Democrats & Liberals Archives

Congressional Scandal #98821: What are you smoking, Curt?

Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressman for its 7th district is running for re-election. His congressional seat is in jeopardy as his challenger; Joe Sestak has, according to CQPolitics.com (link), the lead in the latest polls.

Curt’s current trouble isn’t that he’s been accused of helping his close friend and his daughter with securing lucrative contacts, no; his trouble is that he’s chasing ghosts.

Maybe it's just the stress of a hard campaign.

To anyone that cares, in 2004, the LA Times ran a piece about Curt Weldon using his office and influence to help his daughter’s brand-spanking-new, lobbying company obtain lucrative contracts with foreign companies. Based on the article, the Justice Department began an investigation. The investigation continues to this very day and last week took a turn for the very serious when the FBI shut down residential suburban streets as they began searching the homes of Weldon’s daughter and her partner. The FBI’s hasty search last week, according to the FBI, was prompted by a series of articles that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer the following Sunday. The FBI stated that they felt there was a risk of destruction of evidence if they waited. So a-searching they went.

But what have been fairly interesting and increasingly humorous are Curt’s bizarre responses.

Shortly after the news broke about the FBI searches he said this:

(link)
"What I find ironic, if there is an investigation, is that no one would tell me until three weeks before the election"

So he’s hinting that this investigation and the timing of the searches is politically motivated. Okay… fair enough. I can certainly understand that, if you’re in deep campaign problems and something like this comes out three-weeks before the election, you certainly can start thinking that there’s a political agenda.

But…HELLO?! The last I checked, Your Republican party was in power. They owned the Congress, the Senate, White House and of course the Republican-appointed Justice Department. So blame Mr. Ashcroft who was the person that first opened and approved the investigation in 2004.

And then Mr. Weldon said this:

(link)
“(the investigation is )dirty, partisan politics at its absolute worst.”

Take a deep breath, Mr. Weldon. A few cleansing breaths would help. You’re asserting that the FBI is in cahoots with the timing of the story and investigation. That’s not only bizarre thinking; it’s down-right funny.

And then, it appears that Mr. Weldon has completely lost it.
(link)
In a recent article asserted that his challenger was behind the whole thing. That Sestak’s campaign knew about this story and the timing of the raid and investigation.

Weldon escalated the attack on Sestak yesterday, saying that a retired FBI agent, Gregory J. Auld, told him that Sestak's campaign had prior knowledge of six FBI raids Monday in Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Fla. Weldon said Auld "has confirmed to me that a person who works on my opponent's campaign was bragging that the campaign knew three weeks ago" of a major negative development in October.
Oh boy!
In an interview last night, Auld said a friend approached him Tuesday at a gym to tell about what the Sestak supporter had allegedly said three weeks ago. Auld would not identify the friend. Auld said: "My friend told me that a guy wearing a Sestak T-shirt had said, 'Something big is going to be coming down on Curt Weldon in three weeks.' " Hearing this, Auld said, he approached the unidentified Sestak supporter at the gym and said: "You guys must be happy about what happened over the weekend." He said the Sestak supporter shrugged and replied: "We sniffed this out two weeks ago."
This is hysterical! So Weldon is so desperate that he says that his security guy overheard someone wearing a Sestak shirt bragging?

“My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.”

Sound familiar Curt?

No wonder Curt voted for the war with Iraq.

Posted by john trevisani at October 19, 2006 1:53 PM
Comments
Comment #189006

John Trvisani,

Your story is all wrong.
President Clinton told Michael Moore who mentioned to Nacy Pelosi who was having dinner with Osama Bin Laden that the F.B.I. was about to, at the request of Hillary Clinton, and I quote “Lay the Smack Down on Weldon.”
Get it straight next time

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 19, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #189011

Funny: “How dare you bring charges against me for something I legitimately should be charged for before an election?”

What’s next? “How dare you bring charges against me on my Birthday?” or “How dare you knock on my door with a search warrant before I could clean it?”

Too funny.

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 19, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #189013

Have you seen This? A computer programmer hired to write a hack program to break into voting machines is now running for office against the guy who hired him.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 19, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #189022

marine - Was the “hacking” a security test or an attempt at fraud?

