Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mike Rogers is going to miss those good old days.

The 107th, 108th, and 109th Congress were good times for Michigan congressman Mike Rogers (Mike R). Mike R was a player in the Culture Club, he could get some bills through for his constituency (Energy, Mining, Pharma, Health Care, Food) thanks to his majority party caucus. Now that the Democrats will control the agenda in the 110th Congress, things are going to change and I’m sure Mr. Rogers will miss “the good old days”.

Culture of Corruption:
Former congressman Tom Delay had his K-Street Project in place, the Democrats were “irrelevant” to Delay, and Mike R was part of it:

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Blunt's deputy whip, said he meets regularly with the lobbying community and, as different bills come up, "we go over lists to see who knows this member, how can we get that person feeling more comfortable, can we get him more information." These drives are conducted "on bills that are big -- tax, energy, bankruptcy, class action, tort reform. The whole world swoops in," Rogers said. For each bill, a steering committee is created that "hands out assignments, coordinates activities."

Trading votes for cash is not new in politics, but in the last three years the confluence of Leadership PACs and lobbyists hit a new plateau. One lobbyist was quoted in a PAC management software program as a testimonial:

"I use the Pontecchio Bridges system to administer more than thirty campaign PAC's for our clients. It does everything I need and yet it really is the service and support we get from the Pontecchio staff that sets them apart from other vendors I have worked with. We're quite pleased." Barbara W. Bonfiglio - Williams & Jensen”.
Mark Valente a Republican fundraiser and lobbyist was treasurer for up to 15 Republican Leadership PACs including the MIKE R fund. As a result of ties to “Culture Club” leaders like Tom Delay, and Jack Abramoff, the era of lobbyist as PAC Treasurer has diminished dramatically. Mark Valente stepped down in July and was replaced by Robert Carlin as treasurer. Barbara Bonfiglio stepped down as a principle for Williams & Jensen, and is out of the PAC business altogether.

Between Barbara Bonfiglio and Mark Valente, it appears a lot of money passed between the Leadership PACs they represented. Getting that “mojo” back again will be more difficult.

Congressional Performance:
Submitting statements called "Extensions of Remarks" for inclusion in Congressional Record like this one submitted June 8th probably won't go unnoticed like they used to:
“Mr. Speaker, on the legislative day of May 19, 2006 the House voted on a procedural motion to H.R. 5385, the Fiscal 2007 Military Construction-VA Appropriations Act. On House rollcall vote No. 173, I was unavoidably detained. Had I been present, I would have voted ``aye.''

Bills like the “National Uniformity for Food Act”, won’t get out of committee without substantial changes.

Mike R has developed through his votes quite a record. It will be interesting to compare his previous votes and positions with his statements in the next two years. The word “flip-flop” comes to mind. Mr. Rogers positions are evolving and the new congress hasn’t convened yet.

Looking Forward:
On the bright side for Mike R, a number of things are still in place:

But we will be watching Mike R, and that’s a good thing.

There are only 695 days until the next General Election.


Pohlitics said...

Nice post, Oriondem. Yep, it'll be interesting to see how much Mr. Rogers likes being in the minority for (at least) the next two years. Things are going to get a lot tougher from here on out.

Kelster93 said...

It's also interesting to note that Mike Rogers has said no to running for any minority leadership positions... wonder why he's keeping his profile so low? Rumor has it that the FBI is looking at as many as a dozen Congressional indictments for Abramoff-related naughtiness.

Verifiable said...

This has slipped by everyone. And at a time when Candice Miller's explored/ing a race for the Senate.

Valente was also treasurer for CANDICE PAC from 2003-2006.

Valente set up CANDICE PAC on February 13, 2003. Rep. Candice Miller introduced H.R. 831 on the same day -- a bill intended to push an Indian Casino for Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik. H.R. 831 was alive for most of the 109th Congress.

Neither the Ilitch Family nor Malik supported Miller's first bid for the House. After Miller introduced H.R. 831, Ilitches and Malik bundled $74k in all for Miller -- $60,000 of that bundled for CANDICE PAC over a two year period.

Malik gave the first contribution ever received by CANDICE PAC, a $5000 check. Little else was received by CANDICE PAC for another year ... and then on April 2, 2004 when the Ilitch family bundled another $30,000+ for CANDICE PAC.

Later, Miller/Valente must have realized they needed to diversify CANDICE PAC's donor base!

Valente shut down CANDICE Pac June 28, 2006 trying to dodge investigation bullets. Which he did. Because CANDICE PAC had been terminated it wasn't always included in election November 2006 news stories re: leadership PACs & corruption.

During the life of CANDICE PAC the Ilitch Family/Malik contributed almost 50% of all the money raised and more than 80% of the money banked from individuals (non-PACs). For the first year and a half (3 reporting periods), few other than the Ilitch Family/Malik contributed to CANDICE PAC.

Valente made a contribution every now and then to make it look like more than an Ilitch money channel.