Steele Slammed for 'Spending Spree'; House Throws Pajama Party

Monday, 06 Dec 2010 12:12 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Michael Steele Under Fire for GOP ‘Spending Spree’
2. New Representatives Will Sleep in Office — Literally
3. Mark Foley Weighing a Return to Politics
4. Mexican Drug War Murders Top 10,000 This Year
5. Roger Stone: Oust Sen. Lugar for a ‘Real Conservative’
6. We Heard: Joe Lieberman, Dr. Laura, Michael Savage
 

1. Michael Steele Under Fire for GOP ‘Spending Spree’

It’s being called Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s “parting act of financial irresponsibility”: The GOP already has spent more than $630,000 on a national convention that is still nearly two years away.

The $636,800 that Republicans spent through September on the 2012 national convention in Tampa, Fla., is 18 times the $35,000 spent by September 2006 on the 2008 convention.

“At a time when Steele and the RNC have come under fire for what critics call financial mismanagement, the convention spending has raised questions about oversight and financial controls inside the committee,” The Washington Post reported.

David Norcross, a former national committeeman who chaired the RNC committee that oversaw the 2004 convention, told the Post: “I can’t imagine what you’d spend $636,000 on at this point.”

The large expenditure this early “seems premature,” the Power Line Blog observes in an article headlined “Another Michael Steele Spending Spree.”

The site points out that Republicans do not yet have a convention manager or an arrangements committee chairman, and critics worry that spending decisions being made now may limit “the choices available to the eventual nominee about how to stage the convention.”

Steele named Belinda Cook, his former assistant, as liaison to the convention. She is being paid $15,000 a month in salary and a bonus of $25,000, The Washington Times disclosed.

The GOP also is paying rent on a waterfront property in Treasure Island, Fla., that Cook is using. Cook’s son also reportedly is on the RNC payroll.

Doug Heye, the RNC’s communications director, said the early spending has given Republicans a chance to make key arrangements, such as booking hotel space.

But the spending “may have something to do with the fact that Steele’s term as RNC head expires in January,” Power Line Blog noted.

“His excessive early spending on the convention, some of which is going to a crony, is viewed by critics as his parting act of financial irresponsibility.”

Steele has not said whether he will seek another term as RNC chairman, the Post reported, but some prominent party leaders, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, have called for him to be replaced.

Editor's Note:



2. Representatives Will Sleep in Office — Literally

Come January, the House will have 94 new members, and at least 15 percent plan to sleep in their congressional offices rather than rent living space in pricey Washington.

“With voters again shunning Washington and fiscal excess, a number of incoming House members plan to demonstrate their scorn for both by camping out near their new desks,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Rep.-elect Todd Rokita, an Indiana Republican, said he decided to sleep in his office after he was shown a 600-square-foot studio renting for $2,000 a month. Most House members earn $174,000 a year but maintain homes in their districts.

Rep.-elect Clarke Hansen, a Michigan Democrat, is another newcomer planning to bed down by his desk.

“I don’t want to be comfortable in Washington because I need to get back to metro Detroit,” he said. “Businesses are struggling right now. Families are struggling. I’m only in Washington to work.”

Rep. Pete Hoekstra is one veteran congressman familiar with the sleeping-in-office routine. The Michigan Republican has camped out on a couch by his desk a few nights a week since 1993. He declined to run for re-election this year to launch an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, but his successor, Republican Bill Huizenga, has heard from hundreds of constituents who expect him to follow Hoekstra’s lead, according to The Journal.

“I think back home there’s a sense of frugality and sort of a Spartan element that this isn’t a place where you’re going to call home and get too comfortable,” he said.

House members are supplied with desks, file cabinets, tables, and chairs for their three-room suites in three House office buildings. They can sleep on a government-issue couch, but they must supply their own air mattresses or cots.

One new congressman who won’t sleep in his office is Steve Womack, an Arkansas Republican. He said: “I don’t think my staff wants to see me in my pajamas.”

Editor's Note:



3. Mark Foley Weighing a Return to Politics

Mark Foley, who resigned from the U.S. House in a brouhaha in 2006, reportedly is considering a run for local office in Florida — and he won’t rule out seeking a return to Congress.

Foley, first elected to the House in Florida in 1994, resigned in September 2006 following disclosures that he had sent inappropriate and sometimes explicit messages to former congressional pages.

Multiple investigations concluded Foley had never engaged in improper acts with the pages.

Since returning to private life, Foley has gone into the real estate business in Palm Beach County, Fla., and hosted a local radio show.

Now The Palm Beach Post is reporting that Foley may enter the wide-open race for mayor in West Palm Beach. The current mayor is term-limited.

Foley “has shown interest but has said he probably will wait until the Dec. 27 deadline to decide,” according to the Post.

