NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Harrison's end of quarter ask

Monday is the last day of the first quarter of 2008. This means a final push by candidates to raise money for their FEC report. If you have the resources I recommend donating to your Fossella challenger of choice. Even a small dollar contribution makes a difference and goes a lot further now than it will this fall. Here is Steve Harrison's ask;

As I write this, we have just over 24 hours before the March 31 campaign filing deadline!

Instead of taking money from lobbyists, corporate developers, or PACs, I've proudly relied on small contributions from hard-working people like you. Which means that in Congress, I won't have to answer to anyone but you, the people of Staten Island, the people of Southwest Brooklyn.

Will you help me raise 100 more individual contributions before 11:59 p.m. on Monday? Your donation, in any amount, will make all the difference at this crucial stage in the race.

Contribute now to help us reach our goal for Monday, March 31!

Last time, I almost defeated Vito Fossella, even though he outspent me by significant margins. Imagine what we will do on a level playing field!

I'm counting on your support to help show support for our message. Together, we'll show how people – not the Republican attack machine – can be the deciding factor in this election.

Contribute now to help us reach our goal for Monday, March 31!

And, yes, together -- we will take out the last remaining, pro-life, pro-war, right-wing Bush Republican congressman in New York City!

We can do this. Thank you for everything,

Steve Harrison

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Brooklyn Democrats for Change Candidate Forum rescheduled

Thursday April 3
Knights of Columbus
8122 Fifth Avenue [Google Maps]
7:00 PM – Early Start

Congressional Candidates’ Forum. (Rescheduled from last meeting.) Hon. Dominic Recchia, NYC Council and Steve Harrison. Also, presentations for State Assembly and State Committee positions.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Steve Harrison house party this Sunday

House Party for Steve Harrison for Congress
Sun., Mar. 30, 2008; 4:00 to 6:30
Hosted by Dave Hernandez and Rich Greve
125 Roe Street, Staten Island, NY [Google Maps]
Suggested Donation $50

h/t The Daily Gotham


Vito Fossella still has no thoughts on Iraq

Take your pick. More of the same failed strategy on Iraq or some new ideas from people who like most of us are tired with solutions coming from DC.

Military leaders are concerned Fossella's war in Iraq is causing some strain on our troops and could create problems for us trying to militarily be involved in theaters elsewhere, via USA Today;

Behind the Pentagon's closed doors, U.S. military leaders told President Bush Wednesday they are worried about the Iraq war's mounting strain on troops and their families. But they indicated they'd go along with a brief halt in pulling out troops this summer.


The chiefs' concern is that U.S. forces are being worn thin, compromising the Pentagon's ability to handle crises elsewhere in the world.

Making matters worse The Washington Independent brings us this bad news, well good for Fossella bad for the average American;

As if to offer denial in the face of disaster -- and commit the U.S. to losing many more soldiers and Marines -- the Bush administration has begun negotiations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for years, even decades, after President George W. Bush leaves office.

On the other side of this denial that we need to stay in Iraq longer and risk the lives of more troops is the Washington Post picking up a story on A Responsible Plan, endorsed by our own Steve Harrison;

More than 40 Democratic House and Senate candidates have endorsed a document stating that "there is no military solution in Iraq" and calling for an end to the war and the removal of all U.S. troops from the country, though not according to any specific timeline.


The plan was crafted without the input or endorsement of the House and Senate Democratic leadership. Burner said "this was not driven inside the Beltway" and complained that "people inside the Beltway don't seem to get how big an issue this is for voters" in the rest of the country.

To date there is still no news about what Vito Fossella's plan for Iraq is or if he has one. The choice is yours.

see also: More on A Responsible Plan

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

LTE: Where is Fossella in our hospital crisis?

via SI Advance;

Closing another hospital on Staten Island, reported by Tevah Platt (March 15), is becoming a serious habit at the expense of the safety, health and welfare of Staten Islanders. City Councilman Mike McMahon is right: It is a "ridiculous" notion and, "Those who stand to lose most are the people who live in those sections of Staten Island that have the worst medical profile, the biggest need, and the largest inability to get access because of economic challenges and lack of health insurance."


Recently he opposed closing a Brooklyn hospital (Victory Memorial) but hypocritically he assisted in closing a Staten Island hospital (Bayley Seton) by approving a breach of covenant with the federal government to pave the way.

Once a VA hospital, sold for $1, provided it could not be sold within 30 years, Bayley Seton Hospital was not only sold for a windfall but Fossella paid them an additional $150,000 of taxpayers' money to do it. The land and buildings alone are worth several millions of dollars. He required them to replace a general hospital with emergency room, operating rooms and wards with hundreds of beds, etc., for a small clinic that is not open 24/7 (or on weekends) for a meager $700,000, less the additional $150,000 milked from the taxpayers.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tom Wrobleksi writes more biased articles

First Tom Wrobleski tells us the make believe bad news for the Democratic nominee;

...we're pretty sure that the vacant Reynolds seat will pique mightily the interest of the national Democrats, meaning that there could be less money and resources available from them later to help Recchia or Harrison defeat GOP Rep. Vito Fossella in the fall.

So according to Tom the DCCC, the only national organization in the party that helps with money and resources for Congressional races will not be giving here because they will be interested in giving upstate?


Last week, in fact, the DCCC announced a roster of Democratic congressional challengers who will receive "enhanced fundraising and strategic assistance [from the DCCC] in their 2008 campaigns against Republican incumbents."

You guessed it: Neither Recchia nor Harrison were on the list.

