Sunday, November 12, 2006

Following up on Sweeney's Bad Bill

Sweeney boating bill may sink Tax break plan likely to fail with loss of seat

November 12, 2006

U.S. Rep. John Sweeney's loss Tuesday to Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand will almost certainly doom a bill that became a political liability for him.

In May, the Republican from Clifton Park introduced a measure that would give tax breaks to boat manufacturers that provide high-end, easy-to-wear life vests and emergency radio beacons to consumers for free. The bill was crafted with help from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Received cash from PAC

In August, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported the association's political action committee had donated $4,500 to Sweeney's campaign. It ultimately gave $8,000 in cash and in-kind services. Those services included use of a yacht to hold fundraisers.

Sweeney's use of the yacht was later reported in the Chicago Tribune, became fodder for political blogs and was referenced in a television commercial by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In a meeting last month with the Journal's editorial board, Sweeney said his use of the yacht was "above board."

The boat bill was referred to the House Ways and Means committee, where it remains. There is no co-sponsor and a matching bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

A spokeswoman for Sweeney's office said there had not been enough time to find a Senate sponsor. In an e-mail, Melissa Carlson said Sweeney is using his remaining time to focus on several appropriations bills. The boat bill's future "will all depend on if someone else picks it up next Congress," Carlson said.

Monita Fontaine, vice president of government relations for the marine manufacturers association, said in a statement: "We look forward to working with the new Congress on issues important to promoting a strong U.S. manufacturing base, expanding trade opportunities, promoting job growth and safety initiatives for the boating public." (link)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November 8. 2006

There's a gentle rain falling today, and we have A Democrat bound for Washington. The last alfalfa cutting was good, and a friend tells me that the last time Delaware Countyhad a Democrat in Congess was 1876. Let us pray that this portends better milk prices and a withdrawal in Iraq.

Nobody Beats Gillibrand

Thanks to Kirsten for running to win instead of running not to loose. Thanks to all of you who knew long before last night that Gillibrand would give Congressman Kick Ass an ass kicking.

Thanks to those who knew that Kirsten was the right person to get America and the 20th district back on track again. Thanks to all of you who supported our candidate. Thanks to all of you who read this blog and who worked to elect the best candidate in this race. Your work paid off - we win.

Bye-bye John Sweeney.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Contrasts between Kirsten Gillibrand and John Sweeney

Times Union photo of yesterday's campaigning.
  1. The Rally: Kirsten Gillibrand and President Bill Clinton in Warren County.
  2. The Dodge: John Sweeney and his get away car.

Bill Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand Rally, NY-20

Notes on President Bill Clinton's 2nd Visit for the 20th District Race Yesterday. From today's Post Star:

Clinton returns to push Gillibrand to win

...Clinton, speaking on the eve of the election, told a crowd of more than 1,000 people to go out and look people in the eye and make the case for electing Democratic congressional candidate Kirsten Gillibrand.

"Tell them about our candidate," he said. "Tell them about the choices and the consequences. Tell them America can be so much better." ...

A new poll released Sunday showed her leading Sweeney 46 percent to 43 percent, with a 3.9 percent margin of error.

"You saw the latest poll. She was ahead," Clinton said. "But there's still enough undecideds to trip the race either way. And most of those people who are undecided are not used to voting for people with a 'D' after their name."

Clinton said Gillibrand has taken her campaign from impossibility to possibility and now to the point of belief.

"No one thought when she stuck her neck out she had a ghost of a chance," he said. "A lot of people that were helping her were helping her because they liked her and they admired her and they believed in what she stood for. But it's only been apparent for a few weeks now that she could actually win this thing." ...

Jonathan Gillibrand, the candidate's husband, said Monday his wife has always believed she could win. ...

"At the end of last winter, there was no one there, really," he said. "There was no team. We just drove around and shook hands with people."

In their speeches, neither Kirsten Gillibrand nor Clinton mentioned Sweeney directly, focusing instead on Republican policies in general.

"What we need this year is we need a new Congress. We need new leaders," Gillibrand said.

Clinton interspersed his criticism of GOP policy with humor.

"I mean, I've been poor; I've been rich. I like rich better," Clinton said. "But I think people like me ought to pay our fair share in the tax structure."

Weighing in on the privatization of Social Security, Clinton said, "Now the president says that he is going to, quote, revisit Social Security after the election. When I was in college, they called that a euphemism. And when I grew up in Arkansas, the way we described it is, 'He's gonna try to stick a fork in the thing.'"

The Iraq war and homeland security are defining issues in the campaign, Clinton said.

"They say they're the victory party and we're the cut-and-run party," he said. "We're the stop-and-think party."

U.S. troops withdrawn from Iraq could be sent to Afghanistan, where there is a shortage of forces, Clinton said.

Clinton suggested devoting more attention to research and development of alternative fuels.

"In upstate New York, you can grow willow trees like weeds and make four gallons of ethanol for every one gallon of gasoline," he said. ... (full story link)

(Watch a video clip here.)

Voting Information

It's time to get out and vote for Gillibrand. We're getting reports of misinformation about polling places going out to voters.

If you don't know where to go to vote, go here to find your correct polling location based on your address. Or visit the Post Star's list of polling places here.

Phone calls direct voters to incorrect polling places

Published on 11/7/2006 in the Post Star

QUEENSBURY -- The Warren County Board of Elections received 12 to 15 phone calls Monday from voters who said they'd received phone calls giving them incorrect polling locations, said Mary Beth Casey, Republican election commissioner. Although both Democrats and Republicans said they'd been given misinformation, according to Casey, reports of the phone calls prompted representatives of each party to accuse the other side of wrongdoing. Casey said she was very concerned that voters won't know their correct polling place and encouraged anyone with questions to call the Board of Elections. ... [link to County Boards of Election] Casey said she figured about a third of the phone calls she received were from Democrats, the rest from Republicans, which she said mirrors the demographics in this area. Casey said some callers were concerned that they were being deliberately given misinformation. "I had someone say to me, 'It sounds like they're trying to get me to go to the wrong place,' " she said. Casey said she didn't know if the phone calls to voters were automated calls or placed by live callers. At least one person thought the phone call came from the Gillibrand campaign, but at least one Democrat said he thought the call was placed by Republicans, Casey said. Bill Montfort, Democratic election commissioner for Warren County, said he thought phone calls with incorrect polling locations could occur because of misreading information in a voter database available to campaigns. "I could see where that would happen," Casey said. Montfort said midday Monday that he had not received any phone calls from voters who'd been given incorrect polling information. Casey said she may have received the phone calls because her number is listed above Montfort's in the phone book listing for the Board of Elections. Bill Hyers, campaign manager for Kirsten Gillibrand, said the Gillibrand campaign is not making phone calls telling voters about polling stations. Blake Zeff, spokesman for the state Democratic Committee, said such calls were not placed by the Democratic State Committee, either. Mike Grasso, Warren County Republican chairman, said the county Republican headquarters had also received five to eight phone calls from voters who said they'd been given incorrect polling locations, and he said he believed the Democratic State Committee and the committee to elect Kirsten Gillibrand were disseminating erroneous voting information. "Why are Democratic committees calling Republicans telling them where to vote?" he said. Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that office does make automated phone calls telling people their polling stations. Psaki said she was aware of one error in which a Saratoga County voter was given the wrong polling place, but that it's unlikely the DCCC would have given 10 voters in Warren County incorrect information. She said she believed such phone calls are made only to Democrats.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Great Work John

John Sweeney (R-NY) shines a spotlight on the huge flaws in his character and honesty on election night.

A Republican Sweeney supporter tells WNYT that "I can't find it my heart to vote for Sweeney ... especially after today when he just sneaks out the front door and doesn't answer these questions. ... There are a lot of women specifically just like me that feel he needs to get in front of us, not E. Stewart Jones, him and say what this is all about."

Instead, Sweeney "slipped out the door opposite from where his car was parked and drove off in a car different from the one he arrived in."

The state police won't authenticate the new report that seems to come from no place released by nobody.

Big shocker here:

the document ... contained no details, period. (per the TUblog)

According to the TUB, the Sweeney campaign denies that it is behind the no-details-period "report." So maybe a fake sheet o' paper was printed up by a Sweeney supporter or maybe he's telling lies again. Who know?

We do know that Sweeney could have avoided questions about the authenticity of this new report by the news media had he authorized the police to release the report directly to news outlets.

