Congressman Scott defects from Hillary, Lewis on the fence

Standard

Hat Tip: Yahoo, Associated Press, story by David Espo

In a fresh sign of trouble for Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the former first lady’s congressional black supporters intends to vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, and a second, more prominent lawmaker is openly discussing a possible switch.

When Israel was in Egypt’s land,
let my people go;
oppressed so hard they could not stand,
let my people go.

Rep. David Scott’s defection and Rep. John Lewis’ remarks highlight one of the challenges confronting Clinton in a campaign that pits a black man against a woman for a nomination that historically has been the exclusive property of white men.

Go down, (go down) Moses, (Moses)
way down in Egypt’s land;
tell old Hillary
to let my people go!

“You’ve got to represent the wishes of your constituency,” Scott said in an interview Wednesday in the Capitol. “My proper position would be to vote the wishes of my constituents.” The third-term lawmaker represents a district that gave more than 80 percent of its vote to Obama in the Feb. 5 Georgia primary.

“Thus saith the Lord,” bold Moses said,
let my people go;
“if not, I’ll smite your re-election dead,”
let my people go.

Lewis, whose Atlanta-area district voted 3-to-1 for Obama, said he is not ready to abandon his backing for the former first lady. But several associates said the nationally known civil rights figure has become increasingly torn about his early endorsement of Clinton. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing private conversations.

No more shall they in bondage toil,
let my people go;
let them come out with Egypt’s spoil,
let my people go.

In an interview, Lewis likened Obama to Robert F. Kennedy in his ability to generate campaign excitement, and left open the possibility he might swing behind the Illinois senator. “It could (happen). There’s no question about it. It could happen with a lot of people … we can count and we see the clock,” he said.

We need not always weep and mourn,
let my people go;
and wear those slavery chains forlorn,
let my people go.

Clinton’s recent string of eight primary and caucus defeats coincides with an evident shift in momentum in the contest for support from party officials who will attend the convention. The former first lady still holds a sizable lead among the roughly 800 so-called superdelegates, who are chosen outside the primary and caucus system.

But Christine Samuels, until this week a Clinton superdelegate from New Jersey, said during the day she is now supporting Obama.

Two other superdelegates, Sophie Masloff of Pennsylvania and Nancy Larson of Minnesota, are uncommitted, having dropped their earlier endorsements of Clinton.

On Wednesday, David Wilhelm, a longtime ally of the Clintons who had been neutral in the presidential race, endorsed Obama.

The comments by Scott and Lewis reflect pressure on Clinton’s black supporters, particularly elected officials, not to stand in the way of what is plainly the best chance in history to have an African-American president.

“Nobody could see this” in advance, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking black in Congress, said of Obama’s emergence. He is officially neutral in the race, but expressed his irritation earlier in the year with remarks that Clinton and her husband the former president had made about civil rights history.

One black supporter of Clinton, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, said he remains committed to her. “There’s nothing going on right now that would cause me to” change, he said.

He said any suggestion that elected leaders should follow their voters “raises the age old political question. Are we elected to monitor where our constituents are … or are we to use our best judgment to do what’s in the best interests of our constituents.”

In an interview, Cleaver offered a glimpse of private conversations.

He said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him “if it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?

“I told him I’d think about it,” Cleaver concluded.

Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. “Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position” in the future, he added.

Obama and Clinton are in a competitive race for convention delegates. Overall, he has 1,276 in The Associated Press count, and she has 1,220. It takes 2,025 to clinch the nomination.

The New York Times is reporting that John Lewis has left Hillary’s plantation, a notion rebuted today by his press spokeswoman.

Hillary’s Handkerchief Heads: Call Them Out

Standard


Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.)
Del. Donna Christensen (D-V.I.)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.)
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.)
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.)

If any of the listed Negro members of Congress supporting Hillary belongs to you, they need to hear a word from the people. I propose the following letter.

Dear Handkerchief Head:

You have been unconscionably silent in the face of Bill Clinton’s racially divisive tactics on behalf of Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign. I can only surmise from your silence that you either approve of Bill Clinton’s tactics or are too gutless to publicly register your opposition. Whatever the case may be, I have taken the liberty of writing to formally register my unbridled indignation and to withdraw whatever support I may have given to your re-election campaign.

