Tuesday, September 15, 2015

GOP's "Pay to Play" Congressional Campaign Contract Condemned Across America


GOP's "Pay to Play" Congressional Campaign Contract Condemned Across America


WASHINGTON: As controversy continued to grow regarding a contract signed by numerous
Rep. Ryan Costello asked to quit GOP's
"pay to play" Patriot Program.
vulnerable Republican legislators with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), promising to supply detailed information about their "legislative agenda" and "political justifications" to national Republican donors in exchange for financial support, numerous state affiliates of ProgressNow, one of the nation's largest and most influential progressive advocacy organizations, called on Republican candidates to withdraw from the program and disclose all correspondence with the NRCC.[i]

Rep. Ryan Costello (R, CD 6, Berks, Lehigh, Chester, Montgomery) is the only Pennsylvania Member of Congress who has agreed to this "pay to play" scheme.

"Shame on Rep. Ryan Costello for selling Pennsylvania out to the same Washington, D.C. special interests he said he was running for office to fight," said Keystone Progress' Michael Morrill. "The voters won't forget this in the next election. If Costello really wants to put the people of Pennsylvania first, it's time to exit the 'Patriot Program ' and come clean about what he promised big donors and Republican Party bigwigs. If he doesn't, he'll be held accountable at the polls in 2016."

According to the Washington Post:

Two dozen House Republicans have agreed to privately detail their “legislative strategy” to party operatives, promising to offer “political justifications” for their goals in Congress.

The Daily 202 obtained a copy of the three-page contract that the National Republican Congressional Committee requires members to sign if they want to participate in its Patriot Program. The initiative, designed to protect potentially vulnerable incumbents, brings with it special attention and access to mounds of campaign cash. But strings are attached.

One of the 13 requirements is to submit an off-year “campaign plan” that includes: “Detailed, written legislative strategy that provides short-, intermediate-, and long-term legislative goals, including political justifications for those goals.”

“Be sure to include local issues unique to the district or region,” the contract says. “Complete a Patriot Policy Priorities worksheet to be used by NRCC staff to evaluate legislative priorities for the current Congress and to promote and advocate for those priorities where appropriate.”

The closely-held document offers a window into how much autonomy lawmakers often must forfeit to unelected Washington insiders.[ii]


ARIZONA: "Rep. Martha McSally has a history of avoiding questions on specific policies," said Julie Erfle of ProgressNow Arizona. "It's outrageous that she would consider giving this type of detailed information to wealthy, right-wing donors but not her own constituents. Voters have a right to know whether McSally is pushing her own agenda or that of the NRCC."  

COLORADO: "For years, Rep. Mike Coffman has tried to reinvent himself as a 'new kind of Republican,'" said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. "Rep. Coffman used to represent one of the most right-wing districts in Colorado, and has struggled trying to adjust his message to a competitive district. By signing the 'Patriot Program' contract, Coffman has proven that his new image was a ruse to hold onto political power. Colorado doesn't need another rubber stamp for the Washington, D.C. Republican agenda."

IOWA: "Rep. David Young tells Iowans he is looking out for them, but now we know he has sold Iowa out to Washington, D.C. special interests," said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. "The 'Patriot Program' is an affront to Iowa values. Iowans want elected leaders who work for us, not on contract with big donors."

MICHIGAN: "It's unfortunate that Michigan has two Republicans in Congress who have signed the NRCC's special interest pledge," said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. "Representatives Tim Walberg and Mike Bishop should put the needs of Michigan's people ahead of the needs of Washington funders. Walberg and Bishop have failed the people of Michigan by participating in this program. At the very least, the citizens of Michigan deserve to know what they promised Washington, D.C. special interests in exchange for financial support and even better, they should reject the 'Patriot Program' altogether."

NEVADA: "Cresent Hardy loves to talk about 'defending' Nevada from Washington, D.C.," said Annette Magnus of Battle Born Progress. "But in order to save his political skin, Hardy has sold out the people of Nevada to big-ticket political donors who won't put our needs first. The only people who should be pre-approving Cresent Hardy's 'legislative agenda' are the voters he answers to right here in Nevada."

NEW HAMPSHIRE: "Rep. Frank Guinta's contract with Washington, D.C. big donors and lobbyists proves whose side he's on," said Zandra Rice-Hawkins of Granite State Progress. "The NRCC's 'Patriot Program' asks Rep. Guinta to put the agenda of national Republican donors and fundraisers ahead of the needs of the citizens of New Hampshire. Guinta represents one of the most competitive congressional districts in America--and they deserve their own representative, not a sellout to special interests."


TEXAS: "Rep. Hurd is signing away his legislative agenda to out-of-state donors and special interests in Washington," said Progress Texas executive director Edward Espinoza. "The only thing that Rep. Will Hurd is delivering to his district is broken faith."

VIRGINIA: "It's unfortunately no surprise that Rep. Comstock would sell off her legislative priorities to the highest bidder since for years her clear allegiance has been to monied special interests, not her constituents," said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. "From opposing funding for expanding Metro to voting for an invasive, transvaginal ultrasound mandate, Rep. Comstock has repeatedly thumbed her nose at her constituents. At least now Virginians know who she really works for: right-wing Republican donors, not Virginia families."


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