Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sweeney's PAC, Helping New Cronies

The Political Wire reported that

Freshman PAC, a political action committee formed by Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) "to provide donations for House GOP freshmen has quietly become one of the largest PACs in the country. . ."

"In addition to giving to the 24 current Republican freshmen, Ross said Freshmen PAC will aim to give to GOP challengers and open-seat candidates in the nation’s most competitive races."

Who are some of the people Sweeney's PAC supported?

  • $5,000 to Katherine Harris
  • $5,000 to Rep. John R. Kuhl Jr.
  • $5,000 to Tom Reynold's TOMPAC
  • $5,000 to Richard Pombo's RICH Political Action Committee
  • $5,000 to Roy Blunt's Rely on Your Beliefs Fund

Katherine Harris "dined with defense contractor Mitchell Wade twice (one meal at Citronelle in Georgetown cost $2,800) and accepted $32,000 in contributions. That's the Mitchell Wade who was convicted of bribing California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Like Cunningham, Harris tried to help Wade out, attempting to get an appropriation for $10 million to build a facility in her district." (source). She and Sweeney both have the honor of DOJ inquiries now. She is pictured above with Sweeney at the Freshman PAC fundraiser. Kuhl was included in a list of legislators who took illegal gifts from Philip Morris. (NY Times, source) He's one of the few members of Congress that Sweeney had join him at the Congressional Winter Challenge.

Tom Reynolds has taken "more lobbyist-funded luxury trips outside of western New York in the last three years than he has returned home to western New York." Jaunts to Pebble Beach, Calif., by Reynolds have totaled $205,185 over five years. (Washington Post)

Pombo's ethics problems are so rich, he has his own page at Clean Up

Roy Blunt is listed as one of the 13 most corrupt members of congress. And when Sweeney tells us he's been an independent voice, let's take a look at what other groups this PAC has supported, each one gives 100% of its money to Republicans only:

  • $20,000 to the NRCC
  • $15,000 RNC
  • $5,000 to the Keep Our Majority PAC
  • $5,000 to Continuing a Majority Party Action Committee
  • $5,000 American's Majority Trust
  • $5,000 Promoting Republicans You Can Elect PAC
  • $5,000 Prosperity Helps Inspire Liberty PAC
  • $5,000 Republican Party of Texas
  • $1,000 Majority in Congress PAC
  • $1,000 to Bill Pac

And let's see how they've supported him in turn:

Keep Our Majority has given $12,000 to Sweeney since 1999, most of it coming in the 05-06 cycle. Rely on Your Beliefs Fund has given Sweeney $12,000 also.

Other Sweeney givers on the given to list include the NRCC, Continuing a Majority Party Action Committee, Majority in Cogress PAC, Promoting Republicans You Can Elect PAC, Prosperity Helps Inspire Liberty PAC, Bill PAC and the RNC.

We can see why Sweeney and his spinner's are trying to distance Sweeney from Freshman PAC, however, LobbyWatch makes it clear, this is Sweeney's Leadership PAC.

The New York Post quoted Sweeney on his role with the PAC "devoted to helping first-term GOPers" reporting that:

...Sweeney has overseen a $1.9 million telemarketing campaign in 2005 and doled out $78,000 for 24 rookie lawmakers.

Sweeney said his action committee provides an "opportunity to help other people, and it gives me credibility when I go them later and say, 'I need your help.' "

Sweeney's mind set is corrupt: give money to get favors. Sweeney's "leadership" PAC helps create a new generation of cronies.

See all of the Freshman PAC's gives at its FEC page here.


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