A spokesman for the New York State Police confirmed to ABC News the report can be released "if both parties sign a notarized waiver of privacy with instructions drawn out to who gets it and when." (link)

Sweeney would not do that even when the Times Union offered to draw up the paperwork for him the day after this story broke.

When one WNYT reporter asked the other if it is common for the police to change these reports so that there would be different versions of the same report, he said "Apparently not."

There are two possibilities here. Someone did Sweeney a favor and made some edits. Or a Sweeney supporter or the Sweeney campaign made their own edits. Because we know that the Times Union researched the accuracy of the document before they went to press.

And if you think unusual things don't happen for "Congressman Kick Ass" - keep in mind what the North Country Gazette recently pointed out:

Although his son could have faced up to seven years in prison for the vicious assault, he walked, escaping all jail time.

Is that common? Nope, that's not common either.

Sweeney's desperate to think that any last minute headlines tomorrow citing his new report will convince voters he wasn't telling lies when he claimed there was another report. If he wanted the media to be confident this was the real report, he'd have had the police hand it to the media directly.

He's acted like a complete buffoon from the beginning here.

  1. He stonewalled questions when this happened.
  2. When it was revealed, he tried to blame others for his own mistakes.
  3. He publically called for another report and then refused to release that to the media.
  4. He dodged even supporter's questions about the incident.
  5. He's ensured that on election day - he'll have his domestic violence and his lack of integrity on people's minds all over again.

Let's get out there and vote for Kirsten. Not only because she's the best candidate in the race but also to show that even Bob Novak is right once in a while:

Rep. John Sweeney (R) is a goner after ... police report alleging domestic abuse was leaked to the press.

Last Minute Research from the Mail Bag

On What John Sweeney Got:

Sweeney just reported receiving a $1,000 contribution from Lawrence Kadish (and failed to identify his employer/occupation) [He's a "high-powered real estate investor] Kadish is a MAJOR GOP donor and has true right-wing nut-job credentials Sweeney must be in very deep doo-doo for the GOP to be tapping donors on this level for him.

And donors like LK don't give to moderates.

How he gives:

John Sweeney is the founder and honorary chairman of Freshmen PAC Rep. Don Sherwood, who, the AP revealed, paid his ex-mistress $500,000 to not discuss her allegations that Sherwood choked her, reported yesterday that he had received a $1,000 contribution from the Freshmen PAC.

Because cavemen need to stick together!

Who Says No One Loves Him?

NY Daily News Gives Sweeney an award!

MOHAMMED SAEED al-SAHAF EXCELLENCE IN DENIAL AWARD

And finally, the gilded statuette of former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, handed out for Excellence in Denial, goes to upstate Republican Rep. John Sweeney and his lawyer Stewart Jones, who spent the last days of the campaign frantically denying reports that Sweeney's wife called 911 in an apparent domestic violence incident.

"So what? Who says he beat up his wife?" Jones asked reporters Friday evening, before being reminded, again, that a state police report says she said he "knocked [her] around the house." Sweeney had previously promised to release documents he said would prove his innocence. Then Jones said he'd advised Sweeney "not to release any information to the public or the press."

Wonder why. (link)

Another Editorial Says Sweeney Must Go

North Country Gazette:

COMMENTARY - John Sweeney Ethics Preclude His Reelection To Congress

When Congressman John Sweeney's son was charged with second degree assault as a result of a fight in Stillwater on Aug. 19, 2004, which seriously injured the victim, he turned to Troy attorney E. Stewart Jones.

Although his son could have faced up to seven years in prison for the vicious assault, he walked, escaping all jail time.

Reassure us, tell us politics had nothing to do with that.

Now three news outlets have produced an incident report concerning a report of domestic violence at the Sweeney home, obtained from the New York State Police and Sweeney, embroiled in a contentious race for Congressman in the 20th Congressional District, claims the report is fabricated. He has in essence accused the media, three separate news organizations, of falsifying evidence and says that he's going to produce the real report.

So where is it?

Once again Sweeney has turned to attorney E. Stewart Jones who says he's been hired to find out who "leaked" the report. He says he's advised Sweeney NOT to produce the "real" report.

Is there one? We suspect there's only one report, the one the media obtained.

Not only is there a huge problem involving John Sweeney's character and fitness for public office, but he has a humungous credibility problem.

It appears that the news organizations had been trying for months to obtain the police report from a 911 call made after midnight on Dec. 2, 2005, by Sweeney's wife, Gaia "Gayle" Ford Sweeney. According to the police report, she told a trooper who responded to the call at their Clifton Park home that they got into an argument that "turned a little physical by her being grabbed by the neck and pushed around the house" by Sweeney. The report relates that the couple appeared calm when the trooper arrived but that the Congressman had scratches on his face.

No one was arrested.

It is unlikely that three competing news organizations would "conspire" against Sweeney, as he in essence alleges, to produce a false report of domestic violence and his claim that there's another report just doesn't ring true, especially since he can't or won't produce it and now claims it's all the fault of Kirsten Gillibrand.

His lack of honesty and credibility came forth at his hastily called news conference with his wife when he had to read from notes held down in front of him when commenting about the incident. He couldn't even look directly into the camera and if he was speaking openly and honesty, he wouldn't have needed crib notes that someone had apparently prepared for him.

His wife obviously has a lot to gain from Sweeney being reelected and who knows if she has been threatened in any way to now say that she was never assaulted by him. At least one TV news outlet has reported that Sweeney may have a history of domestic violence, indicating that in 1998, his former wife also reported a similar incident to the police.

Instead of admitting the incident and coming clean, he instead is trying to blame the whole situation on his opponent. Not only is he unwilling to take responsibility and accept the blame for the fallout from his own actions, but he's trying to divert the blame to someone else, a woman---in our view yet another form of domestic violence and his attack ads against the woman have been relentless and possibly defamatory and slanderous.

Instead of accepting responsibility, he calls in the GOP big-whigs to rally around him ---Gov. George Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and former NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani. Bruno shouldn't be vouching for anyone, he should be under intense investigation by the New York State Ethics Commission himself.

Maybe the reason that Sweeney can't produce what he claims is the "real" report is that he can't convince anyone in the State Police to make up a report that he can show around to claim it's the "real thing".

There's no doubt that politics played a role in the criminal charges against his son who avoided jail time after admitting to felony second degree assault.

In a rare action, Republican Fulton County Judge Richard Giardino reversed his earlier decision to sentence John J. Sweeney Jr., 19, of Schaghticoke and John J. Manupella of Troy, also 19, to jail for a brutal assault of another teen last year which fractured his skill and left the victim with long-term vision damage and recurring nightmares. He will also have to undergo reconstructive dental work after losing one tooth and having three other teeth chipped in the assault.

The pair had pleaded guilty to second degree assault in a plea bargain negotiated with the Montgomery County district attorney's office in exchange for a sentence of four months of weekends in jail or 45 consecutive days in jail plus probation and community service.

Second degree assault is a class D felony and they could have received up to seven years in state prison.

But when the pair appeared in court before Giardino, he reversed his earlier decision, and negated the plea agreement. He suspended the jail time, granted them youthful offender status and sealed the court records.

Giardino said that he weighed a number of factors. He didn't happen to mention if politics and the Republican party were among them.

The sentence did not please the victim, Matthew Brady, 20, of Stillwater who said that he believed the pair got such favorable treatment because Sweeney's father is a Congressman. "It's all about money", Brady said. "If you have money, you have power". Brady said the sentence was totally unjust, that "they just walked away with a slap on the wrist".

They were sentenced to 240 hours of community service, five years of probation and must pay Brady's medical costs which total $18,000 to date. They are also barred from having any contact with Brady whom they assaulted in Stillwater on Aug. 19, 2004, in a fight involving 15 to 20 men. The fight between Sweeney and Brady was allegedly about a girl.

The Sweeneys are now blaming the pressures of Junior's arrest along with the Congressman's medical problems which caused his hospitalization last year as the impetus behind the call, saying that the "year-long public scrutiny reached its breaking point". If he couldn't handle the public scrutiny last year, the pressures must be really mounting now and perhaps his wife should seek added protection. His wife claimed she didn't need to be protected from her husband yet she's the one who called the police and said he was pushing her around the house.

Sweeney has some serious baggage, not only from his funding sources but from his position on the war in Iraq and his voting record.