Pretending that the President’s comments were somehow taken out of context or don’t mean what they plainly imply simply will not do. Burying your head in the sand or defending the indefensible won’t do either. It’s time to do-you know what-or get off the pot. You can delay addressing these comments if you want to, but you do so at your peril.

The Sunday morning talk shows were universally caustic against the Clintons.

On “Meet the Press,” Byron York of the right-wing National Review said, “You know, I don’t think you can overstate the amount of, of anger in–created in Democrats by Bill Clinton’s tactics. I mean, they were very, very unhappy with him. I was talking to a Democratic strategist the other day who said, “My wife just got in the car. She’s driving to South Carolina to volunteer for Obama.” They were that angry at what Clinton had done. And he also said, you know, Clinton is trying to turn him into Jesse Jackson. And sure enough, after Obama wins big, what does Bill Clinton say about it? “Well, you know, Jesse Jackson won here, too.”

Neo-Con Fox News Contributor and NY Times Columnist Bill Kristol wrote, “What do Jesse Jackson’s victories two decades ago have to do with this year’s Obama-Clinton race? The Obama campaign is nothing like Jackson’s. Obama isn’t running on Jackson-like themes. Obama rarely refers to Jackson.”

 

“Clinton’s comment alludes to one thing, and to one thing only: Jackson and Obama are both black candidates. The silent premise of Clinton’s comment is that Obama’s victory in South Carolina doesn’t really count. Or, at least, Clinton is suggesting, it doesn’t mean any more than Jackson’s did.”

“But of course—as Clinton knows very well—Jesse Jackson didn’t win (almost all-white) Iowa.  He didn’t come within a couple of points of prevailing in (almost all-white) New Hampshire.  Nor did he, as Obama did carry rural Nevada. And Saturday, in South Carolina, even after Bill Clinton tried to turn Obama into Jackson, Hillary defeated Obama by just three to two among white voters. So Bill Clinton has been playing the race card, and doing so clumsily.  But why is he playing any cards.?

On “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director, provides a blunt answer to Kristol’s  rhetorical question,  “But, you know, it does feel like, though, that what Bill Clinton is doing is he reads a poll, and he said, “OK, when am—how am I going to get her to 51 percent.  OK. We’ve got to figure out how to drive white men away from Barack Obama. We’ve got to figure out how to drive Latinos away from Barack Obama.” That’s what works on February 5th.  And, you know, he may not ever say that, but it feels like it’s a very tactical thing that they’ve done, and I think that’s what, you know, is going to offend the Beltway corridor, the Amtrak corridor, and, and you’re seeing a lot of, sort of, the New York and Washington Democrats who are probably going to keep coming out against Clinton on this…”

Some of us were raised to believe that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were among the best Black public servants in the country.  Your actions belie that notion and constitute a slap in the face to those that came before you in the Reconstruction era.  They fought valiantly for a seat at the table for African Americans before they were disenfranchised through the white supremacist tactics of mob violence, grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and poll taxes. 

Continuing to languish on the Clinton plantation in light of these racially divisive tactics is a betrayal of the progressive ideals of the Democratic Party and to the many unsung heroes of the civil rights movement who fought to make America a functioning and pluralistic democracy.  As for me, I am through with the Clintons and I am too through with you.

Sincerely,

Skeptical Brotha, a Negro who has some damn self-respect.



 

CBC Corporate Whore David Scott under investigation

Standard

 

 artwork by blackcommentator.com

HAT TIP: BLACK ELECTORATE/POLITICO.COM

HAT TIP By: Kenneth P. Vogel
May 23, 2007 05:36 PM EST

David Scott’s life appears in perfect order: A self-made businessman who married into an iconic Atlanta family, he rose through the ranks of Georgia state politics before winning a congressional seat in 2002 that he’s handily defended since.

