Archive for June, 2013

Fundraising Firestorm

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

CZT Bio Photo medium resizeThe death of the oldest U.S. Senator, Frank Lautenberg , a kind and brilliant Democratic legislator, had long been anticipated.   With the announcement of a special election in October, Republican Governor Chris Christie has set off a firestorm of fundraising in the Garden state.  Undoubtedly, the seat will go to a Democrat, but which one: Booker, Pallone or another candidate?

Ready for Hillary? The Ready for Hillary Super PAC has recently announced the formation of its national finance team.  With nearly 200,000 “friends” on Facebook, the goal of the Super Pac is to establish a broad grassroots web of supporters.   Contributions, even in the catchy amount of $20.16, can be made online.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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OFA’s Climate Change Offensive

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By James Scott

OFATo the delight of some environmental advocates and the sighs of others, Organizing for Action (OFA), the advocacy group formed from the remnants of the 2012 Obama presidential campaign, has launched a nationwide initiative to build support for the administration’s climate change agenda.

Climate change advocates have long complained that the Obama administration has failed on its campaign pledge to keep the issue on the front burner. Some applauded OFA’s action; others said it doesn’t go far enough.

The OFA initiative started with an email blast to the organization’s 20 million subscribers that contained a video urging accountability for climate change deniers in the Congress. And while activists will surely see the OFA initiative as a step in the right direction, it doesn’t contain specific policy or legislation proposals.

“If we ever want to see real progress on climate change, we need to change the conversation in Washington — right now. We need every member of Congress to be part of the solution. OFA is going to hold these climate deniers accountable — even if we have to go one by one,” the e-mail said.

Then, last week, OFA activists held press conferences and other events in 50 locations in more than 20 states. Here too the initiative focused on criticizing Republicans who have blocked any meaningful action on climate change.

The White House has been stymied in its efforts to enact climate-change regulations by the Republican majority in the House and a lack of a veto-proof majority in the Senate. In 2010, a major climate change measure was rejected in the Senate making a new initiative unlikely in the short-term.

Still, climate change activists hope new attention to the issue will lead to the election of more sympathetic lawmakers. And while there has been no progress in Washington, they want to make sure states do not roll back renewable-energy laws.

Some environmentalists believe the White House and OFA are not going far enough in pushing an ambitious climate change agenda. They had hoped, for example, that OFA and the president would reject the Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

In an interview last week with the Washington Post, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said environmentalists are disappointed in the administration’s lack of leadership on climate change.

“Four months after the President’s inauguration, there’s no climate plan, no timeline, and an expansion of drilling on public lands. If this is what it means to make fighting climate a priority, then we’re all in trouble,” he said.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Bachmann’s Departure is Big Win for GOP

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By James Scott

bachmannYou probably know by now that one of Washington’s best-known Republican brands, Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, has decided to leave Congress. This is good news for the GOP.

Bachmann announced last week that she would not seek reelection to the House seat she has held since 2007. No, she said, it wasn’t that her reelection chances were dim, or the investigations into her failed 2012 presidential bid or the chill directed her way by mainstream Republican leadership in the House.

Why is she bailing? Well, she didn’t actually offer an explanation other than to say she is more worried than ever about the trajectory America is on and that she would be seeking new ways to try to alter it.

“There is no future option or opportunity … that I wouldn’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation,” she said in an 8-minute video.

Incumbency notwithstanding, Bachmann’s departure actually makes it more likely that the GOP will hold on to her seat in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

How vulnerable was Bachmann in her conservative district? Well, her Democratic opponent felt his chances were diminished, if not crushed, without Bachmann in the race.

Jim Graves, the St. Cloud businessman who nearly knock Bachmann off in 2012, had already announced he was making another bid for the seat. But when Bachmann said she was out, Graves suspended his campaign knowing that virtually any other Republican candidate would be a lock to win the seat.

It may have been the same sharp rhetoric that made her a favorite on conservative cable television that caused her undoing.

Meanwhile, Bachmann’s legal problems are growing. Charges that her 2012 presidential campaign violated spending laws are currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the Federal Election Commission, the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee and the FBI.

But it’s not like Bachmann’s departure means the Tea Party will find itself without a voice in the House. No, in fact you should expect to see at least a few conservatives upping the volume in bids to replace Bachmann as the congressional face of the Tea Party movement.

The experts at the Capitol Hill newspaper “Roll Call” have identified four worthy successors to Bachmann’s Tea Party leadership of the Tea Party Caucus:  Reps. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.

Even if she were to get reelected, Bachmann’s upward mobility in the House was severely restricted like that of many Tea Party favorites who have failed to support the GOP’s leadership on numerous key issues.

And the GOP has probably gotten pretty tired of seeing itself linked to Bachmann’s controversial opinions and her unusual rhetoric that made her a favorite target for ridicule on late night television.

When she announced that she would not seek reelection, House Speaker John Boehner of Indiana issued this statement on Twitter: “Thanks @MicheleBachmann for your years of service. A courageous voice for freedom in the people’s House.”

He might have just as well ended it with “thanks @MicheleBachmann.”

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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For Obama: Troubled Times or It Must be Summer?

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By James Scott

obama.capitol“We believe—and we hope you will agree—it is imperative that the Committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account.”  Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)

Over the years, the Congress has sought to fulfill its oversight mandate through myriad investigations of all manner of alleged misdeeds. Often, those probes have placed the administration in the crosshairs.

There have been moments of high statesmanship. Who could forget Tennessee Republican Sen. Howard Baker famously boiling the Watergate scandal to a single question: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

And there have been lesser moments, so-called “summer theater,” in which partisanship has driven the investigative agenda.

At the moment, Congress is probing the administration on no less than three fronts. Statesmanship, or theater? We’ll leave it to you to judge.

The House Judiciary Committee is examining why the Justice Department sought to gather the telephone records of as many as 20 Associated Press reporters over a period of two months. This is the investigation that prompted Goodlatte’s comment above.

Last week, this probe made the jump from examining alleged misdeeds to examining the possibility of a cover-up of those misdeeds, which as any student of the Watergate scandal knows is a common path for these kinds of investigations.

Goodlatte and Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) questioned the testimony of Attorney General Eric Holder during a hearing last month: “The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for Mr. Rosen’s emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee,” they wrote in a letter to Holder.

At the same time, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cal.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has issued subpoenas for State Department emails and other communications on the Benghazi terror attack. Issa suggested the State Department is withholding documents in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Issa wants to know more about the behind-the-scenes talks regarding the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

And, finally, the House Ways and Means Committee has been hearing testimony about charges that the Internal Revenue Service targeted right-wing Tea Party groups and others for extra tax scrutiny. In a statement, the panel’s chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) made clear that this investigation has already reached a few preliminary conclusions.

“While we now know that the IRS began targeting individuals based on their personal beliefs three years ago, we still need to know who began this targeting and why, and we need to understand how individuals were affected by the IRS’s abuse,” Camp said in a statement.

So, it would seem this is an administration that is embroiled in scandal worthy of public scorn and rejection. Either that, or Congress is heading to its summer place. You decide.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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