John Sweeny: Campaign Finance/Money - Contributions 2006 Summary

John Sweeny: Campaign Finance/Money - Top Contributors

John Sweeny: Campaign Finance/Money - Top Contributing Industries

Beyond Delay has listed Sweeney as one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress and points out that Sweeney had begun using Gayle Ford, who became his wife, as a fundraiser in April 2003. He proposed to her in September 2003. http://www.beyonddelay.org/summaries/sweeney.php

Beyond Delay says that under the name of "Gaia Mashanta Ford", Sweeney's wife, Creative Consulting was registered in April 2003 with the Albany County Clerk's office. A day later, Sweeney hired Creative Consulting to do fundraising work for his campaign although Ms. Ford (now Mrs. Sweeney) had no previous fundraising experience and appears to have had no other clients. She wasn't paid a salary, Beyond Delay says, but instead was paid a 10% commission on the funds she raised for Sweeney's campaign.

It has been reported that Sweeney's campaign paid Creative Consulting $42,570 during the 2004-2005 election cycle and as of April 2006, had paid the firm $30,879 for the current election cycle. Beyond Delay reports that checks from Sweeney's campaign go to a P.O. Box in Clifton Park, the town where the couple lives.

It has been charged that Sweeney is converting campaign funds to personal use in violation of the federal Election Campaign Act and House Rules.

The nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy and "Congresspedia" has compiled a report on Sweeney which indicates a long history of ethical problems which include a ski trip to New York, the exchange of legislative assistance for campaign contributions his appearance at a drinking party at a frat house where he was said to be drunk and slurring his words but defended his appearance there, saying he was discussing "policy" with the students.

Sweeney invited 53 people to join him earlier this year, from Jan. 6-9, in Lake Placid for a "Congressional Winter Challenge" at the Olympic facilities where they pretended to be Olympic athletes, engaging in skiing, bobsledding and hockey at the expense of New York State taxpayers. Sweeney claims there were no improprieties but the weekend would seem to violate provisions of the House gift and travel rules.

There's other matters such as the complaint field with the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards which alleges that Sweeney violated the Congressional franking privileges by mailing 500 letters less than 90 days before New York's Sept. 12 primary.

Sweeney has also been criticized for hosting a Utah fundraising ski trip in the wake of the scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff that included a dinner at the home of lobbyist Jeff Kimbell who represents the pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Allergan.

Congresspedia reports that Sweeney is among seven members of the House Appropriations Committee who have a political action committee which is either headed by a registered lobbyist or a former registered lobbyist with "business" before the Committee", according to the Center for Public Integrity and campaign records.

Sweeney's financial records are currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice in regard to possible ties to Jack Abramoff after he accepted money from former clients of Abramoff.

In 2001, when he traveled to the Northern Marianas Island to speak to its Chamber of Commerce, his trip was funded by the Chamber, one of Abramoff's clients. He was accompanied on the trip by Tony Rudy, former aide to former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who was then working for Abramoff. According to federal law, members of Congress must disclose all trips funded by private sources but Sweeney failed to report this trip, claiming that he thought the trip was funded by the island's government.

The police report and Sweeney's alleged history of domestic violence is the straw that broke the camel's back.

Voters in the 20th Congressional District definitely need a change, not an albatross to represent them in Washington.

Sometimes voters have to the candidate with the least baggage. In the race for the 20th Congressional District, that person is Kirsten Gillibrand. (link)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Kirsten Gillibrand and President Clinton

If you missed it the first time ... you can see him again tomorrow. Just scroll down for the details.

Siena Says Gillibrand in the Lead 46 to 43

Siena New York Congressional Poll: Gillibrand Leads Sweeney by Three Points, Erasing 14 Point Deficit in Just Over Two Weeks

Voters Now Give Gillibrand Big Edge on Four of Seven Issues

Sweeney Favorability Falls; More Voters Now View Him Unfavorably

Loudonville, NY - In a dramatic turnaround, Democratic challenger Kirsten Gillibrand has erased a 14 point deficit and taken a three point lead over Representative John Sweeney (R-Clifton Park) in the race for Congress in the 20th Congressional District, according to a Siena (College) Research Institute poll released today. Gillibrand now leads Sweeney 46-43 percent, compared to the October 19th Siena Poll showing Sweeney with a 53-39 percent lead. When asked to choose which candidate would do a better job on seven issues, voters give Gillibrand a big edge on four (education, health care, environment and Iraq); Sweeney leads big on two issues (crime and homeland security); one issue (taxes) was a virtual tie.

"Kirsten Gillibrand has erased John Sweeney's lead completely and taken a small lead heading into Election Day," said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena College poll. "Gillibrand is holding more than three-quarters of Democrats, grabbing the support of nearly one-quarter of Republicans and garnering the votes of almost half of independent voters, among whom she leads Sweeney by 13 points. On the other hand, Sweeney is only holding two-thirds of Republicans and picking up the support of only one in seven Democrats.

"Gillibrand has a solid nine-point lead in the southern part of the district, is running neck-and-neck with Sweeney in the North Country portion of the district and trails Sweeney by only three points in the Capital Region part of the district," Greenberg said. "There is no gender gap in this district. Gillibrand leads by three points among men and two points among women.

"The turnaround in this race is even more dramatic given the huge enrollment edge for Republicans in this district," Greenberg said.

I wonder what Alan Chartock is going to have to say on the race now. As recently as October 30th, he was still defending the Sweeney agenda. Metroland reported early this month:

WAMC president and Legislative Gazette publisher Alan Chartock, a frequent critic of the Bush administration, has surprised many local observers with his apparent enthusiasm for Sweeney and his belief that Gillibrand has no chance. In the Sept. 11 Legislative Gazette, Chartock called Sweeney “one of the brightest lights in the Republican delegation.” Chartock proposed in the article that Democrats might consider voting for Sweeney so he can serve as an independent watchdog to keep the Bush administration in line. [Chartock said,] “there is something to be said for picking Republicans like Sweeney who is comfortably ahead of his opponent and supporting them to show the political world that Republicans who demonstrate independence will be rewarded for that spirit.” (link)

HAHAHAH! That was sooooooo wrong. Sweeney's voted with Bush 89% of the time. And with DeLay 92% of the time. That's not independence. People here know that. When I agree with someone 89% of the time, we're very close, we've got a lot in common and we're practically best friends forever.

Will AC finally abandon the GOP talking points regarding his "Good Friend" John Sweeney? As a private citizen and listener to WASMC, I've been asking AC to wake up since I first heard him talk about this race. I live here, I met Kirsten over 2 years ago, I knew people here were going to be open to her ideas for change and that Sweeney is not who we, the people in the 20th district, want representing us in congress.

Related: Read more about the poll and get the cross tabs from the TUblog.

Sweeney hearts Sweeney

United in Freedom, John Sweeney's "Leadership" PAC just donated $5,000 - the max allowed - to Sweeney's own campaign for congress in an effort to save his own seat on Nov. 4th.

Desperado....

Senator Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand Rally

Senator Clinton will be campaigning with Kirsten Gillibrand at a Dutchess County Get Out the Vote Rally

Date: Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Time: 4:00 p.m.

Location: The Big Barn, Tymor Park, 6 Tymor Park Road off County Route 21, Lagrangeville

Directions:

From North/South Dutchess County: Take the Taconic Parkway to the Poughkeepsie/Pawling Exit. After exiting head East towards Pawling on Route 55.

At second light turn left on to County Route 21. Tymor Park is two miles from light on the right. Parking is available at the Park.

Times Union Endorses Gillibrand

Gillibrand for Congress The Democratic challenger has emerged as a better candidate than the Republican incumbent

First published: Sunday, November 5, 2006

It's time for a change in the 20th Congressional District in New York and across much of the country. The elections of 2006, potentially historic in their scope, ought to be when the Democrats regain control of Congress. Rarely has such an overall change been needed more, especially to restore the checks and balances that the Constitution provides.

In each of his last two re-election campaigns, we endorsed U.S. Rep. John Sweeney. We cannot do so this time. Instead, our endorsement goes to his challenger, Kirsten Gillibrand.

To be sure, Mr. Sweeney has worked hard on behalf of his district and New York state. But for the past six years, he also has been a prominent and unapologetic advocate of deleterious Bush administration policies, from the Iraq war to tax laws that favor the rich over the poor. At a crucial moment when his voice might have been raised on behalf of openness and accountability in Congress, Mr. Sweeney remained a supporter of the ethically challenged House GOP leadership.

Ms. Gillibrand is a first-time candidate with unusual poise and command of the issues. By contrast to Mr. Sweeney, she offers a promising agenda for change.

