Some of the nation’s most prominent conservatives sought to downplay New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s bridge scandal on the Sunday morning political talk shows, suggesting it paled in comparison to purported Obama Administration perfidies like Benghazi or the IRS “targeting” of conservative groups.
“Chris Christie has been totally open here,” Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), said, dismissing any notion that Christie had something to do with the political closing of the George Washington Bridge.
“He stood there for 111 minutes in an open dialogue with the press. Now, only if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would give us 111 seconds of that, would we find out some things we want to find out about Obamacare, Benghazi, The IRS.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) echoed Priebus. “I think [Christie] took the bull by the horns, held people accountable, fired people. And I think it is a very big difference than how this administration has handled things — IRS, Benghazi, you can keep your health insurance if you want it. Nobody’s been fired over that. And what we’re seeing is a big difference.” Kinzinger concluded that the scandal “may set him up for 2016.”
“This is not Watergate. This is not even the IRS targeting of last year,” said Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member Kimberly Strassel. She then invoked a older conservative line blaming Obama for last year’s devastating budget cuts and government shutdown: “in fact, it’s not even, if you think about this as a raw display of political power, it’s not even this White House using the sequester and the shutdown to inconvenience millions of Americans to make a political point.”
“How could you not have known?,” former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani asked rhetorically. “How did President Obama not know about the IRS targeting right wing groups?”
Sean Spicer, the RNC’s communications director, spun Christie’s handling as “what America is yearning for.”
“Yes, mistakes will happen,” Spicer said. “Do you own them? Do you take responsibility for them? Do you put in place — take action to ensure they don’t happen again. Too often, whether it’s Benghazi, GSA, the IRS scandal, we don’t say ‘me me me.’ We say it’s somebody else’s fault, blame somebody else, I had nothing to do with this. Chris Christie did. He said the buck stops with me.”
Perhaps the forthright summary of this position came in a tweet from Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL). “No Christie fan but ‘Bridgegate’ is small potatoes vs [Ambassador Stevens] + 3 others killed due to neglect/[mismanagement] -selective outrage #Benghazi.”
The George Washington Bridge closure disrupted four separate emergency medical response efforts, including one for a 91 year old woman who later died. The newest documents about the scandal, released after Governor Christie’s press conference , have shown the scope of the scandal to be wider than previously believed.
Karl Rove made similar comments to the above on Fox News Sunday. In response to Bob Woodward’s argument that the Christie scandal was uniquely bad because it “came out of that office,” Rove said “So did Benghazi, and so did IRS… come out of appointees of President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton!” The Republican strategist concluded that “the amount of attention paid this week to Chris Christie makes the coverage of Benghazi at the same time and the coverage of the IRS pale in significance” and that Christie’s handling of the scandal shows that the Governor has “what we want in a leader.”
WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it will continue an investigation of Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock over allegations he solicited donations of more than $5,000 per donor to a super political action committee. The committee also said it’s continuing a probe of whether a trip New York Democrat Bill Owens took to Taiwan was arranged by lobbyists for the country’s government.
Both cases had been referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a separate, outside ethics office. The House committee announced its decision to continue looking into each case on Wednesday, while releasing OCE’s report on both cases.
In a statement, the ethics committee said that in both cases merely “conducting further review … does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.” The committee also said it would refrain from further comment pending completion of initial reviews.
Both Schock and Owens said they expect to be exonerated by the House committee.
Schock’s case involves an allegation he asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to contribute $25,000 from his leadership PAC to a super PAC that backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a House primary against Rep. Don Manzullo. Kinzinger won the March 2012 primary. Redistricting following the 2010 census put the two congressmen in the same and the primary.
According to the OCE report, the Super PAC backing Kinzinger, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, received a minimum of $115,000 that came from “efforts of Rep. Schock and his campaign committee.”
Schock told investigators that he never requested the $25,000 from Cantor. According to the OCE report, Cantor told investigators that Schock had asked him if he would give the $25,000 donation to back Kinzinger. Cantor said he then gave money from his committee to the super PAC backing Kinziger in the primary.
The case involving Owens relates to a December 2011 trip he and his wife took to Taiwan. Owens and his wife were invited by the Chinese Culture University of Taiwan. But the trip may have been arranged by lobbyists for the country. Lawmakers are prohibited from taking trips that are paid for by lobbyists.
