website. Call me stupid, but I think this has something to do with that pesky courage thing, you know, the lack of which makes you think, "ooh, I'm in a red district; I better not say anything about that!" McNerney also stakes out comprehensive, progressive positions on foreign policy. Despite being a former Navy pilot, "foreign policy" seems to be a foreign term to Filson.

Economy: McNerney has a comprehensive page addressing jobs (help small businesses, make healthcare costs lower), outsourcing, balancing the budget, taxes (stop Bush's giveaway to rich), corporate welfare, fair trade, and infrastructure. On all of them, he lays out a progressive vision and policy strategy brilliantly. Filson has a position too. "Cutting spending."

Energy: McNerney is a wind energy expert, and he has an extensive principled and practical energy plan to produce 20% of America's energy from clean, renewable sources by 2020. Read more about his positions on his policy page. Filson: "Reverse our dependence on oil through investments in renewable fuels and research and development of alternative energy sources and raising fuel efficiency standards." That is the entirety of Filson's stand on energy policy.

Healthcare: McNerney fully advocates universal healthcare, and will accept nothing less. Read his position. Filson? Yeah, let "Medicare negotiate lower drug prices to make prescriptions more affordable for our seniors and needy." That is it.

In fact Filson's platform page has only a few concrete things he stands for: let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices, universal preschool and a "more affordable college tuition", "investments in renewable fuels and research," inspecting cargo, and cutting spending. That's it. Yeah, he has a bunch of condemnations of Pombo on that page, and he makes a blanket "fight for fairness" statement, but nothing when it comes to substance.

Issue after issue (you can read more), McNerney takes principled progressive stands and Filson is practically silent. The spelling out of his positions so clearly makes one thing clear: McNerney is a proud progressive, and is not afraid of his own shadow. Filson - at this moment at least - seems to be avoiding taking principled stands consistent with progressive values.


Jerry McNerney's candidacy was in 2004, and is now, a result of a grassroots insurgency that rejected the party establishment's power structure. The DCCC (aka establishment) brought in Filson for two reasons: they saw (from Jerry) that Pombo could and should be challenged, and they wanted somebody who would be beholden to the party hiararchy. Filson is a big campaign donor and friend of Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D- 10th CD), who is no friend of either grassroots or progressives, and recently made clear that she didn't like Dean for telling the truth about Iraq. Go to the DCCC's website and you will see Filson more prominently showcased with a picture and a biography, but not the other two candidates. You will hear a lot of Filson's supporters say that you need Filson because, "McNerney can't win." Hmm... sounds like the same thing the establishment spewed about another certain outsider. Filson, for better or for worse, is the candidate the party establishment put up to stop Jerry McNerney and the grassroots insurgency within the party. At least, I have enough reason to believe so. I hope I'm wrong.

McNerney's campaign, I say again, has been entirely a project of the grassroots. People from all over the bay area - DFA people, California for Democracy people, progressive people - have beeen working their butts off for McNerney. We got McNerney on Dean Dozen in 2004, and we plan to do so again. Today, McNerney has the endorsements of San Joaquin Central Labor Council - who decided to give the proverbial finger to the establishment in favor of the grassroots, and the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley - a club I am proud to be a party of. McNerney will not be beholden to anything but ordinary Americans and the values he proudly stands for.

Now that I have spelled out the case for Jerry McNerney for the 11th CD of California because of his courage, his progressive credentials and strength, and his grassroots energy, will you please help Jerry? Visit, and help and contribute if you are in the area. If you are not, and can spare a few bucks, please please donate.

Please visit the entry here:

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"Pombo in their Pocket" Action Meeting on Sunday January 8 in San Ramon

"For months, U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) has been carrying out an anti-wildlife agenda in California 's name. In just a few days, you can help shape our strategy to stop him.

R.S.V.P. now for the "Pombo in their Pocket" Action Meeting on Sunday January 8 in San Ramon!

Please join Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund Political Director, Mark Longabaugh, and CEO, Rodger Schlickeisen, this Sunday for a special wildlife action meeting to discuss Rep. Pombo's agenda and what you can do to stop it.

Big developers and other special interests have paid huge amounts to put Rep. Pombo in their pocket. Now, Pombo is thanking them by gutting the Endangered Species Act, promoting drilling off our coasts and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and proposing the sale of our national parks, monuments, and other public lands for commercial exploitation.

This Sunday, please join Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund and other concerned Californians in an effort to put an end to Pombo's campaign to destroy our nation's natural legacy...

Event Details
Sunday, January 8, 2006 ; 3:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.San Ramon Community CenterAlcosta Room 12501 Alcosta Blvd San Ramon , CA 94583

Featured Speakers
Rodger Schlickeisen, President, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund
Mark Longabaugh, Political Director, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund

This will be one of the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's most important startegy sessions of the year, and you can be a part of it.

Please RSVP now!