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 19, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #189027

Well, the 10 term Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) did say “I have not done anything wrong and my daughter hasn’t either,” Weldon said at a news conference late Monday afternoon. “I would absolutely never use my position to help anyone in an unusual way.”

Hmmmm … the last sentence may be truthful, since he did it in the usual, old fashioned way. See, you have to listen carefully to what they say. It’s seldom as simple as “read my lips”.

So, what were all those trips to Russia all about? I guess we’ll find out on CNN News tonight.

Like the Rep. William Jefferson thing, the explanation is “I have not done anything wrong”. Of course, we are supposed to believe that? And, the FBI investigation is partisan motivated?

It seems as if there really is something to the phrase: tenure corrupts
Perhaps term-limits would be a good idea?
Of course, that’s a Catch-22.
Who would ever pass a BILL ?
Incumbents ?
Likewise with other no-brainer reforms they have refuse to ever pass.
Funny how Congress can vote themselves a raise or some cu$hy perks in a heart-beat, but can NEVER vote to pass any BILLs for campaign finance reform, eliminate the marraige penalty tax, balanced budget, one-purpose-per-BILL, reform taxes, enforce illegal immigration laws, etc., etc., etc.

But WE keep re-electing them. Duh ! So who is stupider (is that a word)? : )

Posted by: d.a.n at October 19, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #189035

The scary part about all this corruption is that it is probably ONLY a tiny fraction of all the corruption in Congress.

If we could see all of it, we probably would just throw ‘em all out and start all over.

Naaahhhhh … that’s not enough motivation for voters, but the voters’ motivation is on the way. The voters’ motivation is of their own making. Wait until this illusion of a “good” or “very good” economy (as often touted by some from the Rose-colored party, in the Rose colored column, wearing Rose colored glasses), financed with massive debt, borrowing, waste, spending, corpocrisy, and money-printing finally blows up in our face. Do the math. The fiscal picture is truly scary. There will be consequences for so much debt, borrowing, and money-printing.

How long do you think it would take to pay off the $8.6 trillion national debt (if we exclude the $12.8 trillion Social Security debt, the $450+ billion of Pension Benefit Guaranty debt, the hundreds of billions of unfunded Medicare and Medicaid liabilites, totaling about $22 trillion of total federal debt)?

Of course, that would require an end to borrowing $1.6 billion per day, and we still have to keep up the $1 billion per day in interest payments to all investors (many that are foreign investors).

How long? 143 years.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 19, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #189039

d.a.n.-
Blaming tenure for the corruption of representatives is like blaming tenure for the wierdness of certain professors.

The problem lies in those who choose to give them tenure. So does the solution. However, it its a solution that’s best applied selectively. Term limits won’t change anything if the job still attracts those who seek money and power. And it will.

The issue is standards. The answer is to be constant vigilance and the demand that ethical standards be employed and practices be cleaned up, end of story. We need an approach that has the capacity to survive past the heady days of a transition like this to times when people care somewhat less about their dealings.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 19, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #189050

Well, Stephen, I used to agree with that.
Now, I’m not so certain.
Afterall, consider the PROs and CONs.
When you look at this way, there seem to be more PROs than CONs. Now, more PROs than CONs does not always mean a thing is right or wrong, but it is a compelling argument.

PROs: List of Arguments in Favor of TERM-LIMITs:

  • (1) Overwhelmingly, voters prefer term limits. (It’s their native commonsense!?)

  • (2) Term limits downgrades seniority, favors meritocracy.

  • (3) Increases competition, encourages new challengers.

  • (4) Builds a ‘citizen’ Congress, versus career politicians.

  • (5) Breaks ties to special interests.

  • (6) Improves tendency to vote on principle.

  • (7) Introduces fresh thinking, new ideas, eliminates ‘Old Bulls’.

  • (8) Reduces power of staff, bureaucracy, lobbies.

  • (9) It will create a natural reduction in wasteful federal spending.

  • (10) Encourages lower taxes, smaller government, greater voter participation in elections.

  • (11) There are more reasons in favor of term limits than reasons against.

  • (12) Gets re-election rates back to near 50%, versus the current 90%

CONs:List of Arguments Opposed to TERM-LIMITs:

  • (1) Terminates the good politicians along with the bad.

  • (2) Instead of term limits, a reform of Congress’ procedures would be easier.

