Saturday, December 10, 2005

Times Union Letter Letter to the Editor.

This appears in today's Times Union

Facts counter Sweeney's claim of independence

First published: Saturday, December 10, 2005 Your Nov. 23 editorial repeats, with apparent disbelief, Rep. John Sweeney's claim to be an independent congressman. His claim is completely laughable. According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Congressional Quarterly, Mr. Sweeney voted with the Republican leadership of Rep. Tom DeLay 92 percent of the time, hardly a sign of independence. Mr. Sweeney has tied his entire career to Republican leaders with only his personal advancement to show for it. Mr. Sweeney's first chief of staff was the brother of George Bush's chief of staff. It was Mr. Sweeney who gave the order to "shut it down," leading to the mob violence during Bush's 2000 election mess in Florida. Mr. Sweeney's first spokesman became a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign and is the spokesman for the indicted Mr. DeLay. Mr. Sweeney has been a leading voice in defense of Mr. DeLay. He even still claims weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq. Again, hardly signs of independence from the failed leadership of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Mr. DeLay. Similarly, while there are no indications Mr. Sweeney is involved in these scandals, an independent congressman would do well to return the money from Mr. DeLay's political money operation, ARMPAC, and from Greenberg Traurig, one of the firms the indicted Jack Abramoff allegedly used to buy politicians. The facts simply do not support John Sweeney's claims. I guess this is just one more way in which Mr. Sweeney follows Mr. Bush's lead. ANDREW C. WHITE Stephentown The writer is chairman of the Stephentown Democratic Committee.

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