Also not on that list was NY-26, Rep. Reynolds now vacant seat. So let's follow Tom's logic here. Harrison or Recchia will not be getting resources from the DCCC because that money will go to the nominee in NY-26 even though that nominee is not on the DCCC's list either, which was the original reason why Tom thinks Harrison or Recchia won't get any money.

note: Jon Powers is the outstanding Democratic candidate for the open NY-26 seeat. He will be another great addition to our NY State Congressional delegation.

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Monday, March 24, 2008


via VetVoice;

AFP has noted that 97 percent of U.S. deaths in Iraq have occurred after George W. Bush declared an end to "major combat."

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Voters not identifying with Republican party in NY

via CQPolitics;

The Democratic Party has increased its margin in voters who identify with it rather than Republicans, and going into this year’s election has increased its advantage among independent voters and in swing states, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted during the first two months of this year.

Pew says voters now favor the Democrats by a “decidedly larger margin” than the previous two election cycles.


In key “blue” states, the larger Democratic margins is more a matter of Republican declines than Democratic gains. In New York (31 electoral votes), Democrats gained 3 points in identification while Republicans lost 6 since 2004 and in New Jersey (15 electoral votes), Democrats slipped by 1 point while Republicans fell by 7.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tom Wrobleski is pushing biased anti-Democrat articles

Have you seen any pieces by Tom Wrobleski that talk about how the Chris Ward scandal may harm Fossella's campaign? How about how declining Bush approval and declining Republican party affiliation by voters across the country will hurt Fossella's re-election changes? Chances are you haven't because Tom hasn't written any articles about that.

He didn't write articles about how the Mark Foley scandal could hurt Fossella in 2006 or how Tom Delay and his contributions could bring down Fossella. Recently though multiple articles he has written talk about how various wide ranging circumstances will only hurt Harrison or Recchia's chances this fall without similar comparison to Fossella's campaign. Aside from partisan bias they are almost all absurd in their reasoning.

In a previous article Tom actually addresses the possible negative impact of Obama or Hillary a top the ticket on this Congressional race. He includes quotes like this;

"Would Hillary or Obama be enough to tip the congressional race?" he said. "Probably not. A race like that usually comes down to the local candidate and local issues."

So after we have seen primary voters come out in overwhelming numbers for the Democrats, Hillary alone had more votes than all of the Republicans combined, we should expect them to not have the same impact this fall? If you want more indicators try The Hill which has a whole piece on the coattails of Obama on down ticket Congressional races. Of the 21 paragraphs looking at the benefits and drawbacks of Barack or Hillary, only one paragraph touts how McCain will help Fossella. So then Tom tells us in his own words how Spitzer could damage Democrats this fall;

But now you've got Hillary and Barack Obama ready to tear the Democratic Party apart for the presidential nomination, and you've got the shining light and de facto head of the state party preparing to slink out of office in disgrace. How do Democrats like state Sen. Diane Savino convince voters that the entire state government apparatus should be handed over to them?


And the new Spitzer mess could even hurt the Democrats this November.

Naturally there needs to be a tie into the Spitzer story for what ever reason. So in the first article we are told it is about local issues and not other candidates on the ballot and now we are told that its other elected officials that will effect this race and not local issues. Then we are told Obama or Clinton will do nothing for the race even though they are on the ballot, but Spitzer who is not will only drag down Democratic candidates. Tom questions why voters would give Democrats their vote following Spitzer's fall from grace but that really pales in comparison to the numerous Bush administration scandals and yet there is no question about voters supporting Fossella or other Republicans. Not quite sure I am buying that desperation on Tom's part. Now if you want to take this all a step further Tom tells us that Rep. Reynolds, a Republican congressman from upstate New York retiring is bad news for Harrison and Recchia;

More potential bad news for Democratic congressional hopefuls Domenic Recchia and Steve Harrison: Upstate GOP Rep. Tom Reynolds, who squeaked to re-election with just 51 percent of the vote in 2006, is retiring.

His premise, which may be difficult to understand is that with Reynolds retiring and this becoming an open seat that nationally Democrats may put money into this race and thus thinning out what is then available for them to contribute to Harrison or Recchia. This is simply stupefying. Despite this being the second New York Republican retiring rather than face a difficult election, this is somehow bad news for Democrats. Even though this is a much more heavily Republican favored district, R+3 PVI compared to the D+1 PVI here in the 13th, this is again somehow bad news for us. Despite the DCCC having $38 million cash on hand compared to the NRCC having $5 million with $2 million in debt, this is bad news for Democrats.

Did Tom choose to write any articles on how Bush is bringing down Fossella? No.
Did Tom choose to write any articles on how not having Giuliani as the Republican nominee is bad news for Fossella? No.
Did Tom write an article on the $33 million cash advantage the Democrats hold and how that could be bad news for Fossella. No.

While Fossella's margins of victory have been going down cycle after cyle, and while he is having one of his poorest fundraising cycles and while every week it seems there is a new scandal he is connected to, Tom manages to put all of that aside and imagine up a troublesome scenario for Harrison and Recchia. Tom Wrobleski is toeing a dangerous partisan line in his reporting and this should not be tolerated.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Domenic Recchia issues statement on 5 years of war in Iraq

Recchia for Congress press release;


Recchia: “The time to end this war has come. We need to make the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war the last anniversary of the Iraq war.”