She has been against the war in Iraq from its ill-conceived beginning and offers a sensible course that recognizes the failure of President Bush's mission and envisions a negotiated political solution that would allow a deadline to be imposed for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Mr. Sweeney, meanwhile, talks about the failure of the "stay-the-course" strategy, but isn't even dissuaded from what's now the undisputed truth about Saddam Hussein not possessing so-called weapons of mass destruction. Adhering to that line of judgment is inexcusable in someone we trust to make tough judgments for us.

Ms. Gillibrand supports tax cuts, but more for the benefit of the middle class, while Mr. Sweeney has been a reliable vote for tax cuts that do nothing to stimulate the economy. He rejects the consensus of most economists that cutting taxes to the point of reducing revenue hurts the economy, not helps it. Ms. Gillibrand also advocates a sensible energy policy designed with the needs of ordinary people, not huge oil companies, in mind. She's more committed than Mr. Sweeney to policies that would reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. She's also more determined to find a way to make health care less costly and more easily available.

On issues close to home, certainly, Mr. Sweeney has been an able congressman. He has been outspoken in his insistence that New York not be denied the money needed to prevent terrorism. He has boosted efforts to bring high-tech jobs into his district and the Capital Region. Denying him re-election means taking a chance on someone who would go to Congress for the first time.

Yet Ms. Gillibrand has emerged as unquestionably qualified for Congress by virtue of her vision and intelligence. She would be an articulate advocate for the people who would become her constituents. She\'s especially passionate about saving the small farms in the Hudson Valley, and she sees the dredging of the Hudson River as the economic opportunity that it truly is.

This election is about more than who's best for the interests of the 20th Congressional District. It's about who's best for the interests of the country. Ms. Gillibrand is clearly the better choice.

Ms. Gillibrand supports tax cuts, but more for the benefit of the middle class, while Mr. Sweeney has been a reliable vote for tax cuts that do nothing to stimulate the economy. He rejects the consensus of most economists that cutting taxes to the point of reducing revenue hurts the economy, not helps it.

Ms. Gillibrand also advocates a sensible energy policy designed with the needs of ordinary people, not huge oil companies, in mind. She's more committed than Mr. Sweeney to policies that would reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. She's also more determined to find a way to make health care less costly and more easily available.

On issues close to home, certainly, Mr. Sweeney has been an able congressman. He has been outspoken in his insistence that New York not be denied the money needed to prevent terrorism. He has boosted efforts to bring high-tech jobs into his district and the Capital Region. Denying him re-election means taking a chance on someone who would go to Congress for the first time.

Yet Ms. Gillibrand has emerged as unquestionably qualified for Congress by virtue of her vision and intelligence. She would be an articulate advocate for the people who would become her constituents. She's especially passionate about saving the small farms in the Hudson Valley, and she sees the dredging of the Hudson River as the economic opportunity that it truly is.

This election is about more than who's best for the interests of the 20th Congressional District. It's about who's best for the interests of the country. Ms. Gillibrand is clearly the better choice. (link)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Register Star Endorses Kirsten

From the Register Star, 11/4/06

Residents of Columbia and Dutchess counties have had a front seat for the battle royale between Congressman John Sweeney and his challenger, Kirsten Gillibrand. Whoever emerges from this slugfest will represent the 20th Congressional district

The incumbent, Republican John Sweeney, has been recently plagued by allegations of domestic violence and ethical lapses. Yet he seems to have a strong pocket of support.

Maybe it’s his love of the region that engenders such goodwill. He certainly has brought home funding for any number of projects, including Columbia Memorial Hospital and other causes close to his heart. The four-term congressman waxes poetic over local history sites, and claims to have returned something to the tune of three-quarters of a billion dollars back to the state since his initial victory.

Or maybe it’s his tough-guy stance. Sweeney, in lockstep with the Bush Administration, believes in a connection between Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq. He’s bullish on Homeland Security and the defense industry, touting the latter as a potential economic boon for the area.

Gillibrand, too, is a staunch defender of the U.S. She also believes that terrorists have their eyes on our nation, and that we must be resolute in deterring any advance on their part. However, she thinks it’s time to get out of Iraq. She advocates returning power to the Iraqis, and bringing all sides to the table to negotiate a viable government.

Closer to home, Gillibrand is looking to reform what she sees as needless waste in spending. A self-defined fiscal conservative, Gillibrand proposes holding politicians accountable when they belly up to the trough. She believes that the enormous debt generated by the current administration can be dealt with, if someone else takes control of the checkbook.

She’s also in favor of giving a break to the middle class, even going so far as to propose at $10,000 rebate for those who have children in college. An advocate of education, she believes the region could retain bright young people if it invested in conservation technology.

There’s a lot more to Gillibrand and her platform, far too much to fit into the space of this editorial. Which is why the Register-Star is endorsing Gillibrand for Congress.

It’s not that Sweeney isn’t a passionate politician. He is. But he still moves too much in tandem with the current administration, and rather than offering insight or thoughtful response to broadly perceive problems, merely parrots Republican talking points.

In contrast, Gillibrand is bright, charismatic and willing to discuss any issue under the sun—or research it and get back to you. We believe that she will bring light into those musty halls and keep her word to work for reform.

We do have one recommendation for Gillibrand, and that is to keep to the sidelines when it comes to local issues. Residents of the twin counties elect their local representatives to deal with “home rule” issues.

On Tuesday, November 7, cast your vote for Kirsten Gillibrand.

Oh say can you see?

The Poughkeepsie Journal says of Sweeney:

he's not above admitting mistakes

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA - good one. I think must have been a typo. It should have said, he's not above making mistakes. Lots of them.

Gillibrand has criticized Sweeney for some lobbying and fundraising trips. Sweeney counters he hasn't done anything illegal ...

Actually, his trip to the Marianas Islands with Abramoff's right hand man was not correctly reported according to house ethics rules. That makes it illegal. His financial records have been pulled by the Department of Justice which suggests that he has done a lot that is illegal. And there is sworn testimony on the Congressional Winter Challenge that says Sweeney violated house ethics rules when he drew up the guest list for the event. He should know better and when something is wrong, he shouldn't be doing it in the first place. In another endorsement that relies on GOP talking points against Gillibrand as they suggest:

despite his blemished voting record (link)

that Sweeney "deserves" re-election. We beg to differ. We think that the voters disagree with the two papers (the bozos editors at the Saratogian are also blind to reality) that came out with apologetic endorsements today suggesting that we stay the course with Sweeney for a few scraps of pork in our trough. Sweeney had no elected office experience when he ran. Sweeney moved to the district from elsewhere. Sweeney is wrong about the dredging, his stance has stilted our economy. Hosting the nation's largest superfund site will be an immediate economic boost for the district from the moment it is finally begun. A clean river will continue to grow our economy for generations to come. Sweeney has lied to us repeatedly, he has sold us out for his campaign doughners. He has not proven that he deserves to represent the people of this district. Sweeney's had 8 years to figure out what he's doing in congress. And he doesn't get it. We are headed in the wrong direction. We are bogged down in Iraq, we are not creating enough new jobs, big oil and the drug companies are writing our laws, this is the most corrupt congress in history.

If you don't change the direction you are going, you wind up where you are headed. Kirsten Gillibrand is the best candidate in the race.

Eye Opening

TU weighs in on the police report that John Sweeney pretended was concocted campaign propoganda:

Three knowledgeable sources have confirmed to the Times Union that the document, which appears to be a police record of the incident and which was obtained by other news organizations, accurately reflects information contained in State Police files.

It is time for Sweeney to go. When a 51 year old man can't take responsibility for his own actions, when he stands up and lies to us putting on airs of indignant rage after threatening papers with lawsuits to try to keep them from sharing the truth with us, he is so far over the edge that nothing can bring him back from the abyss.

More of Joe Bruno's efforts to pull the wool over the voters eyes:

"The people in the 20th Congressional District will not be fooled by lies, by slander," Bruno told about 150 Sweeney supporters. ...

Guiliani later told reporters he does not believe the allegations.

When something is true, it is neither slander nor lies. Does Mr. Bruno know that at the very same time he was making these claims, Sweeney's lawyer was telling us that no other reports were going to be released by Sweeney's campaign?

Republicans are grasping at straws with a claim that state police are saying the report is inauthentic. If there were records that contradicted the leaked document, of course, Sweeney could have gotten proof of that to the papers. Here's the reality:

...State Police have not challenged the document, and a spokesman said they will not, under policy, confirm or deny its accuracy. Agency officials have said that State Police do not consider any document to be an authentic record unless it has been officially released through its records division. ...

