Giving The GOP A Kick In The Pants On Corruption

From the Hill,

“A popular conservative blog will step up its efforts this week to force Republican leaders to pull Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) from the powerful Appropriations Committee. In addition, the website will begin a coordinated effort to target members of the GOP Steering Committee in order to save the party from electoral disaster in 2008, the editor in chief of the site said Sunday.

“This party of ours must be pruned and it must be pruned by those of us who care about it before meeting the butchers sheers in the hands of the voters again in 2008,” Erick Erickson, editor in chief of www.redstate.com wrote to The Hill. “If they refuse to hear that change is needed, we will wipe them out and replace them with new blood that recognizes that a corrupt party rejected by the voters will not be embraced again by the voters until the corruption is purged.”

On the blog, Erickson on Friday had declared “war” on the GOP leadership because it backed Calvert to join the committee. Erickson objects to the choice, saying Calvert was involved in “several questionable land deals…”

Erickson described a several pronged “battle plan” that includes encouraging users of the blog to flood lawmakers with calls in their district and Washington offices and eventually contacting lawmakers’ key campaign contributors and the media in order to emphasize their commitment to change.

“We will call each member, one a day, flooding lines in district and in D.C.,” Erickson wrote. “We will compile a list of every member who either admits to voting for Calvert or refuses to answer.”

Once the list is complied, it will be published and sent to lawmakers’ top contributors with a list of the allegations against Calvert enclosed.

Erickson said the group will also zero in on the 29 members of the Republican Steering Committee, who chose Calvert May 9 to temporarily replace Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), a day before the decision was ratified by the full Republican Conference. Votes held in the Steering Committee are considered extremely confidential.

“We will target the Steering Committee members in order of most vulnerable to defeat to least vulnerable to defeat,” Erickson said. “We will provide one way out for each member of the Steering Committee: publicly announce a desire to have Ken Calvert step down before we get to a particular member of the Steering Committee.”

He added, “Once we’ve started, we won’t stop.”

Now, the question I had after reading this was, “Does Calvert deserve to be targeted?” So, I contacted Erick Erickson and he pointed me to this post on Redstate,

“When John Doolittle had to step down from the House Appropriations Committee because of a corruption investigation, the House GOP gave the nod to Calvert.

In 2005, Calvert and a partner paid $550,000 for 4.3 acres of land. Calvert then used his earmarking powers to secure $8 million in funds for an interstate exchange on the property. He then sold the property for about $1 million.

Also in 2005, a business partner of Calvert’s bought additional land that Calvert’s earmarks benefited. When the property was sold, a firm financially connected to Calvert received a commission for the sale.

In 2006, Calvert engaged in other shady land deals. The list goes.

I won’t even go in to his arrest for soliciting a prostitute.

This is the man House Republicans chose to replace John Doolittle. They just don’t get it. So now I declare war. Who is with me?

There is only one thing you need to do. Call John Boehner at (202) 225-4000 and tell him the House GOP will get no support until Ken Calvert is off Appropriations.”

Personally, I don’t think anyone who has solicited a prostitute, Democrat or Republican, belongs in Congress, much less on the appropriations committee and some of those land deals look shady.

I do have a big problem with the sort of double standards that allow crooked Democrats like Harry Reid and Diane Feinstein to get a pass for behavior that would end a Republican’s career, but that doesn’t mean we should give shady Republicans a pass.

So, I’m with Redstate: there’s no way that a guy like Ken Calvert should be anywhere near the appropriations committee. If you agree, you may want to relay those sentiments to Minority Leader John Boehner at (202) 225-4000 and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole at (202)-225-6165.

Update #1: Here’s more on Ken Calvert,

“Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Riverside, was temporarily appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, taking the seat of Rep. John Doolittle, R-Granite Bay, who stepped down after it was disclosed that FBI agents had raided Doolittle’s home in a probe into his connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Calvert is expected to serve for the remainder of Congress or until Republican leadership decides otherwise.

But Calvert’s appointment to replace a controversial congressman snarled in the Abramoff scandal is raising eyebrows because Calvert himself is under close FBI scrutiny.

Calvert, who represents western Riverside County, have caught investigators’ attention because he had been receiving campaign donations since 1999 from a lobbying firm that has close ties with Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands. The FBI had been investigating links between Lewis, a ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, and the lobbying firm Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton & White.

Neither Lewis and Calvert has been charged with any wrongdoing.

But that Calvert’s name has been linked to these probes and is temporarily replacing the closely scrutinized Doolittle has some raising objections.”

How can anyone justify sticking a Congressman under scrutiny by the FBI on the Appropriations Committee, especially after the other ethics troubles Republicans have been having?

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