Councilman Domenic Recchia, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 13th Congressional District, released the following statement regarding the five year anniversary of war with Iraq:

“Five years ago today, President Bush misled the American public and invaded Iraq without an exit strategy. Vito Fossella’s rubberstamp of President Bush’s failed Iraq war policies has cost our country over a trillion dollars and worse, thousands of lives. It is clear that we need a new direction in Iraq and we need leaders who are going to stand up and fight to end this war. Congressman Fossella has voted to give President Bush a blank check for this misguided war time and time again. I will support a responsible redeployment our troops, force the Iraqi government to take responsibility for the security of their own country, and rebuild our military.

Five years later our country is no safer. Nearly 4,000 American soldiers have been killed and tens of thousands wounded. We have not captured Osama bin Laden 2,381 days after the horrific attacks on our city, and we have spent more than a trillion dollars while our domestic priorities have been put aside.

It is time for the Iraqi government and Iraqi soldiers to stand up and fight for their own country – for too long, American soldiers have been tasked with the impossible mission of refereeing a civil war in Iraq. In these times of economic uncertainty, Americans are feeling the crunch from Main Street to Wall Street. Our resources must be focused on investing here at home—in our schools, in our health care system, in our transit system, in new technology and alternative sources of energy, in creating and keeping jobs here at home.

The time to end this war has come. We need to make the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war the last anniversary of the Iraq war.”


Taxpayers here in NY-13 have already spent $1.8 billion for the Iraq War to date. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

* 329,254 People with Health Care OR
* 3,342,657 Homes with Renewable Electricity OR
* 34,459 Public Safety Officers OR
* 27,191 Music and Arts Teachers OR
* 291,353 Scholarships for University Students OR
* 94 New Elementary Schools OR
* 10,149 Affordable Housing Units OR
* 623,904 Children with Health Care OR
* 203,419 Head Start Places for Children OR
* 20,679 Elementary School Teachers OR
* 26,833 Port Container Inspectors

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And Then There were Four

Rep. Reynolds (NY-26) has announced he will retire at the end of this term. He has been plagued by scandal, overseeing Fossella's former treasurer Chris Ward at the NRCC while he was apparently robbing them blind. Reynolds joins the list of Republicans who are seeing New York trend Democrat and finding it harder to win re-election. Of the 29 Congressional seats in New York, only 6 are currently held by Republicans;

* Peter King NY-03
* Vito Fossella NY-13
* John McHugh NY-23
* James Walsh NY-25 retiring
* Tom Reynolds NY-26 retiring
* Randy Kuhl NY-29

see also: And Then there were Five

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Steve Harrison on Facebook

Become a fan.

Fossella on Facebook, promoting his 2006 website.

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More on "A Responsible Plan"

The out of Iraq plan has been garnering much attention over the past fews days and introducing this Congressional district to the rest of the country. Here is the local round up;

* The Daily Gotham provides video of Steve Harrison on why he has was one of the original 10 to sign onto this plan;

* The Brooklyn Eagle calls Harrison a "strong anti-Iraq war candidate" and continues;

He [Steve Harrison] was among nine Democratic challengers opposing Republican candidates in Washington, D.C. on Monday where Democrats unveiled a “Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.” Retired generals and national security experts consulted to develop the plan. It calls upon Congress to end the nation’s military involvement in Iraq, restore accountability to the government, and to work towards energy independence.

* Joshing Politics;

Steve Harrison Supports The Responsible Plan. The incumbent in New York's 13th Congressional District does not.

Nine more Congressional Candidates and three Senate Candidates have signed onto the plan. There are now 19 Congressional and 3 Senate candidates endorsing this Iraq exit plan. That is some good company.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Protests today to mark 5th anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq

Today, Wednesday March 19th, both in Brooklyn;

Protest at Congressmember Vito Fossella’s office. Peace Action Bay Ridge will sponsor a protest at Fossella’s Bay Ridge office (8505 4th Ave., at 85th St.) to express his constituents’ opposition to his position as the only Brooklyn Representative to support President Bush’s war policy. Representatives from military families, Brooklyn For Peace, Peace Action Bay Ridge, and Bay Ridge Interfaith Coalition will speak.

Press Conference & Brooklyn Says No to War March and Vigil, co-sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace and MoveOn.
5:30 PM: press conference at Grand Army Plaza, with speakers from Brooklyn for Peace and MoveOn.
6:00: march down Flatbush Avenue to the military recruiting station at 41 Flatbush Ave. (Livingston St.).
7:00: brief program. Iraq war vets and members of military families will speak. The protest will close with a candlelight vigil.

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A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq

Here is the plan that Steve Harrison has signed onto along with 9 other Democratic challengers across the country. The plan was announced Monday in DC and since then it has garnered the interest of many more challengers across the country lining up to sign on and bring new leadership to DC. From Steve's site;

"The United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. Since then, nearly 4,000 American troops have lost their lives and nearly thirty thousand more have suffered serious injuries , while as many as a million Iraqis may be dead. The financial costs of the war to the U.S. economy will ultimately exceed $3 trillion.

More than a year ago, the American public demanded a new direction in Iraq by electing a new Congress, and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (the Baker-Hamilton Commission) presented a set of recommendations for just such a new direction. President Bush rejected the majority of those recommendations and proceeded--largely unchecked by Congress--on a course explicitly contrary to them.

Since that time, the current administration and its congressional allies have continued to use shifting rationales for extending our military involvement in Iraq with no end in sight. The American public has been presented with a set of false choices: a semi-permanent military occupation of Iraq versus a precipitous and destabilizing withdrawal. There is a deepening public desire for a new path forward and a cohesive military, diplomatic, and economic strategy that will end the war in Iraq while protecting American interests."