A close look at his personal, campaign and business finances, however, reveals a tangled web of loans, debt, more than $182,000 in unpaid taxes and an intermingling of his political and private funds — including more than $643,000 in campaign payments to his family, their company and its employees. All of that has campaign finance experts puzzled and Scott’s team sifting through old records to reconstruct transactions it could not immediately explain to The Politico.

Scott, a moderate, pro-business Democrat, has declined interview requests. And without a detailed explanation from Scott, the story behind his finances remains unclear.

The campaign hired a Georgia attorney, Mike Williams, to help review the campaign’s finances and answer The Politico’s questions.

He said neither Scott and his family nor their advertising company, Dayn-Mark Advertising, have profited from donations to Scott’s campaign. “David Scott’s campaign has done everything within federal requirements, and we believe the record will bear that out,” Williams said.

Williams said Scott and his family’s company are working with the local, state and federal governments to resolve the tax issues. And Scott is compiling information for a detailed response to questions from The Politico about his personal, campaign and business finances, said Williams, who accused The Politico of pursuing a “politically motivated” story.

Here are the facts — drawn from Scott’s tax and property records, campaign and personal finance reports and other public information — that raise questions about the connections between his campaign, business and family finances.

Since his first congressional bid in 2002, Scott’s campaign has cut checks totaling more than $643,000 to his family, its company and the company’s employees, according to Federal Election Commission data.

Though Scott hasn’t faced a serious challenge since 2002, those payments became larger and more frequent the following year — around the time Scott, his wife and their company began slipping behind on their taxes. Combined, they owe more than $182,000 in local, state and federal taxes, according to documents on file in Atlanta’s Fulton County Courthouse.

Even though the offices for Scott’s advertising company are located outside his congressional district, Scott’s campaign over the years has paid the company more than $54,500 in rent, which FEC rules allow. David Scott for Congress also pays Dayn-Mark for staff time, telephone bills and overhead. Plus, all six officials and employees listed on Dayn-Mark’s website — including Scott’s wife and two daughters — have received disbursements from the campaign, as has his son-in-law, who isn’t employed by the company.

In the 1970s, Scott and his wife, Alfredia, sister of Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron, started Dayn-Mark Advertising, which is named for their two daughters, Dayna and Marcye. As Scott rose in the Georgia state legislature, the company blossomed as a developer of minority-targeted advertising campaigns, eventually representing a handful of big businesses, many with ties to Atlanta, some with ties to Aaron.

In 2003, Dayn-Mark missed the first of a series of federal income tax payments that tallied nearly $154,000, according to an Internal Revenue Service lien filed against the company late last year. Dayn-Mark also has racked up more than $4,600 in unpaid local and state taxes since 1998, according to liens on file at the courthouse.

Williams said Dayn-Mark is working with the IRS to resolve the lien.

Other liens show that since 2003, David and Alfredia Scott have failed to pay $23,200 in taxes on their home, a 5,000-square-foot stone house in the historic Inman Park neighborhood — which is also outside his congressional district.

Williams said before The Politico’s inquiries, the Scotts were unaware of the liens on their home, which Williams asserted may reflect an error by their mortgage company.

Even as the Scotts and their business were falling behind on taxes, they increased their stock holdings from about $500 to about $67,000, according to Scott’s personal financial disclosure statements for 2003 on file with the House. In 2003, they paid $702,000 for a three-bedroom Washington row house near the Capitol.

At the same time, Scott’s congressional campaign, for which Hank Aaron is listed as treasurer, stepped up payments to Dayn-Mark and its employees.

David Scott for Congress recorded payments to Dayn-Mark and its employees for a wide array of purposes, from canvassing to billboards to office supplies. Many of the payments appear to be reimbursements. Nearly $242,000 in disbursements were listed twice — once to Dayn-Mark or an employee or family member and again to an outside vendor such as a billboard company or office supply store. But only one payment was counted against his total cash on hand — a permitted, but unusual, reporting technique.

Scott has also loaned his campaign $527,000, almost all of which has been repaid, according to FEC records.

Williams said such loans are not unusual for candidates making their first few runs for Congress. And he said “most of the money that was disbursed to Dayn-Mark was reimbursement for expenditures made on behalf of the campaign.”

