Patronage Accusation Details

The Slaughter campaign sent out the details on Maggie Brooks’ husband’s patronage job at the Monroe County Water Authority. It includes the most controversial accusation, which is that Brooks accompanied her husband to Disneyland and San Diego on the county’s dime, so I’m including it after the break.

As for the politics of this, like everything else in this race, I don’t see much new in the release. People know that Maggie got her husband a cushy job at the Water Authority, and spouses accompany husbands on business trips. The Brooks response, which called this “gutter politics”, was a laugh, since the accusation is a summary of a bunch of public records. The whole “gutter politics” or “politics of division” line that the Brooks campaign is pushing is a waste of time as far as I’m concerned. Everyone knew this thing was going to be a battle royale, and my guess is they’d be disappointed if there weren’t a few fireworks.

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More Blurry Photos from Events May Reveal Brooks’ Funders

As a photographer, I have always wished I could find a way to track down campaign money photographically.  Fortunately,  yesterday everything became a lot easier when I got this message from the Louise Slaughter campaign:



Guess who Louise’s Republican opponent Maggie Brooks was caught on film cheering with at the GOP Convention in Tampa?
A picture says a thousand words and here she is with none other than David Koch, of the billionaire Koch Brothers and architect of almost every negative deceitful attack ad this year.
Who knows how much money the Koch brothers will pump into Rochester to get their golden girl Maggie elected.”

Could the Slaughter campaign have found a way (without looking at filings or disclosure reports from the FEC) to get at who is really backing Brooks?  Why else would somebody be at an event near another person if they weren’t giving them millions of dollars?

I went into my archive and found a slew of other blurry photos of Maggie Brooks at events that show people near her.  Could these blurry people “caught on film” near Maggie Brooks at some event pump millions into Rochester to get her elected?

Though he has not “contributed” to her campaign “officially”, longtime Rochester political insider Darryl Porter can be blurrily seen here with Maggie Brooks at an event of some kind. Photo by Clarke Condé.

While the Urban League of Rochester has not “endorsed” Maggie Brooks for congress, she was obviously at an event where they had a sign. Photo by Clarke Condé.

Though a longtime Slaughter supporter, Democratic County Legislator Paul Haney can be seen here listening intently to Maggie Brooks at a public event. Photo by Clarke Condé.

Former Congressman Eric Massa is seen in this blurry photo standing somewhat near Maggie Brooks. What could it mean? Photo by Clarke Condé.

Mayor Tom Richards (seen here in a blurry photo at an event where Maggie Brooks also was) is reported by some to have a lot of money AND has been known to give money to candidates running for political office. Photo by Clarke Condé.


Non-Denial Denial

YNN has dueling statements from Brooks and Slaughter on the rape comments Here’s Slaughter:

Maggie Brooks has been deliberately hiding her anti-choice views from the public during this campaign, and has repeatedly aligned herself with some of the most conservative voices in Washington who have tried to strip women of their health care rights and redefine rape to satisfy their radical ideologies. The only thing we really know about Maggie Brooks is that she’s willing to take money from any right-wing group that will try to buy her a seat in Congress.

This is Brooks:

Louise Slaughter should be ashamed of this outrageous and dishonest attack on Maggie Brooks’ character. It’s sad to see Louise bring her hyper-partisan brand of Washington politics to our community. The voters of Monroe County know and trust Maggie and her record of protecting taxpayers, and won’t be fooled by Louise’s dirty tricks.

That statement says nothing about Brooks’ position on “forcible rape” or the rape exemption for abortion in general, so we’re left to assume that Brooks doesn’t want to talk about it. When a campaign resorts to “I’m rubber, you’re glue”, it’s because they don’t want to address the underlying issue, and that’s clearly what’s going on here.

Organized Labor Supports Louise Slaughter

Photo by Clarke Condé.

ROCHESTER, NY- The New York State AFL-CIO, the umbrella group to which nearly all public, private and trade unions belong, officially announced their endorsement of Louise Slaughter today.  That’s right, the never conflicted, solidarity-filled House of Labor is behind Louise 100%.  Guess that settles that.

