Friday, April 23, 2010

FL-25: Joe Garcia up against ton of lobbyist money in his unethical opponent

While we’ve been fretting about what Florida’s Teabag state legislature is up to, in fact the Republicans in Tallahassee have just been kicking sand in our eyes so we won’t see David Rivera raising a ton of unethical money to try to ripoff FL-25 from Joe Garcia.

Yep, the moneybags business of a congressional race ran heavily in Rivera’s favor in the first weeks of the session -- even though there’s a state law banning fund-raising while the legislature is in session.

Yep, they’ve got a self-serving legal opinion that says the law doesn’t apply to those running for a federal office -- like District 25 in the US House -- only to people running for state offices. And so David Rivera feels free to ignore finger-waving by former Gov. Jeb Bush, who in the past thought it was unseemly to be doing it.

Yep, that’s the same Jeb Bush who thought it was OK for himself to go to work for Lehman Brothers as a consultant after leaving the governorship and to help sell Florida crappy investments that are worth nothing now. Even with such low standards, Jeb thought it was unseemly for legislators to raise money during session.

So David Rivera’s ethical standards are even lower than that.

Joe Garcia, our former chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, ethically resigned from his high position in the US Department of Energy to run for Congress in District 25, now an open seat. Yep, the Diaz-Balart brothers are doing a double quit -- Lincoln D-B retiring from District 21, and Mario D-B escaping from District 25, where he would lose to Joe Garcia this time, and aiming for the safer-R District 21.

Joe Garcia looks to have a good shot now in his second race in District 25. As Joe put it the other night in a talk to the Democrats of South Dade Club, Mario D-B designed the district for himself when he was in the state legislature (now the teabag legislature). Then in the early 2000’s, District 25 had a big Republican advantage in registration, 42-30 percent. Now the two parties are even at 36 percent, with about 800 more registered Democrats than Republicans. No wonder Mario D-B quit.

No wonder David Rivera is desperate.

He is chair of the committee writing the budget. The unethical game he’s running is that lobbyists are piling money into his federal campaign even though he’s now term-limited as a state representative, and if he were to win and go to the US House, he’d have no vote anymore on state legislation. So this money is purely to influence legislation now before the Florida House, and that’s the spirit and intent of the law and House rules that ban it.

“'The spirit be damned,’ my opponent says,” Joe Garcia told the Democratic club. Still channeling Rivera, he went on, “’We need to raise a lot of money. We need to justify a $2 billion tax increase at the same time Florida had the worst economy in its history.’”

Garcia called Rivera “a very special kind of guy” and predicted: “I’m sure the special interests will pave his way.”

For our part, Democrats will be called on to join the Garcia campaign’s planned grassroots ground drive, and of course to donate as generously as possible, to see that Joe Garcia gets his message out.

“Folks like you will make the difference,” he said to a crowd with a lot of District 25 residents, including many experienced campaigners with a strong dedication to progressive policy.

In the Miami New Times -- Goodness, they even call Rivera a “banana Republican” in their headline -- an article says there were 80 lobbyists and committees backing legislation among Rivera’s donors in the first quarter. He raised a bit over $700,000 and more than half came from the influence-buyers. More detail in the Miami New Times.

This is how low their ethical standards are.

1 comment:

Luis C. Isaza E said...

Having a Democratic Representative in the Florida State House (District 112) and a Democratic Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives(District 25)is what I call a “double-whopper” for the Democratic Party. But this victory will not be achieved simply by Republican’s disenchantment with their leadership, or by increased Democratic donations to our candidates. The anger and resentment is such amongst voters, that our political strategists should be busy trying to figure out, and letting us know, how it is that we are going to win that battle of communication which the Republicans have been waging and winning for many years now. Just being on the side of good reason, or calling on our own self interest is not enough to convince the voters. Voter contact and a good explanation of our value system and ideas will be necessary to claim those disenchanted voters. That is our challenge.