(Quotes from the Times Union)

Bruno's right about Sweeney

At yesterday's ra-ra Republican Rally for John Sweeney. Joe Bruno said:

“This is one of the most vicious, slanderous, libelous campaigns perpetrated by an opponent in all of the United States — and that’s too bad,” Mr. Bruno told the crowd of about 100 people. (source)

He's right about that - so long as "the opponent" he meant is John Sweeney.

FactCheck.org Says "Charges against Gillibrand don't hold water" November 3, 2006

GOP Rep. John Sweeney's ad goes after his opponent, first-time House candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, with a half-dozen accusations layered over a soundtrack that's somehow both scary and sad. The ad tars Gillibrand with everything from taking illegal contributions to hiring a consultant tied to the Abramoff lobbying scandal to making children cry at a Sweeney rally, and more.

... All of the charges, in our judgment, are either exceedingly misleading or downright baseless. Some of them list no backup citations, which is unusual for ads in this campaign cycle and makes them difficult for the average viewer to research. The Sweeney campaign did not respond to numerous phone messages we left inquiring about this ad.

Read more here.

PS. Just 100 people came to the rally with Pataki and Giuliani, looks like even Republicans don't support Sweeney anymore.

More whoopsies from Team Sweeney

My favorite bit in the story about the Rudy, Georgie and Johnnie Rally that Sweeney's handlers were foolishly hoping would distract us all from the news that there are no records that can be released to prove that there was no domestic violenece at John Sweeney's house on Dec. 2nd.

Seeing as how the real records are just like the ones reported already - doi! If you're like me, you proabably knew that already. I'm thinking that Sweeney either had no idea that the po-po would tell people there was a way to provide the reports. Or he was planning to get his report, rewrite it to make it sound like Gayle called the police because of Sweeney's health problems or for something else not having to do with her being choked and then release that "real" one himself. His lawyer probably talked him outta that Rovian idea and came up with a great alternative one: pledge to find the real leakers behind this by Tuesday morning! See if OJ Simpson can be at the press conference to help our search! Back to my point though...

Giuliani dragged out the dead horse claim that Democrats are going to let the boogey men get us even though more Americans trust Democrats on terrorism today. Giuliani didn't do the greatest job since he used an example of something that Sweeney opposed anyway:

"Without The Patriot Act, we would go back to a pre-September 11th environment in dealing with these terrorists. The FBI wouldn't have the tools that it needs even to communicate with each other," Giuliani said. "John Sweeney understands this."

Errr...psst, Rudy...bad choice there.

In fact, Sweeney voted against making the Patriot Act permanent last December, although he did support the initial bill. In an interview last month, Sweeney told The Post-Star he voted against it because the Bush administration changed the strategy for distributing homeland security funding. (link)

I don't know which is more interesting, the way what Rudy said is utterly baseless and uninformed, or the fact that Sweeney didn't vote agains the P act because it is an infrindgement on our freedoms and we should fight terrorists but still keep American citizens free from big brother. He voted against it to punish Bush for something he didn't like. As a spoiled kid or a bully would. Sweeney stands up to Bush not by getting Bush to agree with what he wants but by voting against something else that Bush does want. What kind of politician is he? A bad one.

Sweeney endorsement withdrawn

The Post Star just withdrew its endorsement of John Sweeney. Bravo.

EDITORIAL: Character questions continue to dog Sweeney Our view: Post-Star withdraws endorsement in wake of latest controversy regarding domestic violence call

Friday, November 3, 2006 8:24 PM EST

There's a time when you have to say, enough.

Here is one such time.

Serious allegations of domestic violence were raised against Congressman John Sweeney earlier this week after three newspapers published police accounts of a 911 call to his home in December.

The congressman has said he wants the truth to come out. But his actions in the wake of the incident and the disclosure of the 911 call in the media indicate otherwise.

The congressman's staff first responded to the police report on Wednesday by claiming the document was "fabricated" and "concocted" by an unnamed operative in the campaign of his opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand.

On Thursday, the congressman changed his story, admitting that there had been some kind of incident at his home that night, but that it wasn't as the police report in the media said it was.

At a press conference with his wife dutifully at his side, the couple said they would give permission to police to release documents that would reveal the truth about what happened. But police informed the congressman that in order to release the documents, he and his wife would have to provide a notarized authorization.

So to help him along, the Times-Union editorial board, the New York Daily News and the Associated Press on Thursday each offered to provide notarized requests for him to prompt police to release the records. In each case, the congressman angrily refused. Why would someone who says he so interested in the truth refuse help in releasing documents that would bring out the truth?

On Friday, as the citizens waited a third day for Sweeney to finally disclose the truth, again there was nothing from the congressman to support his claims as to what really happened. Instead, the congressman had himself seen with Governor Pataki and 9/11 hero Rudy Giuliani, telling reporters who questioned him about the waiver as he walked away, "Talk to my lawyer."

Perhaps by appearing with these two political giants, Sweeney was hoping their aura would overshadow a newspaper report published Friday in which he was quoted in the Times-Union as saying he thought the whole domestic violence matter was a "non-issue."

"It is a non-issue, and only you people made it an issue because it's salacious," the congressman told Times-Union editors.

We don't think it's a non-issue. And we're sure many of our readers don't either.

In May of last year, 25 courageous victims of domestic violence came forward and told their compelling stories of abuse as part of a series in this newspaper on domestic violence. They told of violence and fear, and of the shame and humiliation they felt when they failed to remove themselves from their abusive situations.

The congressman's curt dismissal of the domestic violence incident as a "non-issue" demonstrates that he either doesn't understand the seriousness of this matter as it relates to his role as a member of Congress, or that he simply hopes to divert attention from it so he can win the election.

In our editorial endorsing the congressman for re-election last Sunday, we pointed out the many flaws in Congressman Sweeney's character, including his accompanying lobbyists to exotic locations, fabricating lies about his political opponents, and using poor judgement in attending frat parties. We said voters should take those factors into consideration, but that the congressman's record in helping secure funding for his district and voting in Republican interests overrode concerns about his unofficial conduct.

His response to this incident reflects disturbingly not only on his character, but on his credibility to serve effectively as a representative of all the people.

There are still three days left until Election Day, and we urge the congressman to release the police documentation he says will unveil the truth about what really happened at his house that night.

Given this situation and Congressman Sweeney's unacceptable response to it, we can no longer stand behind our earlier endorsement of his candidacy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

John Sweeney's Arrogance and Hypocrisy

TUblog reports MoDo (that is one of Sweeney's spinners for you non-political junkies) called on Gillibrand to release her taxes for the 7 gazillionth time in response to factcheck.org's report on the Sweeney campaign's ad lies: "From war profiteering to making kids cry, incumbent's charges against Gillibrand don't hold water."

I'm just thinking out loud here ...

This is pretty odd seeing as how John Sweeney's lawyer just announced that Sweeney and his wife are NEVER releasing police documents about John Sweeney ... the reports which Sweeney and his wife both told us just 48 hours ago that they wanted the police to release. (We know because we all saw it on TV!) ...

Call me wacky, but I'd say it is time for Team Sweeney to shut up about Gillibrand's tax returns, how bout you?

When you don't release the documents you just promised you would release, why should anyone else release documents you think they should release?

We all know that the Sweeney campaign would just use the tax returns as fodder for more negative ads anyway. And we've all had enough of Team Sweeney's bold faced lies as it is.

Sweeney Doesn't Deliver

"Sweeney will never, NEVER ask police to release that report" according to WTEN.

Gee, that is the exact opposite of what Sweeney said two days ago. More lies and broken vows come as no shock from this "representative"

Sweeney should resign. E. Stewart Jones, is holding a press conference right now.

Gee, I wonder if the reason is that the "real report" is the report we saw already and releasing it would expose Sweeney as the liar that he is. Ya think?

Contrasts the issues

For those of you looking for articles on the issues of the 20th district race between Kirsten Gillibrand and John Sweeney, the Times Union has an article today:

Gillibrand, Sweeney on issues: Rivals in 20th Congressional District spell out views on Iraq, health care, other topics read it here.

And Today's Hillsdale Independent also has an issues and bios article up here.

If you haven't seen a Kirsten Gillibrand speech yet, I recommend this new speech up at You Tube. It continues as Part 2 here.