Larry Norton, an election lawyer at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice who was FEC general counsel until this year, said he’s never seen a campaign report expenses like Scott’s. Brett Kappel, a Democratic lawyer specializing in election and ethics for Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, called the arrangement between Scott’s campaign and his company “unnecessarily confusing.”

Williams responded that “not all campaigns look alike” and “everything they have done is in compliance.”

If a company is merely acting as an intermediary between a campaign and its vendors, federal election laws require such services be offered in the normal course of business. That means the campaign pays fair market value for the service and that the company offers the service to other clients.

Atlanta lawyer Kevin Ross, who managed Scott’s 2002 campaign and has overseen those of many prominent Atlanta Democrats, said he was not aware of Dayn-Mark doing any political advertising.

The campaign from 2002 to 2004 paid $18,000 to an FEC compliance consultant, Whitney Burns of Springfield, Va. Though Ross said he wasn’t regularly involved in the reporting, he recalled early in the campaign that aides had “discussions regarding how you needed to make sure that the corporate was kept distinct … (and) about the need to work within the rules.”

Burns did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Federal law prohibits candidates from spending campaign contributions for personal uses, defined as expenses “that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or duties as a federal officeholder.” Campaigns are allowed to pay rent and other fees to the candidate or the candidate’s business as long as the goods or services provided in return are at fair market value. Campaigns are also allowed to pay salaries to the candidate’s family “if a family member is providing bona fide services to the campaign.”

Donors and voters “would be shocked and appalled” if they knew how Scott was using his campaign account, said Donzella James, a former Georgia state senator who ran against Scott in the 2002 and 2006 Democratic primaries.

“The people deserve better,” said James, who said her campaign team was troubled by Scott’s finance reports but urged her to focus any attacks on Scott’s performance in Congress.

James points out that, with each successive election, Scott’s campaign has cut checks for more money to his company, its employees and his family: $52,370 in the 2002 election cycle; $218,000 in 2004; and nearly $344,000 in 2006.

Scott clobbered James in both races, but she is contemplating another run in 2008.

The CBC 6 who betrayed the black consensus on Iraq

Standard

 Go to fullsize image

Six members of the Congressional Black Caucus have betrayed the black consensus on Iraq and voted tonight to endorse Dubya’s blank check for a continued imperial crusade in Iraq.

They are Rep. Sanford Bishop-D GA, Rep. G.K. Butterfield-D. N.C.,  Rep. Jim Clyburn -D. S.C., Rep. Kendrick Meek-D-FL,  Rep. David Scott-D Ga, Rep. Bennie Thompson D-MS. 

Can someone explain this to me?  Is there a delusional chorus of Negroes somewhere clamoring for a continuation of a war-without-end in Iraq?  Please tell me that there is some organized grassroots effort in the black community in rural Mississippi hollering, weeping and wailing for the Iraq War to continue so that they may continue to be neglected and forgotten by the white power structure.

Please tell me that as we mourn and funeralize the daughter of a King, these six have not chosen to willfully desecrate the King family legacy by voting for this Iraqi attrocity and war crime against humanity.  Please tell me that they suffered some kind of mental breakdown that could explain this.

SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND THIS!

Was Dr. King not clear when he wrote, “Before it is too late, we must narrow the gaping chasm between  our proclamations of peace and our lowly deeds which precipitate and perpetuate war. We are called upon to look up from the quagmire of miltary programs and defense commitments and read the warnings on history’s signposts. 

One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must persue peaceful ends through peaceful means. How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we heed the plaintive pleas of the unnumbered dead and maimed of past wars?”

It is getting to the point where all of the accumulated knowlege and suffering of generations of our people is rendered useless by the persistent and baffling shuffling of a few powerful elected handkerchief heads who refuse to see reason and commonsense.   All of these men have been around long enough to have experienced a taste of Uncle Sam’s tyranny. 

I am truly undone by this brazen act of contempt.   The only question that remains for me is whether or not “the Safe Negro,” Barack Obama, will man-up and vote No.