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Monday, March 17, 2008

March 25 Fundraising for Harrison

Hosted by Anthony LoPresti, Mike Sword & Allen Roskoff
Co-Sponsored by Progressive Democrats for America

Tuesday, March 25th
8:00 to 10:00pm
Soho, NYC
151 Mercer St.
New York, NY
[Google Map]


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Vito Fossella's recent legislative votes

Overriding the Veto of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008 House Roll Call No. 117
Vote Failed (225-188, 17 Not Voting)

The House fell far short of the 276 votes needed to override President Bush’s veto of this intelligence bill that would ban interrogation methods like waterboarding and mock executions.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

Establishing within the House of Representatives an Office of Congressional Ethics HR 895
Vote Passed (229-182, 4 Present, 15 Not Voting)

The House narrowly approved a new ethics rule to create an independent office that would consider ethics complaints against House members.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted YES

note: see my write up about Fossella's attempts to kill this bill and his opposition to it prior to being forced into voting for this.
Vito Fossella opposes House Ethics Panel

Budget Resolution, FY2009 House Roll Call No. 145
Vote Passed (212-207, 12 Not Voting)

The House passed this $3 trillion budget resolution setting spending priorities for the 2009 fiscal year.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

FISA Amendments Act of 2008 House Roll Call No. 145
Vote Passed (213-197, 1 Present, 20 Not Voting)

The House passed this intelligence bill that would revise U.S. surveillance laws.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

note: This bill removed retroactive immunity for telephone companies caught wiretapping domestic phone lines without court ordered warrants at the request of the Federal government.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Steve Harrison joins Democratic Challenger Caucus on Iraq

I have said both Recchia and Harrison have promised to make Iraq a campaign issue and Steve Harrison has really stepped up by joining the efforts of 10 Democratic challengers signed on to this;

That is quite some company to be part of and I look forward to hearing more and posting the plan as it is unveiled at the Take Back America conference tomorrow. If you want out of Iraq you are going to need some new leadership to do it and Steve Harrison is showing he is capable of that.

update: I changed the title of this post as there is an Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress that this group is not currently part of since they are candidates.

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More indictments and more Fossella connections: Greenberg Traurig

Yet another indictment for those close to Fossella and his campaign. via ABC News;

The attorney general for Guam issued an indictment Monday against the Greenberg Traurig firm, Abramoff and a former Guam government official on nine felony counts of theft, conspiracy and misconduct.

Greenberg Traurig you may remember as the law firm that employed Jack Abramoff. Jack Ambramoff and Greenberg Traurig hosted a fundraising event for Vito Fossella back in 2002 at a Baltimore Orioles game. Despite invitations sent out by the National Republican Congressional Committee stating "Join Vito Fossella ... with Tony Rudy and Jack Abramoff for a baseball game", Fossella denies Abramoff was there and claims it was just hosted by Greenberg Traurig with guest Tony Rudy. While that is contradicted by the NRCC let's take Vito's word for it for now and just say the event was hosted by the now indicted Greenberg Traurig firm. Tony Rudy, whom Fossella does not deny was there has since plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing while working with federal investigators. That makes it much better.

see also: VetoFossella.com for Fossella's money trail leading back to these gentlemen.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Oil tops $110 a barrel, Fossella doesn't care

Oil yesterday set a record when it topped $110 a barrel in trading. Fortunately it has retreated since down to the low low cost of $109.

I already covered the tantrum Fossella threw berating President Clinton over oil approaching $30 a barrel back in 2000. He has yet to make any similar comments to President Bush despite oil going up 350% since then. Can you find anyone who looking back think Fossella's crying over $1.50/gallon gas was justified?

This might also be a good point to revisit Vito Fossella's vote against HR 5351 the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008. This was just two weeks ago. Before we jump into that I want to point out some analysis from Goldman Sachs today on the future of oil costs via CNNMoney.com;

'Solving the politically driven supply constraints will be a very difficult and protracted process which will likely lead to explosive prices in the next couple of years, with oil prices potentially spiking toward 175 usd a barrel, particularly should growth in the G7 re-accelerate in 2009 and beyond.'
Goldman Sachs was one of the first investment banks to predict oil prices at 100 usd a barrel. They recently increased their 2008 average price forecast to 105 usd a barrel.

$175 a barrel! That House bill HR 5351 above that Fossella just voted against funds extension of renewable energy and energy conservation tax credits for individuals. Just how out of touch with average Americans is Fossella? Fortunately for the rest of us Congress passed this bill.

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Fossella continues to ignore Iraq

While Steve Harrison and Domenic Recchia have promised to make Iraq a key campaign issue, Vito Fossella is again going to try to ignore it and talk about taxes. While the public is overwhelming opposed to the war many are finding news and discussion hard to come by. via the Washington Post;

Twenty-eight percent of the public is aware that nearly 4,000 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq over the past five years, while nearly half thinks the death tally is 3,000 or fewer and 23 percent think it is higher, according to an opinion survey released yesterday.

The survey, by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, found that public awareness of developments in the Iraq war has dropped precipitously since last summer, as the news media have paid less attention to the conflict. In earlier surveys, about half of those asked about the death tally responded correctly.

Related Pew surveys have found that the number of news stories devoted to the war has sharply declined this year, along with professed public interest. "Coverage of the war has been virtually absent," said Pew survey research director Scott Keeter, totaling about 1 percent of the news hole between Feb. 17 and 23.