Gillibrand Endorsement from ADE

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise says

Gillibrand for the 20th District

The 20th Congressional District of New York has been ready for a breath of fresh air for a while now. Two years ago, we were eager to bid John Sweeney adieu and endorsed little-known Hyde Park politician and schoolteacher Doris Kelly, who had virtually no chance of winning.

This time around, the Democrats are offering a candidate we feel more confident about endorsing — Kirsten Gillibrand, a 39-year-old lawyer who grew up in Albany and moved back to upstate New York three years ago, buying a house in Hudson. She and her husband vacation regularly in Lake Placid, as her family has done since she was a child. Our needs, therefore, are known to her.

Mr. Sweeney, on the other hand, isn’t as familiar with Lake Placid and Keene — the northern tip of this oddly shaped district — as he should be after eight years of representing these towns in Congress.

We also agree with Ms. Gillibrand on many of the big issues:

¯Iraq — She says the U.S. should set a date to pull its troops from Iraq and, in the meantime, make a couple of promises to the nation to show that we have no imperialist designs: 1) that we will keep no permanent military bases there and 2) that we will retain no claim on the country’s oil.

¯Spending — Ms. Gillibrand claims to be a fiscal conservative, a hot trend among Democrats this election year. While it’s easier said than done, they can’t spend much more, with much less oversight, than Mr. Sweeney’s congressional Republicans. She at least has big plans: restoring pay-as-you-go budgets, cutting pork in half, cutting government spending on consultants, giving each budget line item a name and vote, doing a better enforcement job with tax cheats, reducing the federal workforce through attrition, etc.

¯Health — Mr. Sweeney’s votes have been good to drug and insurance companies, at a terrible price for the general public. We’re not sure about Ms. Gillibrand’s plan to open Medicaid up to anyone who wants to buy into it, but we do think she’s the candidate who’s open to a new nationwide approach to health coverage.

On top of all this, we don’t trust Mr. Sweeney’s ethics. His vacations with lobbyists have shown what one of our letter writers, Peter May of Catskill, aptly described as “a pattern of servitude to corporate fat cats.”

We’re happy for a change and excited to see how Kirsten Gillibrand will do.

More Broken Promises from John Sweeney

Maybe Sweeney thought that the police noticed he was giving them a secret wink-wink nudge nudge when he called on them to release the "real" report. He is in another pickle like he was when his claims that he'd debate Gillibrand after the primary and after Labor Day, eventually he just can't deliver on his promises. He can't do what he said he was going to do - he can't win if people see him in a debate. He can't win when they figure out that his press conference was just another one of his elaborate lies to convince the voters that Sweeney is someone he is not.

Sweeney 911 call report still secret

Nov. 3, 2006, Newsday ALBANY, N.Y. -- Rep. John Sweeney has so far failed to follow through on a promise to authorize the release of police records he claimed would refute reports that he physically abused his wife last December.

Sweeney claimed Wednesday that a widely reported state police document showing that his wife called 911 on Dec. 2, 2005 to say he was "knocking her around the house" was fabricated. Neither Sweeney nor his wife, Gaia, denied there was an emergency call placed from their suburban Albany home on that date.

"I call on the state police to release the true report," Sweeney said.

Sweeney's office had yet to release any documents by Friday morning. State police have said the couple needs to sign a notarized letter to obtain the police files. The couple could then release them.

Sweeney spokeswoman Melissa Carlson had said the congressman and his wife would send a notarized letter to the state police Thursday. But there was no indication from Sweeney's office that the letter was sent and state police would not say if they received one.

Sweeney's office has declined offers of assistance in preparing release waivers from The Associated Press, the Times Union of Albany and New York Daily News.

There was no immediate comment from Sweeney's office Friday.

According to the documents, Gaia Sweeney called 911 after midnight on Dec. 2 to make the complaint. She told a trooper sent to the couple's home that they got into an argument that "turned a little physical by her being grabbed by the neck and pushed around the house." The pair appeared calm when the trooper arrived, though John Sweeney had scratches on his face, according to the electronic police report.

No one was arrested in the incident.

The 51-year-old Republican is facing a heated challenge from Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Sweeney accused his opponent of trying to slander his family. ...

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

Another Gillibrand Endorsement

Daily Star in Oneonta published 11/3/06

Vote Gillibrand over Sweeney

In the 20th Congressional District, Republican Rep. John Sweeney has refused to have even one debate with Democratic candidate Kirsten Gillibrand and declined an invitation to talk to this newspaper’s editorial board.

Lobbyists, however, have had no problem at all in getting Mr. Sweeney’s attention.

Whether it’s a 2001 trip to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a ski trip to a plush resort in Utah, Sweeney is part of the problem of our government appearing to be for sale to big-money interests.

Sweeney has run an arrogant, bullying campaign and has abrogated his congressional oversight responsibilities by going along with President Bush’s efforts to expand the power of the executive branch.

Mrs. Gillibrand, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air even while proving herself to be a tough, energetic campaigner.

She talks about such issues as abortion rights, health care and Iraq in a serious, open and forthright manner.

The 20th District most definitely needs a change. That change is named Kirsten Gillibrand. We strongly advocate her election on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sweeney: More Gifts That Keep On Giving

"Lobbying is the fourth branch of government -- if you know what I mean."

- comment in defense of Congressman John Sweeney by Jasper Nolan, Saratoga Republican County Chairman (Post Star 2/1/2006)

I can't take credit for this since most of the information below has been researched by someone else and was sent to me via email. (Like all great bloggers, I will protect my sources, unless they contact me and ask me to give them a link here, in which case I will.) I have included some additional information and the quote below is not an exact transcription. Here goes:

In his darkest hour, John Sweeney just got a $1,500 contribution from the MeadWestVaco PAC. They also gave him $2,000 in 2004. Along with $2,500 earlier this year.

It seems Sweeney helped MeadWestVaco with an International Trade Commission case. Read Sweeney's own October 16, 2006 press release.

Per an August 21, 2006 press release, ITC is going to impose countervailing duties on Indian companies that were competing with MeadWestVaco. And we do quote here:

  • The petitions for these investigations were filed by MeadWestvaco Corp. (Dayton, OH); Norcom, Inc. (Norcross, GA); and Top Flight, Inc. (Chattanooga, TN) (collectively, the Association of American School Paper Suppliers).

Here is how (to the dismay of our founding fathers who wanted 3 branches of government) lobbying got to be the 4th branch of government: under the Byrd Amendment, those duties are then redistributed to (insert gasp, drumroll, and/or nervous laughter here) MeadWestVaco.

It’s a simple process - making campaign contributions in exchange for corporate welfare that ultimately costs us. A couple of thousand dollars in campaign contributions gets you Pretty easy cost/benefit calculation. What if Sweeney had worked this hard to help out the farmers, the teachers, the average people in the 20th district? We elected him, we pay his entire salary and he does not seem to be very concerned about the challanges we face here.

This isn't the first time eyebrows have been raised regarding favors to Sweeney's campaign donors. Remember his boat deals? What is shocking is how cheaply votes are racked up by corrupt lobbyists. Not only is this congress for sale, it is for sale at rock bottom prices to the lowest bidders.

This summer, the congressman could have worked with his party to deliver new ethical rules, but instead the GOP worked to pass pretend reform. See the Washington Post's Kill This Bill. Which Sweeney voted for.

More Clues on the Real John Sweeney

Here's an interesting observation noted when John Sweeney was interviewed by the Daily Freeman. They asked him about his contradictions when it comes to the war in Iraq and:

He became angry when questioned about the seemingly contradictory positions, and, at one point - when pressed to show where in the 216 press releases he has issued since 2003 he took a position in support of partitioning - he became visibly irate, pointing his finger at one member of the editorial board and saying: "Don't you get hostile with me."

Does this sound like an experienced politician to you? It seems more like the actions of a spoiled child or a bully.

When you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen Congressman. Read "Sweeney breaks with Bush ... contradicts own vote ..."

That is what it is always like for Sweeney, once 70%+ of the population is against something, like the Dubai ports, and the situation in Iraq, then he breaks with Bush and wants a cookie for being "independent."

Excuse me for point out that Johnny Come Lately's to wisdom deserve little credit for the "independence" stances.

Sweeney's sham stories

I haven't had my coffee yet but maybe you can help me figure something out.

