Sunday, May 20, 2012

CD6: New Transparency Law Puts John Delaney & Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in Spotlight // PLUS: Centrist Democrats Back Delaney

Last February, Maryland Juice highlighted a Washington Post report showing that 6th Congressional District Rep. Roscoe Bartlett steered $4.5 million to projects benefiting property he owns. But last April, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that would put a spotlight on Congressional conflicts of interest. Yesterday, the Associated Press highlighted the impact this new law would have on Rep. Bartlett and his challenger, Democrat John Delaney (excerpt below):
ASSOCIATED PRESS: The battle for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District this fall will pit a millionaire corporate investor against a wealthy landowner — occupations that the new STOCK Act will allow voters to examine more deeply as they decide who will represent them.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett holds more than a dozen properties, most in Maryland, while his rival, Democrat John Delaney, made his millions as owner of an investment banking company and holds his assets in an extensive stock and bond portfolio, according to their financial disclosure statements.

Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, Delaney, should he win the election, would be required to disclose any investment transactions within 45 days, with all information put into a searchable online database. Bartlett would be required to list the holder of any mortgages on his properties and any sales or purchases within 45 days.

The STOCK Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama April 4, was designed to stop insider trading by members of Congress and their staff who have access to non-public information they could use to trade stock or buy property for their personal financial benefit....

Bartlett said in a statement, “the STOCK Act will have very little effect upon me....”

While the 85-year-old Bartlett invests his money in property and precious metals, his challenger has built a large portfolio in stocks and bonds.

Delaney made his money as founder and chairman of CapitalSource, an investment company that also operates banks in California. He is also on the board of directors of Congressional Bank and founded other investment companies in Maryland, including Alliance Partners....

He has several trusts with money invested in companies like Bank of America and Microsoft as well as somewhere between $1 million and $5 million, according to the ranges listed on disclosure forms, in Wells Fargo....

“He’s going to sit down with the experts who do this for a living and he’s going to do what needs to be done,” said Delaney’s campaign manger Justin Schall. “He takes this reform stuff very seriously.”

MUSHY CENTRIST "NEW DEMOCRAT" COALITION BACKS JOHN DELANEY: In other CD6 news, Maryland Juice notes that the centrist "New Democrat Coalition" has endorsed John Delaney for Congress. Their website states:
NEW DEMOCRAT COALITION: The New Democrat Coalition has chosen to endorse a number of diverse individuals – each of whom shares our commitment to advancing policies that will harness the power of American ingenuity to create jobs, maintain our ability to compete and succeed in the global economy, and ensure we leave our children and grandchildren with a safer and more secure nation.

I find this a bit irritating, given that the group is basically a repackaged/rebooted centrist DLC group (ie: think Bill Clinton triangulation). Wikipedia notes:
WIKIPEDIA: New Democrats, in the politics of the United States, are an ideologically centrist faction within the Democratic Party that emerged after the victory of Republican George H. W. Bush in the 1988 presidential election. They are identified with centrist social/cultural/pluralist positions and neoliberal fiscal values. They are represented by organizations such as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the New Democrat Network, and the Senate and House New Democrat Coalitions.
After the landslide electoral losses to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, a group of prominent Democrats began to believe their party was out of touch and in need of a radical shift in economic policy and ideas of governance. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was founded in 1985 by Al From and a group of like-minded politicians and strategists. They advocated a political "Third Way" as an antidote to the electoral successes of Reaganism.
Although the label "New Democrat" was briefly used by a progressive reformist group including Gary Hart and Eugene McCarthy in 1989,[6] the term became more widely associated with the policies of the Democratic Leadership Council, who in 1990 renamed their bi-monthly magazine from The Mainstream Democrat to The New Democrat. When then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton stepped down as DLC chairman to run for president in the 1992 presidential election, he presented himself as a "New Democrat"....
In 2003 Barack Obama (at the time serving in the Illinois State Senate), asked the Democratic Leadership Council to remove his name from its New Democrat Directory.... 

Notably, the New Democrats backed Rob Garagiola in the CD6 primary. But Maryland Juice would argue that Mr. Garagiola's unwillingness to speak to the party base was one of the underlying problems plaguing his campaign. Hopefully Mr. Delaney will not get too far in with this group. We already have plenty of problems getting Democrats to "do the right thing" in Maryland.

To be fair, a number of New Democrats take bold positions and are pretty good on a lot of issues -- but it seems unclear why we need a group pushing mushy issues in the Democratic caucus. It seems like the pro-corporate Democrats have already thoroughly infected the whole of the U.S. House & Senate caucuses, along with every state Democratic organization.

Keep it real, John Delaney. Please, keep it real.

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