Even Fossella's perception about Iraq is off, he doesn't even think it is important to talk about. Want to know Fossella's stance on any Iraq issues? Well you will have a hard time finding answers because not only is Iraq not an "issue" on his issues page on his campaign site but he doesn't even mention Iraq once anywhere;

Here is Steve Harrison's Iraq issue page.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Vito Fossella's ex-treasurer Chris Ward stole $740,000 from NRCC

This story keeps getting better. Today we learn Chris Ward stole $740,000 from the NRCC. via Roll Call;

An ongoing investigation into accounting irregularities at the NRCC has determined that ex-committee Treasurer Christopher J. Ward allegedly funnelled "several hundred thousand dollars" from the NRCC into his own bank accounts since at least 2004. The probe has also found that Ward submitted to the NRCC’s bank and to House GOP leadership "bogus" audit reports for years 2002-2005, with an additional "bogus" audit report provided to the NRCC’s bank for 2006.

An NRCC document detailing this information and prepared for the NRCC executive committee for presentation this afternoon represents the first time Ward has been publicly named by the NRCC as the culprit in the accounting scandal.

Even better possibly than this being Fossella's treasurer is that the NRCC now has $740,000 less to support floundering incumbents like Fossella.

The NRCC's statement. Oh and they lost nearly $1 million in 2006 too. Who wants to take a closer look at Fossella's books?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Brooklyn's American Heritage Democratic Club endorses Harrison

Harrison's campaign press release;

Bay Ridge's American Heritage endorses Steve Harrison with 100 percent of the vote
13th Congressional District Democratic Candidate now has club endorsements on both sides of the Verrazano

(Brooklyn/Staten Island) Democratic Congressional candidate Steve Harrison’s (13th District NY Staten Island/Southwest Brooklyn) latest endorsement shows he has strong support on both the Staten Island and Brooklyn sides of the Congressional District.

Bay Ridge's American Heritage Democratic club nearly unanimously endorsed him over potential primary opponent Coney Island Councilman Domenic Recchia on March 10. One hundred percent of those voting to endorse a candidate voted for Steve, with a handful of "no endorsement" votes.

Harrison adds the American Heritage nod to his collection of club endorsements which include the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) which unanimously endorsed him locally and nationally as well as near 90 percent support from the Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA) and the Democratic Organization of Richmond County (DOR).

Other Harrison endorsements include: Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem, former judge and assembly member Frank Barbaro and 60th AD district leader Ralph Perfetto, who founded the American Heritage club in November 1996 with his wife Phyllis.

The Primary winner will face Vito Fossella, New York City's only Republican House member. Harrison received a higher percentage of the vote than any Democrat ever under the congressional district's current configuration in 2006 against Fossella.

For more information visit steveharrisonforcongress.com

This is Steve Harrison's third club endorsement;
* American Heritage Democratic Club
* Democratic Organization of Richmond County
* Staten Island Democratic Assocaiton

note: As always if you know of any other endorsements for Domenic Recchia or Steve Harrison please pass them along to me and I will post, ny13blog(at)gmail.com

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Vito Fossella opposes House Ethics Panel

The House passed a bill creating an independent ethics panel after years of inaction by their own ethics committee. Democrats had promised this change as part of their 2006 campaign and after capturing the majority. The final vote was 229 to 182 with Rep. Fossella actually voting in favor of the reform bill. A little insight into his reasoning via Down With Tyranny;

Many vulnerable Republicans in tight re-election campaigns-- from Randy Kuhl (R-NY), Sam Graves (R-MO), Chris Shays (R-CT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and the Diaz-Balart Brothers (R-FL) to Vito Fossella (R-NY), Phil English (R-PA). Tom Reynolds (R-NY) and Robin Hayes (R-NC)-- were too scared to vote no, well aware it would wind up as an election issue back home.

Don't be confused by his actions though, Fossella has very little concern for ethics reform. Immediately preceeding the vote on this bill Fossella voted in favor of a procedural vote that in effect would kill the bill by recommitting it. That vote passed by just one vote 207-206. So Fossella tried to kill off the Ethics Panel seconds before turning around and voting for the bill out of self preservation. Fossella doesn't support ethics reform he supports keeping his job.

We have seen this many times before. Fossella voted against SCHIP, the children's health insurance bill before turning around and voting in favor of a stripped down bill that saved money. Fossella voted against or refused to support bills to increase the minimum wage six times while he was in the majority only to vote in favor of it after the House flipped and his vote and the bill was clearly passing with a wide margin.

So don't think Fossella cares about ethics at all. It wasn't that long ago that Rep. Fossella voted for H.R. 5, roll call #6, 01/04/2005 allowing Tom DeLay (R-TX) to remain in the position of Majority Leader even if he were to be indicted. DeLay later was indicted and forced to resign from Congress. Fossella had quite the mutual relationship with DeLay taking over $10,000 from his PAC and still refuses to return any of it as if there is nothing unethical about it.

Oh and he is on the DCCC's hit list of the six most ethically corrupt Republicans in Congress.

see also: VetoFossella.com on Vito Fossella's corruption

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Random Notes

It is too late to start writing something new;

* A commenter says Domenic Recchia did not show up to the Brooklyn Democrats for Change forum on Monday. Can anyone confirm this? update: as one of the commenters in this post notes Domenic Recchia was unable to attend due to a family related matter. Harrison choose not to speak out of respect for Recchia not being able to attend.

* Dan Rivoli has a new piece out in City Hall news on Recchia. I will try to dive into this tomorrow.