  • (3) Reduces range of voter choice.

  • (4) Loss of knowledge and experience.

  • (5) Increases the power of staff, lobbies, and bureaucracy.

OTHER PROs/CONs for TERM-LIMITs (from comments above):

  • CON: We have to consider that fresh blood isn’t always good blood, especially if its the wrong type. Term Limits have done little to make folks in the White House sterling moral examples.

  • CON: Term limits effectively limit us, not congress.

  • PRO: What we are doing now ain’t workin’ ! If most incubments are irresponsible, turn-over has a better then 50% chance of improving things, because newcomers are always out-numbered by incumbents who like things just the way they have perverted them. There’s a reason “incumbent” has become a dirty word. Can anyone name 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 268 (of 535) in Congress that are responsible, and don’t look the other way? Also, as stated above, voters have a bad habit of always being complacent, apathetic, and always waiting until it is too late. Voters’ lack of interest, low voter turn-out, and lack of voter participation must be factored in also.

HHhhhmmmmmmm … so there seems like more PROs than CONs.

It’s a moot point really anyway.
It’s a Catch-22.
How can TERM-LIMITs ever be passed, when 90% (or more) of Congress is always incumbents?
How can newcomers pass TERM-LIMITs or other numerous, badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms when they are ALWAYS vastly out-numbered and bullied by incumbents?

BTW, I think tenure is part of the reason for the wierdness of some professors, clergy, etc. Tenure corrupts, just like power corrupts. Not always, but often.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 19, 2006 4:46 PM
Comment #189058

My solution remains: Eliminate national political parties.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 19, 2006 5:10 PM
Comment #189067

marine - Was the “hacking” a security test or an attempt at fraud?
Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 19, 2006 03:24 PM

Check out this link Dave1, and then you’ll know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEzY2tnwExs

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at October 19, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #189071

Dave1-20-09,

And one way to do that is to simply stop voting along party lines. Stop pulling the party-lever. Stop voting straight ticket. Stop letting YOUR party think for you. Simply do the one simple, common-sense thing we were supposed to do all along, always.

There’s no way to constitutionally ban parties.

Instead, when you go to vote, try to ignore party affiliations.
Instead, try not to re-elect any politicians that are irresponsible, regardless of party.

Blind party loyalty is how politicians manipulate voters.
It’s a brainwashing tactic.
It’s a partisan warfare tactic.
It’s an irresponsible tactic.
Learn to recognize these tactics used to manipulate people.
Politicians absolutly love to fuel the distracting, petty partisan warfare. It keeps the voters distracted and trapped in a circular pattern of behavior. It lets politicians shift the focus from THEM to the OTHER evil party. It is powerfully effective. Some voters are all too fond of wallowing in the petty partisan warfare. It’s really the lazy way. Those that allow themselves to be brainwashed and manipulated this way have taken the lazy route. It’s easier to do what you’re told, then think for yourself and do what YOU think is the right thing to do. Parties attract lots of followers because they believe there is power in numbers. However, when that power is used to cheat voters, it does more harm than good. That’s what we have today. A two party duopoly. But, parties are still merely the sum of their parts, and the problem is the two parties consist of parts that are corrupt, FOR-SALE, bought-and-paid-for, and look-the-other-way.

But, voters can essentially accomplish the goal of more responsible government, term-limits, reforms, and a number of things, if voters simply stop rewarding irresponsible, corrupt politicians and government employees. If the voters don’t do it soon, peacefully, it may happen later (not so peacefully), and we’ll all be losers.

Our founding fathers and many others have risked life and limb to give us the right to vote. If we now fail to appreciate that right, then we deserve what we get. If we keep crappin’ in our own nest, the bough it rests upon will eventually snap. We are running out of time. The fiscal situation is not looking good. It may already be too late to avoid the inevitable economic consequences. The longer it is ignored, the worse it will be later.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 19, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #189073

Dave 1-20-09

Does that really matter?

It has been proved that these machines can be hacked and would take an expert to determine it. Do I want to use a voting machine? Not on your life.

Give me a paper ballot, counted by hand.

I think our current congress is criminally stupid regarding technology, among other things.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 19, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #189075

womanmarine,
You are so right.
Despite the fact that politicians want us to believe they are right up there with rocket-scientists, they are mostly [explicative]ing morons.
But, we keep re-electing them.
Hmmmmm … who is stupider?

