Tuesday, October 27, 2009


CQ Politics has a story today about leadership PACs shelling out in contested Senate primary races. Leadership PACs, as you probably know, are organized by members of Congress; they enjoy higher limits on donations than do individual donors -- $10,000 per cycle, instead of $4800.

Mike Rogers has his own leadership PAC, appropriately titled MIKE R Fund (Majority Initiative to Keep Electing Republicans). This fund brought in over half a million dollars in 2008, and it is cranking along nicely for the 2010 cycle.

This year, Mr. Rogers' PAC has already shelled out for GOP House members (including Thad McCotter, Joseph Cao, and -- no lie! -- Joe Wilson), Kansan GOP Senate candidate Todd Tiahrt and the Michigan Republican Party. Also on the spending list: pricey Miami Beach hotels and D.C. tapas restaurants. Hey, raising money is hard work...

And where is all this money coming from? Unsurprisingly, the guy with over five million YouTube hits for his anti-health care reform video has raised the majority of his PAC dollars from pharmaceuticals, health products and health professionals.

It's clear that Mr. Rogers is a very gifted fund raiser. I say this without any snark-- he's really good at it! It would be nice, though, if he spent a little bit of that energy and creativity on the people in MI-08.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Patriot Games

TPM is reporting that the NRCC has decided to limit its next Patriot Program group to five incumbents, down from the original 10.

Mike Rogers has energetically co-chaired the NRCC incumbent retention program and spent quite a bit of time raising $$ for the chosen Patriots.

Has he not been working hard enough? Perish the thought, according to an NRCC aide:
"The political environment has shifted, and there just aren't five more vulnerable Members who are really in need of assistance or facing a credible challenge," an NRCC aide told the paper. "That money would be better spent by directly transferring money to the committee and on assisting the large number of challenger candidates looking to oust a Democrat incumbent."
A somewhat more clear-eyed analysis came from TPM.
Another way of looking at it is this: The Republicans got cleaned out in 2006 and 2008. With the exception of some open swing seats where usually safe GOP incumbents are retiring, there's not too much left that the GOP has a serious chance of losing.
Either way, it looks as though Mr. Rogers will have some extra time on his hands. Think he'll get around to paying attention to Michigan's interests in Washington?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Very High Double Standards

The Neighborhood is admittedly a small blog; we focus on one Congressional district that's spread out over bits & pieces of five different counties (not to mention three different media markets), "represented" in Washington, D.C. by Mike Rogers.

Well, the 'Hood got some national attention last week, when the story about insurance industry donations to Mr. Rogers was picked up by The Sunlight Foundation's "Local Sunlight" columnist.

OK, enough bragging.

Back here in the Mitten, the Lansing State Journal's Derek Melot has a nifty little blog post describing one of the sweet health care perks that Mr. Rogers receives courtesy of us taxpayers: The Office of the Attending Physician (OAP), a full-service health center.
Members of Congress do not pay for the individual services they receive at the OAP, nor do they submit claims through their federal employee health insurance policies. Instead, members pay a flat, annual fee of $503 for all the care they receive. The rest of the cost of their care, sources said, is subsidized by taxpayers.
Earlier this year, the Neighborhood brought you the details of Mr. Rogers' health insurance plan -- also paid for with our tax dollars -- and compared it to the costs and benefits available to a Michigan family purchasing the cheapest MI BC/BS individual plan. It would be kind of funny if it weren't so unfair.

So between paying for his premiums with pretax dollars and having a personal physician on-call in the Capitol, you have to wonder how Mr. Rogers can keep a straight face when he rants about "socialist health care." As an adult, his health insurance coverage has been provided by taxpayers (U.S. Army, the FBI, the Michigan legislature and U.S. Congress). Given his early bout with bladder cancer, it would be instructive for him to go looking for individual coverage and see just what he would be shelling out for a basic plan...