Rep. John Sweeney said a report that his wife called an emergency dispatcher in December saying he was "knocking her around the house" is fake and part of a political smear campaign. Neither Sweeney nor his wife denied she called police but both said there was no violence that night. (link)

So like if they were just hanging out playing scrabble together or something, then what made his wife call the po-po? She just thought that would be more fun than scrabble?

No violence? But she called the police and went to sleep elsewhere that night. Come on Congressman "Kick Ass," be honest. It would be a refreshing change of pace if nothing else.

Sweeney's pulling his health card out like he did when he was in a happy-looking place (or drunk) at the Frat party earlier this year.

John Sweeney also blamed health problems related to vasculitis, an inflammatory reaction in blood vessels. ...

Sweeney also talked about enduring a stressful period around the time of the incident, which took place less than two weeks after his son was sentenced to jail on felony assault charges. ...adding that health problems may have produced symptoms that were present around the time of the police call.

(TU link)

In other words, I'm just sick. I'm not wife beater sick, I have a blood disease. And my kid was going to have to suffer the consequences of his Class D Felony. And everyone knows those things make your wife call the po-po for no reason at all at 1:00 in the morning.

The TU Story notes that:

The document leaked to news agencies apparently contained an accurate 7-digit incident number and also the name of the trooper who investigated the call. Those details were never publicly released.

So how does Sweeney 'splain that? Are we supposed to chalk it up to random meaninlgless coincidence?

I'm not buying that.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our parting shot for the day

I know because I do talk to them, and here's more proof: Republicans heart Kirsten Gillibrand. We're all Americans and it is time for a change. Republican candidate Warren Redlich and the Democratic incumbent, Congressman Mike McNulty have both endorsed Gillibrand. Mr. Redlich said:

In good conscience, I cannot keep silent for the sake of party unity.

Check out the cool new Women's voting ad at You Tube.

We're wondering if the Sweeney claims that there was no domestic violence at his house are true, then why were the police called? Sweeney's telling us that the report is fake - how dumb does he think we are?

Proof of Sweeney's Lies #1

...When asked directly whether state police responded to a 911 call placed by his wife on Dec. 2, 2005, Sweeney’s aides had no immediate comment. The News brought the report to a spokesman for the state police, who did not dispute its authenticity...”

Proof of Sweeney's Lies #2

Trooper Scott Gunsel, who is named as the responding officer on the report in question, confirmed he had filed it but said he couldn’t recall many details - and wouldn’t disclose specifics. Asked whether his name was on the report associated with the incident, Gunsel told Newsday, “Yes it is. I remember being there.”

Maybe Sweeney is one of those guys who thinks that if you don't put the woman in the hospital then it doesn't count as abuse? How caveman. Sweeney's claims that this is not the real report, in spite of overwhelmong evidence to the contrary, make him even more pathetic than he was this morning when the news broke.

The Caveman Cartoon is from EmpireWire.

Tawkin About

What they say about John Sweeney getting "a little physical" that resulted in his wife "being grabbed by the neck and pushed around the house"

NY Mag:

our sympathy well has run dry

PoliticalWire:

CQ rates the race No Clear Favorite and this news certainly doesn't make it easier for Sweeney

National Conservatives think The House is a Lost Cause for the GOP.

On Tuesday of next week, the GOP is going to take a beating. The only question at this point is how bad of a beating it's going to be. ...

Republican-Held Seats That Are Toss-Ups

CA-11: Rep. Richard Pombo (R.) vs. Jerry McNerney (D.) CT-2: Rep. Rob Simmons (R.) vs. Joe Courtney (D.) CT-4: Rep. Chris Shays (R.) vs. Diane Farrell (D.) CO-04: Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R.) vs. Angie Paccione (D.) CO-7: Rick O'Donnell (R.) vs. Ed Perlmutter (D.) FL-16:: Joe Negron (R.) vs. Tim Mahoney (D.) FL-22: Rep. Clay Shaw (R.) vs. Ron Klein (D.) IA-01: Mike Whalen (R.) vs. Bruce Braley (D.) IL-6: Peter Roskam (R.) vs. Tammy Duckworth (D.) KY-03: Rep. Anne Northup (R.) vs. John Yarmuth (D.) KY-04: Rep. Geoff Davis (R.) vs. Ken Lucas (D.) NH-02: Rep. Charlie Bass (R.) vs. Paul Hodes (D.) NM-1: Rep. Heather Wilson (R.) vs. Patricia Madrid (D.) NY-20: Rep. John Sweeney (R.) vs. Kirsten Gillibrand (D.) NY-24: Ray Meier (R.) vs. Michael Arcuri (D.) NY-25: Rep. James Walsh (R.) vs. Dan Maffei (D.) NY-29: Rep. Randy Kuhl (R.) vs. Eric Massa (D.) OH-01: Rep. Steve Chabot (R.) vs. John Cranley (D.) OH-15: Rep. Deborah Pryce (R.) vs. Mary Jo Kilroy (D.) TX-22: Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R.) vs. Nick Lampson (D.) WA-08: Rep. Dave Reichert (R.) vs. Darcy Burner (D.) WI-08: John Gard (R.) vs. Steve Kagen (D.) WY-AL: Rep. Barbara Cubin (R.) vs. Gary Trauner (D.) VA-02: Rep. Thelma Drake (R.) vs. Phil Kellam (D.)

Congressman Kick Ass takes work home with him...

Here's one more of John Sweeney's "shortcomings" that the Post Star thinks we should "overlook."

I think Sweeney should start going to bed earlier. Being up in the midnight hours just doesn't seem a good look on him. From the 10/31 Times Union report:

...Sweeney's wife, Gaia, placed the emergency call to a police dispatcher in Saratoga County at 12:55 a.m. on Dec. 2, according to the document.

"Female caller stating her husband is knocking her around the house,'' a dispatcher wrote. "Then she stated `Here it comes, are you ready?' and disconnected the call. Upon call-back, the husband stated no problem ... asked the wife if she wanted to talk. ...

I think it is time to say, we don't need a guy who keeps coming up short. We can elect Kirsten Gillibrand instead.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sweeney's Blank Givers ... Un-blanketed Here

Since the first one we posted was quite popular. Here are more of John Sweeney's Campaign Donors who somehow can't remember what they do for a living when they give to John Sweeney. Jobs are for little people. Oh wait, most of them had jobs that were easy to find in an online search. Disclosure is for little people. Compliance is for little people, I get it.

  • $1,000 Axiom Capital LLC - No name given. Isn't it against the law to accept funds that don't come from an individual?
  • $2,100 John Canner also didn't provide an address or employer.
  • $500 William Stephen Cannon shows up on Circuit City Insider Trade Reports as an Officer. And the Badbusinessbureau.com says that in DC, "he was going to get disbarred but reached a plea agreement at the last minute, paid back a few thousand dollars and got off with nothing else but a slap on the wrist."
  • $500 James D. Cronley is the co-owner of Terhaar and Cronley in Pensacola FL. I guess you could say he's a developer ... if you were so inclined. Looks like "certain violations may have been committed" by him and others, he was "absolved" by the FL Board of Elections in connection with HOPE Pac (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere).
  • $1,000 Harlan Crow is the owner of Crow Realty Investors. And is President of Crow Holdings. Mr. Crow has got his own page at Sourcewatch.

News Rounds

Fox News' Martin Frost has our district in his races to watch on election night:

...I am now even more certain that Democrats will take control of the House and believe the net gain will be at least 30 seats and that we will certainly know the outcome early in the evening. My optimism is fueled by the Mark Foley-page scandal and the worsening situation in Iraq.

Here’s my updated list of races to watch by time zone.

Let’s start by noting that the Democrats’ magic number is now 12, rather than 15. Democrats clearly will win DeLay’s old seat in Texas (the Republicans must run a write-in campaign that is virtually impossible with new electronic voting machines), Foley’s seat (under a bizarre Florida election statute voters must vote for Foley in order to have their votes counted for the replacement nominee) and Jim Kolbe’s seat in Arizona (Republicans have given up on this race).

New York: All of a sudden there are six Republican seats in New York in play: seats currently held by Sherwood Boehlert (who is retiring), John Sweeney, Randy Kuhl, Tom Reynolds, Sue Kelly and Jim Walsh. Two victories mean that Democrats are on their way. Any more than that is the leading edge of a wipeout. Defeating Reynolds would be particularly sweet for Democrats since he is the current chairman of the House Republican campaign committee.

In today's NY Daily News:

A state official ruled that the New York State Police improperly denied a request for information about police responses to the home of powerful Republican Rep. John Sweeney. The executive director of the state's Committee on Open Government, Robert Freeman, ruled in a July advisory opinion that the police had no right to refuse the request from a producer at WNYT-TV in Albany.