* Steve Harrison calls for Spitzer to step down;

"I am very, very disappointed by the betrayal of Eliot Spitzer," said Steve Harrison, a Democratic candidate from Bay Ridge seeking to unseat Congressman Vito Fossella. "He has admitted to what he did. This was a man who was a champion of honesty. I call upon Eliot Spitzer to step down right now."

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Why does media coverage of this race have to suck?

I have been mulling over this post for quite some time now. I had to step away from it for a while because I quickly becoming non-objective in my approach which is something you will see I am having issues with. Before I jump into the depths here I think a good question to ponder is how would the media coverage of this Congressional race and others in the city differ if all the seats were swing districts and competitive year after year?

There have been a few articles recently (a month ago at this point) talking about fundraising levels and the implications of those numbers on DCCC involvement in this race. I am going to focus on two articles by Tom Wrobleski of the Staten Island Advance. In the most recent article on this topic Tom interviews Jay O'Donovan, 1988 candidate for this seat.

Jay O'Donovan;

"If you raise $500,000, they might think about giving you money."

anonymous DC political source;

She said that there's no "golden" fund-raising threshold that the national Democrats look for before getting involved, but said they instead consider a candidate's overall fund-raising and ground strength, among other factors.

Jay O'Donovan;

"To get them interested, you have to be very well-connected, with money in the bank. That's all the DCCC wants to see. They not concerned with issues. They're concerned with polling and fund-raising."

I pull these quotes all from the same article to illustrate a couple of points. First look at how inconsistent those comments are. So the DCCC wants candidates to raise $500,000 or there is no threshold. The DCCC only cares about fund-raising or ground strength and other factors. These two sources seem to contradict each other yet there is no mention of this. Never is the question posed why the discrepancy is comments. So one of my first questions then is what is the direction of this piece and intent. Does Tom want to show this is a money race by interviewing a candidate who ran for this seat 20 years ago? Or is Tom showing that money is important but that the DCCC has changed its views and now judges a race on several factors? I don't know those comments were just left out there to stand on their own for what ever reasons.

A second point of contention I have with this and similar articles is this anonymous DC political source. We have no indication that this source is credible or that they have any knowledge on this matter other than Mr. Wrobleski including them in this article. Is this source a staffer for Rep. Fossella? Are they a consultant or entity on the payroll for Fossella, Harrison or Recchia's campaign? A yes to any of these would put doubt on their comments but we have no way of knowing the answer. This isn't the first time anonymous sources have made their way into his articles, see my previous post Candidate speculation: Cusick. It is understandable that sources can not always be named for various reasons but there rarely is a reason why their knowledge can not be justified by explaining where or whom they work for. Unless you see this you should instantly be asking questions about the validity of these individuals as experts and never take them too seriously.

If we go back a few days prior to the above piece to Tom's piece Funding the House he tries to take a shot at Harrison and Recchia's fund raising by pointing out they are not one of the top ten challengers in terms of fund raising totals;

Sort of puts the $326,000 or so combined raised by Democratic congressional hopefuls Domenic Recchia and Steve Harrison in perspective, huh? When national Democrats and Republicans talk about raising "big money early" for a congressional race, these are the kinds of numbers that will get their attention.

The kinds of money raised that gets attention in his comment is referring to ten challengers that had at a minimum of $800,000 in contributions (going up to 1.24 million). This again is a problematic statement and potentially now a third threshold of fundraising but we seemed to debunk this above. Certainly having nearly a million dollars for a campaign will do wonders, but it did not do much for a candidate like Jack Davis in NY-26 in terms of getting DCCC support in 2006. Further Tom never attempts to mention that all ten of these challengers have thus far out raised Vito Fossella. Sort of puts Fossella's fundraising in perspective huh? Mentioning that would potentially ruin the point of his article so it is understandable why it was overlooked.

The CQPolitics article continues beyond the total contributions comparison to look at cash on hand which is probably a better metric. One can raise a lot of money, but if they spend it before the election gets underway then those figures are almost meaningless. Take a look at Rep. Doolittle (CA) and Rep. Young (AK) who have drastically cut into their cash on hand in costly legal expenses. Again Vito Fossella would not match up to the challengers on this top ten list in terms of cash on hand. Vito Fossella's $250,000 cash on hand is a little more than half of that of the number ten candidate on that list, Dean Andal with $471,000. This is actually an area where Fossella and his challengers are much closer with Domenic Recchia at $206,000 cash on hand. Again there is no mention of this in the article.

If we are talking about what entices the DCCC to take a look at getting involved in a race why overlook cash on hand? The financial cost to the DCCC would just be $50,000 to $150,000 to put the Democratic challengers ahead of Fossella in terms of cash on hand that they could use to compete. If Fossella was better at fund raising the cost for the DCCC to even out spend would be three or four times higher.

All in all this is starting to become very concerning to me. There is a perceived bias against the Democratic challengers with this theme of fundraising continuing to be pushed with selective comments and metrics. Throughout there is no attempt to compare Vito Fossella to the same standards of fundraising prowess that Steve Harrison and Domenic Recchia are being held to. Maybe my expectations are too high, but this is a Congressional race so can expectations ever be too high?