Here’s a Question for Maggie

Maggie was indeed very quick to condemn Akin’s statement, but what about Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans in the House who co-sponsored a bill containing language referring to “forcible” rape, language that was removed only after an intense media firestorm. Does Maggie, like Paul Ryan, think that Congress should draw a distinction between forcible rape and other kinds of rape when it comes to abortion? Or does she condemn that?

By the way, this is apparently the “lie” that Brooks is referring to, from a Slaughter fundraising letter:

My “pro-life” opponent has continued to take tens of thousands of dollars and endorsements from those attacking women’s health, including Paul Ryan who has been working with Rep. Akin to redefine rape this entire Congress.

Ryan co-sponsored the bill with the original language. Maggie “applauded” the choice of Congressman Ryan. Maggie got money from at least three of the co-sponsors of the forcible rape bill (Roskum, Grimm and Sam Johnson on the last fundraising report). Where’s the lie here?

Maggie Fears the Reaper

Maggie Brooks seems a little shaken by the nomination of the Grim Reaper of Medicare, Paul Ryan, to the Republican ticket, since she’s repeating the same lie that Mitt Romney used when he introduced Ryan this weekend. The $700 billion figure is a mainly a cut to the wasteful Medicare Advantage program, which is a failed experiment in using private insurers to provide Medicare coverage. Medicare Advantage is less efficient, so seniors on that program will be moved to regular Medicare–nobody’s losing anything. Alan Bedenko fully destroys the myth of the $700 billion cut today if you want all the details, so instead of focusing on that, let’s move on to what Brooks is trying to hide, courtesy of the Associated Press:

ROMNEY: “Unlike the current president, who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security and keep them there for future generations.”

THE FACTS: You could fill an arena with all the details left out in this statement. Ryan’s reputation as a fiscal conservative is built on a budget plan that would overhaul the Medicare program and introduce a voucher-like plan that future retirees could use to buy private health insurance. Whether that results in a better or worse situation for Medicare recipients is a matter of debate. But under Ryan’s plan, traditional Medicare would no longer be the health insurance mainstay, just one of many competing options.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the Ryan plan — which Romney endorsed in broad strokes in the past — would slow the increases in money for seniors. A typical 66-year-old would receive about 35 percent more than last year — $7,400 in 2011 dollars. Under current law, that person would probably receive at least 56 percent more in 2030, and quite possibly 75 percent more — $9,600 in 2011 dollars. The CBO said his plan grows spending for Medicare enrollees “at a much slower rate” than under current law or other policy scenarios. In Washington, a slower increase in spending is tantamount to a spending cut.

Romney’s assertion that the team would preserve Social Security left out the fact that he proposes significant change. He would protect the status quo for people 55 and over but, for the next generations of retirees, raise the retirement age for full benefits by one or two years and reduce inflation increases in benefits for wealthier recipients. At least with this program, he has offered more specifics than President Barack Obama has in dealing with the entitlement’s long-term financing shortfall, though neither has laid out a comprehensive solution.

As for his accusation that the president cut Medicare, Obama’s health care law does cut billions from the Medicare Advantage program, hospitals and nursing homes, to pay for expanded insurance coverage.

Maggie Brooks doesn’t want to run on Medicare vouchers, and who can blame her? I don’t know anyone who’s 80 years old who thinks they can buy as good a policy as Medicare for $7,400 today, much less for a few thousand dollars more 18 long years from now. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Ryan plan is the death of Medicare, and Maggie’s right to fear the reaper, because voters won’t be happy once they learn more about the number two guy at the top of her party’s ticket.

Tax Workers Not Wealth

Photo by Clarke Condé.

ROCHESTER, NY- So goes the chant with which the dozen or so protesters greeted House Speaker John Boehner at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center for a Maggie Brooks fundraiser Saturday.  Dressed in furs, they proclaimed themselves “Millionaires for Maggie” and put on a bit of a show that was at the very least entertaining.   Protesters always spice up a campaign and as we round the 100 day mark before the election, it seems like time for a little more spice (and substance) from both sides in this campaign.