The station requested records indicating the number of times the police had been called to the home of Sweeney, a former executive director of the state Republican Party who represents the Albany area. The state police refused on the grounds that releasing such records would violate privacy.

There is no indication whether or not such records exist.

The state police .response was "inconsistent with law," Freeman wrote in his opinion, which was given to WNYT but not publicly released. "When a trooper or police officer is called to a certain location, the presence of that person with his or her .vehicle, again, is not secret."

Sweeney is normally a safe incumbent, but the gregarious congressman faces a tough battle for reelection against .Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand after a series of personal and public embarrassments.

Sweeney was photographed this year disheveled at a fraternity party with students, and the state Democratic Party has demanded Sweeney release "records documenting his arrests and drunk driving incidents to the media."

Sweeney's office didn't respond to requests for comment on the story, though he has said he has nothing to hide.

The chief counsel for the state police, Glenn Valle, said in an e-mailed statement that they disagree with Freeman's opinion. "When the state police investigates a matter, and makes no arrest, the persons involved have a recognized privacy interest, and public disclosure would violate that interest," he wrote. "The policy is applied in any case, irrespective of the identity or position of any individual involved."

And the Majority Watch Round Two Poll is still showing Gillibrand ahead. Not that we care what polls say, but still it is more recent than the last independent poll.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Call the Coward

Per today's Post Star:
Recommendation: There's still a week left until Election Day. Mr. Sweeney and Ms. Gillibrand still have time to accept any of the numerous invitations they've received to face each other on the same stage. ...
Gillibrand has already agreed to debate Sweeney. Call John Sweeney's office and tell him it is time to stop hiding behind excuses and start debating the issues: Sweeney's office number is 373-9595.

Sweeney's Got Friends in High Places

And he doesn't want you to know what they do for a living. John Sweeney's single largest campaign contributor is blank $241,000 in campaign contributions came from individuals without an identified employer. Let's take it from the top and start with the A's:

Sherri and Jared Abbruzzese are both donors who did not declare any employer for their $2,000 each donation to John Sweeney (R-NY) in this election cycle. The couple's total donations to Sweeney to date is $7,000.

Jared Abbruzzese as acting CEO of WSNet, testified before congress for a merger: WSNet believes that the EchoStar/DIRECTV merger should go forward with the addition of some modifications that would afford WSNet permanent access to enhanced satellite facilities.

Abbruzzese in business trouble per a Dec. 2005 story in BusinessWeek:

...When I dug a little deeper, I found a web of intrigue so tangled that Peter Parker couldn't find his way out of it. Even in this scandal-a-day era, the backstage drama at this company is off the charts.

The current brouhaha centers on a legal battle between Motient's board and its largest shareholder, Dallas (Tex.)-based hedge fund Highland Capital Management. To complicate matters, Highland president James D. Dondero is a member of Motient's board and is pitted against the other six directors, who allege that he voted to approve some of the measures he now condemns.

In August, Highland sued Motient's officers and directors in Chancery Court of Delaware, claiming the defendants tried to line their pockets with Motient's cash by paying exorbitant fees to firms in which they held interests. The suit focuses especially on Motient chairman Steven G. Singer, his brother and convicted felon Gary A. Singer, and former Motient director Jared E. Abbruzzese.

According to the complaint, Motient hired Abbruzzese's Albany (NY)-based consultancy Communication Technology Advisors (CTA) in May 2002 to provide financial advice while Abbruzzese was still a director at Motient. At the time, two other CTA employees, Peter D. Aquino and Gerald S. Kittner, were also Motient directors. Since then, CTA has functioned as Motient's de facto executive management and has received over $3 million in fees and tens of millions of dollars worth of warrants to buy Motient stock, Highland's complaint says.

The complaint further claims that Abbruzzese and CTA in 2004 pressured Motient's board to hire a small Austin (Tex.)-based investment bank, Tejas Inc., to raise money for Motient. However, Abbruzzese allegedly failed to disclose that he owned options to buy 100,000 shares of Tejas. As a result of fees and warrants paid by Motient, Tejas' annual profit increased over 2,600%, and the Tejas shares underlying Abbruzzese's options appreciated 900% in one year. In March 2005, Motient appointed Barry A. Williamson to its board, a Tejas director who owns over 51,000 Tejas shares. In May 2005, Tejas announced it would acquire CTA for $65 million. Abbruzzese was appointed vice chairman of Tejas and granted a generous employment agreement and stock-option package.

Abbruzzese's alleged conflicts run deeper. In fiscal year 2004, Motient lost $72 million on revenues of $36.9 million. What, then, accounts for its $1.3 billion market cap? The company has a 40% stake in Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV), a Reston (Va.)-based provider of mobile satellite communications that owns valuable spectrum licenses. MSV is a limited partnership, and its general partner is Motient Satellite Ventures GP, Inc., whose managers are Abbruzzese and Kittner of CTA. "Motient’s purchases of MSV units in 2004 at prices that reflected ever increasing valuations of MSV enriched Kittner, Abbruzzese and CTA through their ownership of MSV units," Highland's complaint says.

Jared E. Abbruzzese, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CAI Wireless Systems, Inc.: defendent in a Class Action Lawsuit as CAI Wireless Systems:

Plaintiffs bring this action ... on behalf of a class (the "Class") of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired CAI securities during the period from May 23, 1996, through and including October 29, 1996 (the "Class Period"), and were damaged thereby.

Feb 18, 2005: Serves on the Board of Friends of NY Racing as:

Jared Abbruzzese, Capital and Technology Advisors, LLC and a New York Thoroughbred owner

Jan 13, 2006. Randall's Island and Republican Party Dougnations:

A private developer’s plans to develop a water park on Randall’s Island jumped a hurdle yesterday after the city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee voted to let the project move forward. This boondoggle of a project would further alienate precious greenspace.

Very curious as to how some craaaazy project like this could even get a hearing in Parks department ...The folks behind this are big time republicans... Main capital investor and savior of aquatic development corporation is: Jared Abbruzzese Jared Abbruzzese contributed $25,000$ in 2000 to NY State elected officials Is a member with Greg Norman at the Medalist Golf Club where Bush and Clinton play . Jared Abbruzzese of Loudonville , the former CEO of CAI Wireless Systems Inc. which was named in lawsuits alleging various violations of the federal securities laws, apparently is a major donor to “Swift Boat Veterans For Truth,” according to FEC filings. (This is a 146 page pdf that might take a while to load. It can be found at www.publicintegrity.org)

The group, committed to smearing Sen. John Kerry, has been challenged due to misleading, false or inconsistent statements.

The Swift Boat group reported total donations of more than 1.9 million in a September FEC filing.

Also funded the halt of the 2000 election recount:

Presidential Recount Donors: Address Occupation Amount Date

11/20/2000 Abbruzzese, Jared Loudonville, NY 12211 CAI Wireless Systems $5,000

11/16/2000 Abbruzzese, Sherrie G Mr Loudonville, NY 12211 CAI Wireless Systems $5,000

11/20/2000

More repub campaign trail

Jan 14, 2006 07:34PM EST

Candidate or PAC Amount Date Abbruzzese, Sherrie G Mrs. Londonville, NY 12211 Homemaker REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE (R) $25,000 primary 06/16/05 Abbruzzese, Jared E Mr. Loudonville, NY 12211 Self-Employed/Executive REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE (R) $25,000 primary 06/16/05 Abbruzzese, Jared E Mr. Loudonville, NY 12211 Capital & Technology Advisors/Inves HOPEFUND $5,000 primary 05/09/05 Abbruzzese, Sherrie G Ms. Loudonville, NY 12211 Capital & Technology Advisors/Inves HOPEFUND $5,000 primary 05/09/05 Abbruzzese, Jared E Albany, NY 12211 Self/Executive NATIONAL THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE/HORSE PAC $1,000 primary 11/30/04 Abbruzzese, Sherrie G Albany, NY 12211 Housewife NATIONAL THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE/HORSE PAC $1,000 primary 11/30/04 Abbruzzese, Anthony Mr. Massapequa, NY 11758 Horizon Consulting Group/Accountant REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE (R) $500 primary 10/26/04 Abbruzzese, Sherrie G Mrs. Londonville, NY 12211 Homemaker REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE (R)

I think that is enough scandal and taint for one day.