This should not be read as sole criticism of Tom, it just so happens he actually covers the race on occasion and had two questionable pieces in a short time frame that raised a few red flags. Keep reading on but I recommend you question what you are being told because our media appears to have limited standards expected in their coverage and all too often report that way.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Harrison and Recchia at Candidate Forum, Monday

Brooklyn Democrats for Change candidate forum on Monday March 10.
Knights of Columbus-Thomas Dogan Council
8122 5th ave [Google Map]
Meeting starts at 7:30 PM.
Candidates speak at 8:30 PM.

update: Kevin the President of Brooklyn Democrats for Change informed me that they have a new website. Thanks!

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Oil hits $105 a barrel, Fossella not concerned

Oil has hit $105 a barrel and yet Vito Fossella seems unphased. via
the NY Times;

It is the second time this year that OPEC had ignored public calls from the United States to increase supplies. In January, Mr. Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia and urged producers to open their taps. But the plea failed to sway OPEC. When the group met in February, it kept its production level unchanged.

Fortunately we have Vito Fossella fighting the good fight for us and demanding answers;

"Unless production increases significantly, there could be a problem this summer," Fossella said. "If you thought we had difficulties with home heating oil and gas prices this winter, just wait. A surge in electricity rates and power outages may be just around the corner because the Administration lacks a clear and comprehensive energy policy. Today we are sending a wake-up call to the Energy Department and others that Americans could be hit with escalating electricity rates this summer. Its failure to act following OPEC's production cutbacks last year and its subsequent decision to ignore our warnings of price surges for home heating oil and gas have mired us in this current predicament."

Sadly you know the punch line. These comments are from Vito Fossella, March 23, 2000 criticizing President Clinton for his lack of response to oil then hitting $30 a barrel. Eight years later, oil has gone up 350%. Vito Fossella, well he has no comment. Which considering Vito Fossella's Fidel Castro embarrassment maybe it is better he keeps his mouth shut.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Vito Fossella shows ignorance on foreign policy

It is embarrassing to know that Vito Fossella is not required to have any knowledge of life outside of Washington DC let alone any grasp on international news. Worse he openly demonstrates his sheer ignorance, via The New York Sun;

A planned trip to Cuba by a group of CUNY graduate students is drawing criticism from politicians and one of the school's board members.


"This is going to be used as a propaganda tool for Fidel Castro," Rep. Vito Fossella said yesterday in an interview. "If anything is going to be accomplished of significance, the visitors should ask Fidel Castro when he is going to liberalize the economy, release political prisoners and dissidents, and hold fair elections."

Fidel Castro has not been in power in Cuba since July 31, 2006 when he temporarily handed power to his brother Raul Castro due to his on going battle with unidentified illness. Fidel never re-assumed his role as President and on February 24, 2008 Raul was elected President. It makes you wonder if Vito Fossella is even knowledgeable on other world affairs that come up in legislative votes in Congress, say Iraq.

h/t to Rosealie

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More Chris Ward, more possible bad news for Fossella

So remember Vito Fossella had to fire his treasurer Chris Ward after we found out he was under investigation by the FBI. Now it might be getting worse for Fossella.

via TPM Muckracker;

The FBI is currently investigating, and it's not clear yet why Ward was so keen to hide the real numbers. But as the Times reports this morning, the signs are not good. NRCC internal audits since Ward's discovery show that "hundreds of thousands of dollars are missing and presumed stolen." And it gets worse: there are apparently indications that "the financial irregularities might extend beyond the national committee to the campaign funds of individual Republican lawmakers who also worked with Mr. Ward, a longtime party operative."

Bold text my own. Up to this point Chris Ward has just been another unfortunate corrupt individual tied to Fossella, but there was no indication that this issue was bigger than just his misdeeds at the NRCC.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

You should go to the PDA movie screening

If you can't send $100 to PDA for the premiere pass that gets you into
the theater for the screening as well as into the post-show reception,
you have another option--signing up as a PDA change
makes change partner
for as low as $10-per-month, and you'll
receive a free ticket that covers both events that night if you enter
WME in the special funds drive box.

The film's big-screen debut in Manhattan will benefit PDA's 2008
organizing efforts in New York congressional districts
, and also
launch a documentary that Howard Zinn calls "superb" and The Nation
magazine describes as "chilling and persuasive." PDA supporters will
gather at 7:00 that night--Friday, March 14--at the Quad Cinema, 34 W.
13th Street.

see: PDA event to raise funds for NY Congressional races

Join PDA's email list


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rep. Renzi down, Fossella soon to follow?

Remember that 6 member list of ethically challenged Republicans Fossella was on? Well Rep. Renzi (R-AZ), one of his fellow list-mates, has been indicted on 35 counts of extortion, conspiracy, money laundering and related charges. via the DCCC;

We will aggressively work in districts targeting ethically challenged incumbents like Tim Murphy (PA-18), Gary Miller (CA-42), Rick Renzi (AZ-01), John Doolittle (CA-04), Jerry Lewis (CA-41) and Vito Fossella (NY-13).

Rep. Renzi had previously resigned from his Congressional committee assignments after the FBI raided a family business. Rep. Renzi has announced he is not seeking re-election but will also not resign before the end of this term despite his indictment. Rep. Doolittle is in a similar situation. He was forced to resign all his committee seats after his house was raided by the FBI. Doolittle will also not seek re-election.

So guesses as to what the dirt on Fossella is?

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Gotham Gazette quotes me

Gotham Gazette quotes my post on the Aubertine senate victory and the implications here;

NY13 Blog, which wants to end Fosella’s congressional career, said the result “can’t be promising” for the one Republican member of the city’s congressional delegation. “Once again a strong ground operation has helped flip a formerly strong Republican seat,” the blog explained. “New Yorkers are leaving the Republican candidates they once supported in favor of change promised by Democrats.