Foley said: “I do have the luxury that I can be the last man to file if I choose to, and still have the name ID.”

But Foley is “still unsure whether he wants to give up his private life and face public scrutiny,” the Post observed.

However, when Javier Manjarres of the Shark Tank website asked him whether he will make a run for Congress again, Foley stated: “My passion has always been in D.C.,” adding: “I have never closed a door that I wasn’t able to reopen.”

Foley still has about $1.3 million in his federal congressional campaign account, which he can use only for federal elections, Manjarres noted, so “Foley has the means to mount a comeback.”

Editor's Note:



4. Mexican Drug War Murders Top 10,000 This Year

The death toll in Mexico’s cartel-related drug wars has exceeded 10,000 for this year — with nearly half of the murders occurring in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

As of Nov. 19, the toll stood at 10,514, according to the Mexican newspaper Reforma. Given that the number of killings averaged 230 a week in the past two months, the total could reach 12,000 by the end of the year.

That figure is about twice the number of American military fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan for the entire duration of the two wars, according to CNSNews.

Reforma’s tally includes the murders of police officers and members of the military engaged in battles with drug cartel members. It also includes the murders of 800 people tortured before they were killed, and more than 300 decapitations.

More than 65 people have been killed in the past eight weeks alone in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, most of them in Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, Texas. Murders in the U.S.-Mexico border region account for 46 percent of the total deaths.

Confrontations between law enforcement officers and drug traffickers often result in shootouts that claim the lives of innocent bystanders, according to the U.S. State Department.

Since 2006, “Large firefights have taken place in towns and cities in many parts of Mexico, often in broad daylight on streets and other public venues,” the State Department said.

“During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area.”

Editor's Note:



5. Roger Stone: Oust Sen. Lugar for a ‘Real Conservative’

Veteran GOP political strategist Roger Stone says longtime Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar has “drifted left” and should face a primary challenge from a conservative.

Noting that The New York Times has called Lugar a conservative, Stone writes on his StoneZone website that “there is little in his record to indicate this. Richard Lugar has always been a ‘moderate’ Republican and has drifted further left as time goes by.”

While calling Lugar, who was first elected in 1976, a “dedicated public servant,” Stone states: “Thirty years in the Senate is enough. The election of Dan Coats to the Senate from Indiana is proof the state can sustain the election of a real conservative.”

Stone says Lugar is “defying” the GOP on an earmarks ban, a bill creating a path to citizenship for some illegal aliens, a military spending bill, and the START pact with Russia.

“Clearly it is time for Senator Lugar to face a Republican primary,” Stone concludes. “Lugar says he welcomes such a challenge. Let the people decide.”

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard . . .

THAT Sen. Joe Lieberman makes no bones about his favorite cable TV network: Fox.

Speaking with radio host Don Imus on Monday, the independent Democrat from Connecticut praised CNN for refusing to accept the State Department cables that WikiLeaks released.

“I give CNN and whoever else turned it down credit for doing that,” Lieberman said.

Imus chimed in: “I hate CNN and I wish you hadn’t brought that up.”

Lieberman replied: “I’m sorry about that. It just happened. But of course, really, Fox Business is my favorite and Fox generally, anything Rupert Murdoch owns.”

Murdoch heads News Corp., Fox’s parent company.

THAT Dr. Laura Schlessinger has signed a multi-year deal to do a daily show with Sirius XM Radio — three months after her use of a racial epithet led her to quit her current contract with a national syndicator.

“Dr. Laura” will be a live call-in show airing for three hours on weekdays, with repeats on the weekend, beginning on Jan. 3, The New York Times reported.

“I am so overjoyed to be in an arena where I can expand my format, where it’s uncensored, where they reward true free speech,” she said.

In August, Schlessinger drew criticism after she used a racial epithet 11 times in a conversation with a black woman caller. Within a week Schlessinger announced that she would not renew her syndicated show’s contract, which expires at the end of this year.

THAT conservative radio talk show host and best-selling nonfiction author Michael Savage is venturing into the realm of fiction with two thrillers from St. Martin’s Press.

The first novel will arrive in August 2011, according to St. Martin’s Publisher Matthew Shear.

“My fictionalized account of being banned from Britain and hunted by overbearing governments is set in the San Francisco only I know,” Savage said.

“This will be my most exciting book yet.”

Shear said in a statement: “Michael Savage is one of the most influential voices in American politics. His radio show, his website and his best-selling nonfiction books are hugely popular and widely quoted. What I didn’t know before — but see clearly now — is he has that same ability to fashion a good, action-packed thriller that is sure to please his legions of fans.”

The latest best-seller from the host of “The Savage Nation” is “Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama's Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security.”

Editor's Note:



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