February 7, 2012 archive

Feb 07 2012

AD-38: Rep. Buck McKeon Caught Covering His Bases for Himself and California Assembly Candidate Wife Patricia McKeon

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Speaker Boehner, Patricia McKeon and Rep. Buck McKeon

As I said in a previous post, this California Assembly race is starting to heat up. The latest is the partial release of a memo by Roll Call that outlines Rep. Buck McKeon’s strategy in deflecting attention away from a revelation of his dealings with Countrywide Financial. The link to the Roll Call Story is here.

When House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) became ensnared by the Countrywide mortgage scandal last month, his senior staff came together for a strategy session to decide how to throw colleagues, potential challengers and former employees under the bus.

McKeon is one of four Members referred to the House Ethics Committee to discern whether Countrywide provided preferential treatment to influential lawmakers through an exclusive loan program.

McKeon’s communications director drafted a memo — “a recap of current strategy call” — and addressed it to Chief of Staff Bob Cochran, Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Haueter and political consultant Tony Marsh.

The memo included a reference to a California state Assembly race that pits a former McKeon staffer, Scott Wilk, against McKeon’s wife, Patricia. Wilk previously worked as McKeon’s press secretary and later his district director.

According to the memo, McKeon’s strategy should include “thorough background checks into the relationships between Wilk, [Wilk’s political consultant, Jason Cable] Roe, and their recent shady political connections.”

When asked for comment, Wilk replied: “Well, you [have] got to remember this Assembly seat and his new Congressional seat are all in the same area. … Mr. McKeon has been catching some grief from the right.”

OK, so Buck McKeon is a typical POL who doesn’t care who he throws under the bus, as long as his ass is covered and his wife wins a California Assembly seat – funded by Buck’s defense contractor buddies.

Pretty typical POL stuff, right?

Well, this afternoon, Patricia McKeon’s opponent’s (Scott Wilk) wife got into the FLAP.

You see, Vanessa Wilk has sent Rep. Buck McKeon a letter, asking him to apologize about saying all of those nasty things about her husband, Scott.

Here is the letter:

McKeon Letter 02072012

What is interesting is that Congressman Buck McKeon has been working or can you say conspiring to defame his wife’s political opponents. Hope you weren’t spending government time on this endeavor, Buck?

OK, maybe this is understandable in the world of hardball politics( not too ethical, mind you), except Buck himself is up for re-election this year and now has his own scandal with Countrywide on his hands. So, divert that attention, Buck to save your own ass.

Somehow I think there will be more dirty tricks in this race, than either side will want or will care to admit.

Oh yeah, Vanessa, I doubt a POL like Buck will return you hard-earned contributions…

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Feb 07 2012

AD-38: Really Patricia? An Anti Patricia McKeon Blog Shut Down and Deleted

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This California Assembly race is starting to heat up and the first casualty is a blog entitled Really Patricia? (URL: http://www.patriciamckeonforassembly.com). A link to the Adios post above is here. But, alas Blogger is reporting that the other blog pages have been deleted – at least for now.

The blog was a sarcastic look at Rep. Buck McKeon and the machinations of him and his wife, Patricia in winning the Santa Clarita based 38th Assembly District seat.

Looks like the heat in the political kitchen got a little too hot for this blogger.

I will have more on this race, a little later in the afternoon.

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Feb 07 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 7, 2012

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Hearst Castle, San Simeone, California

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Competing California tax measures move ahead without Brown’s blessings

Gov. Jerry Brown had hoped that by now, he’d have the field all to himself in his appeal to voters for new taxes.

But Brown, whose plan would raise income taxes on those making $250,000 or more and hike the sales tax by a half cent, is feeling the heat from the left: two other groups who are seeking to place tax-hike initiatives on the November ballot made it clear Monday they are in the race for the long haul.

The campaign to raise taxes on millionaires, headed by the California Federation of Teachers, kicked off its signature-gathering campaign with rush-hour banner displays on highway overpasses throughout California. And wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger gave a full-throated defense of her separate tax-hike initiative at the California PTA’s state conference, promising she’d reach into her own deep pockets to ensure a win on behalf of schools.

“We’re going to get this on the ballot and we’re going to win, too,” Munger told reporters after addressing the PTA group, “because we’re prepared to not only get on the ballot but be sure it has a very strong campaign behind it.”

Another group with a tax-hike plan, Think Long, headed by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, recently backed off from its ballot measure plans, a relief to Brown.

While the governor has said he worries that more than one tax-hike initiative could doom them all because of potential confusion among voters, people from both campaigns said they

believe more than one tax hike can survive November.

California: AFSCME Picks Berman Over Sherman

Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.) has won the endorsement of a second major labor union in the last month for his primary battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman.

The California arm of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees announced it is backing Berman, who “has been a tireless advocate for the rights of public employees, defending workers’ rights in the courtroom as a labor lawyer and working to achieving collective bargaining rights for thousands of California public employees during his tenure in the state Legislature,” said Barbara Blake, an executive board member.

Initiative would make Legislature part time, slash its pay

A proposal by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) probably won’t make her many friends among her colleagues. She wants to reduce the Legislature to part-time status and cut its pay from $95,000 annually to $1,500 a month.

Grove is one of the organizers of an initiative that was approved Monday to begin circulating petitions toward qualifying for the ballot. The constitutional amendment would limit regular legislative sessions to 30 days each January and 60 days starting each May. In odd-numbered years, the legislative sessions would be devoted to budget issues.

In addition to slashing lawmakers’ pay, the measure would limit employment while they are in office. State financial officials say it could cut lawmakers’ salaries, travel and living expenses and staff costs by tens of millions of dollars annually.

Feds block cuts to California’s Medi-Cal program

The state’s effort to make Medi-Cal recipients dig into their wallets for co-pays was blocked by the federal government Monday.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration will appeal the decision, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance. Unless the decision is reversed, the state will need to shell out an additional $575 million in the next fiscal year, Palmer said.

The state wanted low-income residents using Medi-Cal to pay $5 for doctor visits, $3 for prescriptions and up to $200 for hospital visits.

But the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which had to approve the change because Medi-Cal is part of the federal MediCaid program, said the state’s plan would violate part of the Social Security Act.

“We recognize the needs of states to keep costs down and are supportive of the goal to promote cost-effective use of health care services,” said Brian Cook, a spokesman for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of Health & Human Services. “We are denying this amendment as it is inconsistent with statute.”

Enjoy your morning!

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Feb 07 2012

Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-07

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