Get Directions"

Friday, January 06, 2006

Jerry McNerney continues to reach out

Unlike Filson's folly last week documented at SayNoToPombo, in the form of a poor attempt at reaching out to the dailykos community, Jerry McNerney; a strong progressive candidate, with grassroots and netroots support, (who actually has a blog) has continued his genuine outreach to the democratic and progressive netroots/blogosphere for this campaign season. This evening Mcnerney cross-posted a blog entitled "The Real Fighting Dems" at DailyKos, MYDD, and at his blog -in which he addresses some very important issues with regards to not only this race locally, but the strategy of the DCCC and the democratic party nationally, and the increasing attempts by the Washington political establishment to run local politics from their offices in DC without regard for the grassroots, and without truly sticking to democratic and progressive principles.

I strongly urge you to go check it out.

"The Real Fighting Dems
by McNerneyforCongress
Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 05:23:00 PM PDT
Cross-posted at MyDD

We have heard a lot about Fighting Dems from the DCCC this year. I think their use of the term "Fighting Dem" is misguided. They are trying to portray their 2006 slate as Fighting Dems because of their status as veterans.

Don't get me wrong, I respect the service of these veterans. My son, Mike, currently serves as an officer in the armed forces and I am damn proud of his service to this country. Furthermore, I am committed to supporting the men and women currently serving and our veterans at home. I know personally how dedicated these folks are to their country.

But Rahm Emanuel's main selection criterion seems to be military experience in general. In my opinion, that simply isn't enough grounds to back a candidate.

In fact, I have another interpretation of what it means to be a Fighting Dem. The real fighters are those who stand and fight for Democratic principles. Who are not afraid to fight for what's right. Who don't take on Republican talking points and use them against other Democrats.

And we have candidates like this already running that the DCCC could have supported, or at least not actively worked against. 2004 Democratic congressional candidates like me and Christine Cegelis--who stood up and fought in districts the shortsighted folks at the DCCC thought were unwinnable--are the true Fighting Dems.

In my 2004 race as a primary write-in candidate, I got on the November ballot to fight for what's right. To fight against Congressman Richard Pombo, a politician whose actions represent everything that is wrong in Washington. Even with no official national Democratic support and a campaign driven by committed local Democratic activists, I achieved the highest vote total ever against Pombo.

In 2006, I am still proud to have the support of both the local Democratic activist community and organized labor, as they share my commitment to restoring American's future.

This time, though, I have a primary race against a DCCC/DLC-backed candidate who is a veteran and who is under the misguided impression that in order to beat Pombo, one simply needs to raise more money than him. Make no mistake, I will raise the money to be competitive with Pombo. But to beat a long-term incumbent, I also know I need to reach out personally to the voters.

So I'm reaching out to you today to ask you to support the real Fighting Dems--to stand with me and fight for true Democratic ideals. I encourage you to go to my website and read my blog. I will be updating it weekly and also plan to live blog periodically."

Go here to show support:

More credit where it's due...

DCCC - As was pointed out in a comment in the last 'credit' post, The DCCC isn't done playing petty inside washington politics with our local race. Where are the biography and pictures for Jerry McNerney and Steve Thomas? See Here and Here, compare it to Here. Do only those with friends at the DCCC and in DC get fair and equal opportunity, access, and exposure? Ask them: - (202) 863-1500
I also expect more from the DCCC.

Filson - As SayNoToPombo posted, "Steve Filson posted another diary over at Daily Kos", in what appears to be another poor attempt to 'reach out' to the party netroots.

Abramoff - AP reported that 'Abramoff Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate'.
WSJ reported that 'he thinks that he can implicate 60 members'

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Credit where credit is due...

DCCC - The DCCC has added Jerry McNerney and Steve Thomas to their website, in the fairly new and updated 2006 Candidates section. This came after the outcry from the grassroots when the DCCC initially embraced Steve Filson as the establishment's man to take on Richard Pombo. While this is not necessarily breaking news, it's been like this for a month or two at least, I just wanted to put it on the record since many folks asked the DCCC to be fair and to respect the grassroots, the primary system, and the democratic process. Thank You DCCC! Now just add Steve Thomas's website to his DCCC candidate page.

Filson - Steve Filson is reaching out (sort of) to the netroots. Say No To Pombo has a very interesting entry about a blog that Filson posted at DailyKos. On a much more positive note for Filson, he's now listed on the Band of Brothers website as a candidate for 2006.

Pombo - Say No To Pombo blogged that "Pombo (was) Deemed "Most Anti-Conservation" Member of Congress" by BushGreenwatch (with support by Congrats?

Regarding Pombo's corrupt lobbyist ally Jack Abramoff, Houston Chronicle is reporting that "Abramoff plea bargain to bring corruption probe to Congress". CNN/AP reports that "Abramoff's cooperation would be a boon to an ongoing Justice Department investigation of congressional corruption, possibly helping prosecutors build criminal cases against up to 20 lawmakers"