Friday, May 22, 2009

Get the Facts About Rep. John Boehner

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John Boehner of Ohio was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990. For the last eight years (half of his congressional career), he has been involved with a lawsuit against Congressman Jim McDermott. The Boehner lawsuit, characterized by the New York Times as a "vindictive political move," marked the first time a sitting member of Congress has sued another member.

Where did he come from and what has he done? Let us introduce the new GOP Majority leader.

Boehner's Voting Record

When it comes to "rated" votes, John Boehner is rated as one of the most conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and one of the Bush Administration’s strongest and most consistent supporters:

• 100% ratings from the American Conservative Union and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

• 0% ratings from the ACLU, League of Conservation Voters, NARAL and the Human Rights Campaign

• One of only 3 congressional members who voted 100% with the Bush Administration in 2004.

One of the Original “K Street Project” Boys

The Republican "spin" on the election of John Boehner as the new GOP Majority Leader (Tom Delay's replacement) is that he is a reformer. Actually, Boehner was one of the original K Street boys.

Some background . . . The "K Street Project" was formally established in 1995 by Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich’s chief political operative, and long-time friend of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The ongoing project is a high-stakes patronage scheme led initially by Rep. Tom DeLay and now Sen. Rick Santorium. When interest groups hire Republicans, they gain access and influence. When they hire Democrats, they get punished. Even before the K Street project emerged, John Boehner established his "Thursday Group," which gave an elite circle of corporate lobbyists direct access to House GOP leadership.

Today, at least 24 former aides to Boehner have registered as federal lobbyists or proceeded to work in corporate public affairs and advocacy.

Boehner's former chief of staff, Barry Jackson, is now Karl Rove's White House Deputy. Jackson is also mentioned frequently as a crony of discredited lobbyist and confessed felon Jack Abramoff.

They Call This Reform?

Newt Gingrich picked John Boehner to be part of his leadership team. The Gingrich-Armey-Delay team taught John Boehner the ropes of how to make it in the Republican leadership.

• Early in his congressional career Boehner formally apologized to his colleagues for passing out tobacco industry checks on the floor of the House prior to tobacco-related votes.

• Boehner is known for his golfing fundraisers. He discloses payments for green fees and golf-related program activities in excess of $100,000 per election cycle to entertain lobbyists and corporate executives.

• Boehner's enthusiasm for golf led him to join the exclusive Burning Tree Club. The club’s initiation fee is $75,000. The club is exclusive—a men’s only club—that bans women from setting foot in the club except during the annual spring cocktail party and holiday shopping at the pro shop.

• As chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, John Boehner has attracted the attention of Albert Lord, CEO of Sallie Mae, the student loan giant. The company was the single largest donor to his recent campaign. They were the major sponsor of Boehner's RNC "Best Little Warehouse" convention party in New York. Lord has flown Boehner to Florida several times on his private jet for golf outings in Florida.

Another Interesting Connection

In 2000, the Bush Campaign chose conservative attorney Michael Carvin to personally argue their case in the Florida Supreme Court prior to Bush v. Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two years earlier in 1998, Rep. John Boehner hired the same attorney, well known in Washington D.C. conservative political circles, to sue Congressman Jim McDermott. Boehner v. McDermott is still in the courts. Michael Carvin is still personally handling the legal attack on Congressman McDermott.

What Can We Expect from John Boehner?

The future with John Boehner may best be summed up in his own words. During a recent West Chester Township luncheon, Boehner shared his three goals for his first year as Majority Leader:

One is to keep the majority in the House. The second goal is to stay close to my colleagues, and the third goal is to be the same old jackass I’ve always been." —Rep. John Boehner (R–OH)

"You may not know this, but even though he has a safe seat here in Seattle, Jim is in the crosshairs of the radical right of the Republican Party and they are going to try to make it very difficult for him to function in Congress because they can not forgive the role he played, honorably, in bringing down Newt Gingrich.

"Jim is going to need your support in the next twelve months in ways you can not at the moment imagine. And I am sure he will get it." —Bill Moyers, respected journalist, April 22, 2005

After eight years, John Boehner's lawsuit against Congressman McDermott is still pending. It is now in the Court of Appeals. Numerous national news gathering organizations have weighed in on Congressman McDermott’s behalf. The decision from the court could be handed down at any time.

Congressman McDermott has taken on a now powerful and formidable foe, a former member of the Gingrich gang, and now the GOP Majority Leader, closely associated with the Bush Administration—serious business involving million-dollar legal fees that may become due at any time.

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