Posted by: d.a.n at October 19, 2006 6:28 PM
Comment #189100

Campaign finance reform would be vastly more effective at cleaning up the cesspool that is Congress than either term limits or “banning” national parties would be.
Here’s the roadmap:
1. Restrict campaign contributions, allowing donations exclusively from entities that are within the represented jurisdiction. Thus, the presidential candidate can take campaign money from anyone in the US, Senators from their state, Reps from their district, etc. Why should someone who is not directly affected by the outcome be permitted to influence the campaigns?
2. Eliminate the war chest. When the election’s over, the money goes away — either back to the contributors proportionally, or to a general election fund. No saving for next time, the game restarts.
3. Cap all “entity” contributions to a political campaign. Thus, the RNC could donate as much as any other individual to a candidate’s campaign. Fair is fair: one legal entity, one dollar-vote, as they say. This would effectively neuter the national parties.
4. Finally, after several decades of letting the swamp drain, eliminate contributions from anything other than citizens. If you don’t have a SSN, you don’t get to contribute, and EINs don’t count. Corporations should have no pull in our system — remember, the legislature REPRESENTS the citizens, and REGULATES corporations. Corporations do not deserve representation, they deserve to be scrutinized.
If implemented incrementally, external inflence would be gradually curbed by this plan. The nice part is, every step is completely rational and very hard to argue against. Sure, candidates would have less to spend, but bear in mind that an absurd proportion of their campaign dollars end up back in the coffers of media conglomerates anyway — TV and print ads are expensive, right? Tightwad candidates would be a refreshing change, no?

Posted by: Govt Skeptic at October 19, 2006 8:26 PM
Comment #189120

govt skeptic

“4. Finally, after several decades of letting the swamp drain, eliminate contributions from anything other than citizens. If you don’t have a SSN, you don’t get to contribute, and EINs don’t count. Corporations should have no pull in our system — remember, the legislature REPRESENTS the citizens, and REGULATES corporations. Corporations do not deserve representation, they deserve to be scrutinized.”

You missed one. Public employee unions should be excluded because worse then regulating them like corporations, there is a employer-employee relationship. The unions give them money to get reelected and then they vote on the union contracrs. If this is not a conflict of interest I don’t know what is.

Stephen

“Blaming tenure for the corruption of representatives is like blaming tenure for the wierdness of certain professors.”

I think that is a bad analogy. Tenure is what allows professors to do weird things. When you can’t be fired, it’s amazing what you can do.

Posted by: Keith at October 19, 2006 10:35 PM
Comment #189122

Hi John,
Oh, yet another GOP Crook? He’s denying everything? [yawn] So, what else is new?

womanmarine — I agree 100%.

Andre, Kevin — thanks for the laughs!

Posted by: Adrienne at October 19, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #189123

Govt. Skeptic — very interesting ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

“Tightwad candidates would be a refreshing change, no?”

Indeed they would, sir.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 19, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #189127

Govt skeptic, excellent post get the corruptors out along with the corrupted.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 19, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #189128

Then of course there’s this:

read this

Then watch the video

My county (a very rural, poor county) just proudly announced 4 different kinds of voting/counting machines they purchased for this next election. I can’t wait to see it in action.

I wonder if you can request a paper ballot? That’s what we had last election.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 19, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #189131


1.Lobbyiest should be allowed only in free speech zones. Free speech zones should not be allowed within 2 miles of a capital city or DC.Yes it is a violation of the bill of rights but that hasn’t stopped W and his ilk from doing this to protestors. Any law put before the house should be required to be authored by an elected official and/or someone on his/hers staff.
2. Corporations who violate the election laws should receive the S Korean treatment. The CEO and members of the board should do the time for the crime.
3. Corruptors and corrupted need to have a “traitor to the country” type charge as well as the violation of the finance laws at the Federal level. With reward comes responsibility.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 19, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #189138

All of you people who are complaining about voting machines and paper ballots can thank Al gore and the people of Florida.

After the “problems” of the 2000 election most states got a bad case of the “do something” disease. Instead of just analyzing whether they had a problem, they picked a solution without a problem.