Owens said he expected the investigation would clear him of wrongdoing.
H/T: Huffington Post
Republican Congressman Aaron Schock, despite ethics issues, is considering a run for Governor of Illinois
Progress Illinois is reporting that Republican Congressman Aaron Schock of the 18th Congressional District of Illinois is contemplating a 2014 run for Governor of Illinois.
However, Schock has an “Eric Cantor” problem.
Schock goaded House Majority Leader Eric Cantor into donating $25,000 from Cantor’s own SuperPAC, ERIC PAC, to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which supported Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger in the 16th Congressional District of Illinois Republican Primary, who narrowly won an incumbent-versus-incumbent primary against Donald Manzullo.
In the last 15 years, two of Illinois’s former governors, George Ryan, a Republican, and Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, have been sentenced to prison after being convicted on corruption charges. Simply put, Illinois does not need yet another unethical governor.
Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed recently reported a rumor that’s been going around in political circles: “U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin telling pals he might retire in two years.” If Durbin does quit after three terms, here are some possible replacements.
DAN HYNES: The ex-comptroller finished second to Barack Obama in the 2004 Senate primary and barely lost to Pat Quinn in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. He’ll only be 45 in 2014 and may be tempted to try again after two close races.
DAVID HOFFMAN: Former Chicago Inspector General Hoffman finished second to Alexi Giannoulias in the 2010 primary, and his supporters insist he would have won if the primary had been held in March, instead of February. However, he’s too much of a goo-goo to excite minority voters, and no white Chicago Democrat has won a Senate seat since Paul Douglas in 1960.
TONI PRECKWINKLE: The Cook County Board President runs the county that will cast more than half the votes in the Democratic primary, and she’s a Hyde Park liberal in the Obama mold. Would be the favorite to win the primary, but may experience an anti-Cook County backlash in the general election. Drawback: She’ll be 67 years old.
SHEILA SIMON: It’s her father’s old seat. On the other hand, she couldn’t get elected mayor of Carbondale, and only won statewide as Pat Quinn’s running mate.
KWAME RAOUL: Hey, the state senator who used to hold Raoul’s seat also had an exotic name, and he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
PAT QUINN: Facing certain defeat in his run for a third term as governor, would Quinn decide to switch offices and run for the Senate instead? He ran for this same seat in 1996, when Durbin won. Quinn will be 65.
JAN SCHAKOWSKY: The North Shore congresswoman considered running for the Senate in 2004. Too liberal for a statewide race.
AARON SCHOCK: He was the youngest congressman, the youngest member of the General Assembly and the youngest trustee of the Peoria School Board. Schock would benefit from the tradition of reserving one Senate seat for a Downstater. A Republican who’s not hung up on racial or cultural issues, Schock has a knack for winning votes from people who don’t agree with him on the issues — his inner-city Peoria district replaced him with a black Democrat. Plus, he’ll only be 33.
ADAM KINZINGER: Another young Republican congressman, Kinzinger will only be 36 in 2014. Unlike his prospective seatmate, he actually flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He expanded his statewide appeal by beating fellow incumbent Don Manzullo to represent the new 16th District.
JIM OBERWEIS: Just because we’d like to see him die broke.
KIRK DILLARD: He really, really, really wants to be governor, like ex-boss, Jim Edgar. But that ship sailed for him in 2010 when he lost the primary to Bill Brady by 193 votes. Dan Rutherford will be the Republican nominee for governor in 2014. So Dillard may as well run for the Senate.
CHICAGO (AP) — Longtime Republican Congressman Don Manzullo has lost a grueling primary election to freshman Congressman Adam Kinzinger in north-central Illinois.
There’s no Democrat on the ballot, so Kinzinger is headed back to Washington.
The 16th Congressional District race was the only incumbent versus incumbent race in Illinois and pitted the veteran lawmaker against the former Air Force pilot.
That’s because new congressional map drawn by Democrats put much of Kinzinger’s old district into Manzullo’s. Kinzinger decided to run in Manzullo’s instead of challenging Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who easily won the Democratic nomination Tuesday.
The new 16th District curves through north-central Illinois from the Wisconsin state line to the Indiana border.
Kinzinger first won office in 2010 with strong tea party support, including an endorsement former Gov. Sarah Palin.