Is Mark Schauer Afraid to Ask?

May 14, 2009

FYI, a version of the release below went out to the following districts: Gary Peters (MI-09) and Mark Schauer (MI-07).


Is Mark Schauer Afraid to Ask?

Out of Touch with His District, Schauer Voted to Block Ethics Investigation into Top Dem’s Earmark Scandal

Washington- Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI) continues to ignore wide-ranging calls- by ethical watchdog groups, fellow lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, and now his constituents in Michigan – to launch an ethics investigation into the shady dealings of scandal-scarred Congressman Jack Murtha and the now defunct lobbying firm PMA Group. Once again, Schauer voted to protect Murtha and some of his fellow lawmakers from a House Ethics panel inquiry into earmarks inserted by them that benefited PMA clients, potentially in return for campaign contributions (House Roll Call 243). The question must be asked, is Mark Schauer afraid of what might come out of such an investigation?

The Battle Creek Enquirer editorial board is pondering that very question:

“If members of Congress are serious about promoting open and honest government, they need to clear up questions about how they operate. One way to do that is to fully investigate allegations that question members’ ethics. House members on Tuesday passed up such an opportunity

“But the speculation goes beyond partisan sniping. Of particular interest is PMA’s relationship to Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., head of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Ind. In 2007 and 2008, the three congressmen were largely responsible for directing $137 million in earmarks to defense contractors who had hired PMA to lobby for them. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Murtha has collected $2.37 million in political donations from PMA lobbyists and its client firms over the past two decades, while Visclosky has gotten $1.36 million and Moran, $997,348.(“Afraid to Ask”, Battle Creek Enquirer, Thursday May 14, 2009).

“Yet again, Mark Schauer has voted to protect top Democrat party leaders and prevent a bi-partisan ethics investigation,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain.  “Schauer continues to demonstrate his willingness to allow pay-to-play politics to continue unchecked, even as his constituents demand that action be taken.”  

“Yet on Tuesday, the House voted 215-182 against a Republican resolution to initiate a House ethics committee inquiry. The vote was not strictly partisan – 29 Democrats went against their leadership in favor of an investigation. They obviously share many Americans’ desire for transparent government that makes decisions based on what’s best for the nation, not campaign war chests” (“Afraid to Ask”, Battle Creek Enquirer, Thursday May 14, 2009).

This isn’t the first occasion that Mark Schauer has supported Jack Murtha’s special interests over the needs of his constituents.  Earlier this year, Schauer voted for the $787 billion so-called “stimulus” package, $800,000 of which has been used to fund the Murtha Airport in rural Pennsylvania that serves about 20 people per day.  Each plane ticket in and out of this airport is subsidized by American taxpayers’ dollars to the tune of approximately $100.  In total, Jack Murtha has racked up a $150 million bill for the “airport for no one” boondoggle – all on the taxpayers’ dime.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) unveiled a new radio ad this week, aimed at holding Mark Schauer accountable for his out-of-control spending, which has gone to prop up corrupt Congressman Jack Murtha’s “airport for no one.”  Listen to the ad here:

Will Mark Schauer continue to be silent on his un-ending support for Jack Murtha by signing off on reckless spending at the expense of his constituents?