Posted by: Keith at October 19, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #189167

Voting machines can be a good thing, if done correctly.
Unfortunately, they were (intentionally?) poorly designed.
The machines should give every voter a unique number so that their vote can be verified on the internet and/or newspaper.
The voters’ anonymity is preserved.
If large numbers of voters see discrepancies, they would know something went wrong and a recount and/or re-vote could be done.

The problem with all these reforms (Term-limits, Gerrymandering, campaign finance reform, election reform, tax reform, one-purpose-per-BILL, balanced budget, lobby reform, monetary system reform, Social Security reform, etc., etc., etc.) is: Who will pass these laws?

It’s a Catch-22.
You expect Congress persons to pass these laws?
Good luck.
The current crop in Congress has NOT, and will NOT do it, and newcomers to congress can NOT do it either, IF they are always vastly out-numbered by long-time incumbent politicians that like things just the way they have perverted them.

And, if voters make the mistake of voting out Republicrooks ONLY, the new “IN PARTY” won’t have any motivation to pass any of those reforms either.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 20, 2006 5:50 AM
Comment #189179

There’s at least one Republican slime-ball that we won’t have to worry about:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061019/ap_on_go_co/immigration_voting_threat_16

I find Nguyen’s & Weldon’s incredulous denials about as originial & refreshing as a city garbage dump. However, I do hope Weldon starts on a diet real soon… otherwise, he’s not going to look very good in an orange jump suit.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 20, 2006 7:33 AM
Comment #189212

Try these on for size:

Public funding of campaigns, supplemented by limited contributions from individual citizens only.

Eliminate media advertizing. All communications about a candidate must be in writing. The candidate may use the public funding to publish and desseminate the written materials.

Snuffleufogous

Posted by: Snuffleufogous at October 20, 2006 10:39 AM
Comment #189381

Dr. Poshek

Did you actually read the letter, that starts off in Spanish with: “If you are a citizen exercise your right and vote”

Posted by: Keith at October 20, 2006 9:23 PM
Comment #189383

Keith-

It also said that if you were an “immigrant” you could be charged with a felony. There was no distinction between legal and illegal immigrant.

Probably an unintentional oversight on the part of the perpetrators, but confusing for some nonetheless when the nature of the letter is so serious.

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 20, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #189386

Kevin23

Yes I saw that part. I think it’s just the guys atrocious spanish. The fact is this letter is not the evil hate filled thing that the press is making it out to be. Actually something to the effect that it is illegal to register and to vote if you are not a citizen should be publicized even more.

Posted by: Keith at October 20, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #189387

Keith-

The part I can’t figure out is why there are those that insist that Nguyen had something to do with it. I could see being overtly suspicious if there is an obvious motive, but I grew up near that area, and there is nothing to gain in an election by pulling an illegal stunt like that. I heard there is supposed to be substantiating evidence of his direct involvement to come…I’d love to see it.

And I do really feel the hype is too much. This sounds to me like some rogue trying to make a statement using a someone else’s database. He didn’t even get the letterhead correct to imitate that anti-immigration group he claimed the letter to be from.

This is just another random act by what appears to be a product of our public school system.

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 20, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #189668
The letter was written in Spanish and mailed to an estimated 14,000 Democratic voters in central Orange County. It warns, “You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time.”

Clearly, that is wrong.
There is no ambiguity there at all.
It clearly says immigrant.
Not “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant”.
Thus, it is designed to scare legal immigrants too.

Nguyen said he has fired an employee in his office who he believes might have used his campaign’s voter data base to send the letter without his knowledge. He said he was cooperating with authorities and planned to continue his campaign.

Now, you have to wonder what kind of database that is? Is it a list of everyone? Or a list of Hispanics only? How were Hispanics only targeted. If the list is mostly only Hispanic, that’s somewhat incriminating, even if not illegal in itself.

There is a solution.
Inform all voters that all U.S. citizens (including legal immigrants) are eligible to vote.
Perhaps, make Tan D. Nguyen pay for it, since he admits it was his database list?

The investigation isn’t over, but it would seem strange that nobody can be traced to 14,000 letters? Also, perhaps the mailing company should share culpability, since they should know what they are mailing out? It’s seems too easy for everyone, at every stage, to avoid responsibility.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 23, 2006 10:00 AM
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