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Vito Fossella's recent legislative votes

Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008, HR 5351
Vote Passed (236-182, 11 Not Voting)

The House voted to repeal certain tax deductions for oil and gas companies in order to pay for the extension of renewable energy and energy conservation tax credits for individuals.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

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More on the PDA endorsement

PDA's recent endorsement of Steve Harrison is quite significant given their recent success in MD-04 primary. PDA joined with DFA and several unions including SEIU to help Donna Edwards defeat an incumbent nine term Democrat in the primary. In a national email to their membership Donna thanks PDA for their role in the election;

I want to thank the hardworking PDA activists across the country who helped with the predictive phone bank and contributed to my campaign, as well as, those people throughout the district who worked as human billboards, distributed campaign literature, made phone calls, and performed other forms of voter outreach.

PDA could bring invaluable volunteers into this race and if I had the option of having the volunteer advantage or the fund raising advantage I would gladly take the volunteers. You can buy ads and literature all you want, but if you don't have a ground game distributing those, talking to voters and getting them to the polls they are useless. If Democracy for America (DFA) follows suit and gets involved in this race on Harrison's behalf, which would not surprise me given DFNYC's involvement, I would think Harrison would quickly have the advantage in this race. I would also give him a sizable and experienced volunteer advantage. DFNYC enthusiastically campaigned for Barbaro in 2004 so they do have some history with this district and wanting to take out Fossella.

One question I will have to follow up on is whether some of the elected officials who are backing Recchia can turn out their volunteers and GOTV on his behalf.

I am trying to find details on how much money PDA brought into the MD-04 race, but the FEC page is acting up.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Activists vs. Institutional candidates, partIII

I have written previously about how this race is shaping up to be one of the activist candidate versus the institutional candidate.

Domenic Recchia through limited media coverage has become the institutional candidate through his backing by Rep. Jerry Nadler, Councilman Mike McMahon and State Senator Diane Savino. On the contrary a potentially interesting juxtaposition is Harrison's support which seemingly for now is the activists and what is shaping up to be the political club membership.

You could update that quote now to say Harrison has the support of not just the political club membership but the club endorsements as well. In Tom's latest piece about what may become the endorsement race Harrison comments the he is bracketing the Democratic Party from the activist left, with PDA and SIDA to the party centrists with the Democratic Organization of Richmond County. Here is Recchia's response;

"He had everybody's support last time and he got 43 percent of the vote," Recchia said, referring to Harrison's failed bid against Fossella in 2006. "This time, he's not going to have everybody's support. In the end, the Democratic Party is going to be standing united behind Domenic Recchia."

Let me be clear that I want to see Fossella out of Congress, whether he is forced to resign, retires or his constituents fire him. That is my objective. In doing so I try very hard to keep from engaging in party politics of the Democratic primary and refuse to spread any nonesense. I don't believe attacking each other in order to win the nomination is a strategy that can defeat Fossella this November.

With Recchia's statement he has now clearly defined the lines of this primary. He is the institutional candidate. His comments show he believes he is entitled to be our nominee. There is absolutely nothing to gain by putting down Harrison or his achievements of 2006. We fail when we are blinded into believing our opponent is the Democrats on the other side of the primary instead of Fossella.

I wonder if Recchia had won any of these past endorsements if the story would be any different. Had he won the club endorsements would we not have heard that the party is backing Recchia and Harrison needs to drop out? But in not winning them he downplays and tries to marginalize their influence. We can see this story playing out nationally in the presidential primaries. One candidate is winning over what otherwise would be considered "red" parts of the country on their message and the challenger is downplaying their importance, since they are states the Democrat most likely will not carry in November. That story is not gaining much support across the party and in particular is alienating portions of the party who are energetic about November. This simply is not acceptable here or there.

Right now it is safe to say Harrison has become the activist favored candidate and Recchia has solidified his role as the institutional candidate. The only part of the story that matters though is that this is a fight against Fossella and not against ourselves.

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Harrison picks up national PDA endorsement

This is a major endorsement for Steve Harrison considering the ability for PDA's membership to both raise money and provide volunteers for the campaign. Additionally this goes a long way to solidifying Steve's standing as the progressive candidate

Congressional candidate Steve Harrison (NY 13th Congressional District Staten Island and Southwest Brooklyn) captured the Progressive Democrats of America’s (PDA) national endorsement on February 28. The local 13th CD chapter endorsed Harrison on February 23.

Harrison is seeking to unseat New York City’s only Republican House member Vito Fossella. Harrison received a higher percentage of the vote running against Fossella in 2006 than any Democrat ever under the district’s current configuration.

PDA works inside and outside the Democratic Party to further the progressive agenda, addressing issues such as healthcare, ending the Iraq war, election integrity, economic justice and ending global warming. PDA mobilizes the progressive grassroots base for Congressional races and social justice movements.

“With PDA’s endorsement on the local and national level, Harrison has demonstrated his ability to attract grassroots support,” says PDA regional spokes person, Frances Anderson.

In addition to the local and national PDA endorsements, Harrison has recently been endorsed by the progressive Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA) and the more centrist Democratic Organization of Richmond.

Iconic Democratic and labor leader Frank Barbaro endorsed Steve in December. Barbaro represented parts of the current 13th CD in the assembly. Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem has also endorsed Harrison.

update: Tom covers the endorsement.

If you know of any other endorsements for Domenic Recchia or Steve Harrison please pass them along and I will post.

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