Saturday, March 10, 2007

Joe's Latest Antics Don't Help the Auto Companies

I found this blog through my Google alerts -- I have no idea who the author is, but he makes some good points about how Joe's latest antics actually hurt the Big 3 more than they help them. Enjoy:

Joe won't win any Oscars for this performance

Take a look at Laura Berman's column in today's Detroit News:

Joe used to be a pretty quiet guy, but now he's shouting out his message on billboards. Winning by only 5% in November has put a scare into him and he's coming out of his shell -- giving speeches, appearing on TV, voting with the Democrats on an energy bill.....

Yes, it may seem on the surface that Joe has changed his tune on energy now that he's voted with the Democrats and is talking openly about alternative energy sources, but is this reallly how he feels or is he just acting to try to convince the voters he's wised up? I think we know the answer to that, don't we? Joe doesn't want to take a chance on losing in '08, so's he's saying things he thinks will appeal to the voters in the 9th even if he doesn't really believe them.

He can't on the one hand say we need alternative fuel sources, electric cars, hybrids, fuel cells, etc. and then say we shouldn't increase fuel standards or hike gasoline taxes. Duh! Don't those go hand-in-hand? If we make all of the changes to our cars that he says we should make, fuel economy will automatically go up, won't it?

The only thing worse than a Joe Knollenberg who votes with Bush almost 100% of the time is a Joe Knollenberg who pretends to have changed his tune when all he's doing is acting out of fear of losing his seat by voting the way he thinks the people want him to vote until he's got a majority back in the House (which probably won't happen for a while), at which time he'll go back to being the same old Joe. You can fool some of the people......

Oakland County voters aren't stupid -- they can see right through this charade.

Joe Knollenberg Votes AGAINST Clean Water

Joe Knollenberg has the audacity to call himself an environmentalist, but his votes show otherwise.

Last week, Joe Knollenberg voted AGAINST Clean Water!
Heck, he even voted NO in an attempt to block Congress from voting on the issue at all!

Joe Knollenberg voted NO on HR 720 which was a bill that would authorize EPA to make grants to provide:
  • technical assistance to rural and small municipalities for wastewater infrastructure financing; and
  • technical assistance and training for rural and small publicly owned treatment works.
The Statute revised eligibility requirements for grants for sewage collection systems; and state water pollution control revolving fund provisions. Requires states to: (1) establish a list of revolving fund projects that prioritizes water quality improvement projects; and (2) provide financial assistance to only projects on such lists.

Gasp! Legislation that required prioritizing how to improve water quality! Oh my. Such good government must be offensive to someone like Joe. Otherwise, why would he oppose such legislation??

Why does Joe Knollenberg want to help polluters?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Knollenberg Lies About Lobbyists!

Joe Knollenberg is a liar.

I don't generally call people liars. If you look at past posts you will see I say things like, "he has an aversion to the truth" or "he must not know any better" or "he must be misguided".

But at some point, when one tells this many untruths -- there is no other way to categorize him -- he is a liar.

Knollenberg just sent out another campaign brochure (but made taxpayers pay the postage) and this time it says he is trying to reform Washington and the lobbyist culture.


  • 1994. Knollenberg voted against restricting lobbyists from giving gifts, vacations, etc.

    In a way it is true -- he is reforming the way Congressmen and lobbyists interact -- it used to be that lobbyists were on the outside looking in --but Joe Knollenberg keeps his lobbyists closer -- Knollenberg hires lobbyists for his Chief of Staff. His current lobbyist Chief of Staff is Washington DC lobbyist Trent Wisecup. His former Chief of Staff is Lobbyist Paul Welday.

    This isn't a fluke either. Knollenberg has had 2 lobbyists for Chiefs of Staff in the past few years. We have already written about Knollenberg's propensity to put line items in legislation to set aside federal funds for his campaign donors.

    Here is the truth about how Joe interacts with Lobbyists:

  • Knollenberg's Chief of Staff, Trent Wisecup, is a Washington DC lobbyist

  • Knollenberg's former Chief of Staff, Paul Welday is a lobbyist

  • Knollenberg put a line item in a bill that set aside $8 million that he was mandating that AMTRAK pay to one of his largest campaign donors. (This is called "earmarking" funds.)

  • Knollenberg was a key obstructionist who blocked efforts to make public the earmarks that Congress puts in spending bills -- Joe doesn't want you to know which ones of his campaign donors he puts millions of dollars of federal funds aside for.

  • More links showing just how hard Joe worked to keep earmarks from being reformed: Here at this conservative website, here at this conservative website, here is an article by the conservative pundit Bob Novak, here,

Watch here to see Joe speak out against any restrictions or changes in the earmarks he makes for his friends.

Oh. And back in 2002 when Congress was trying to pass campaign finance reform -- which is in large part necessary due to the money that lobbyists put in the pockets of incumbent Congressional members -- Knollenberg tried to stop the legislation and when he couldn't he filled it with loopholes. Here is an excerpt from an article in The New Republic:
When Congress finally passed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill
last month, Republicans were all but unanimous in charging that it would never
work, that it was riddled with loopholes that would shift money to the darkest
corners of politics. "Reformers claim this bill will increase disclosure and
shine the light on big money in politics. This is, of course, not true," warned
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. "Let me be clear, Mr. Speaker," explained
Michigan Representative Joe Knollenberg, "I support real reform with no
loopholes and full disclosure--not just lip service to reform." Having thus had
their say, Knollenberg's House brethren this week hopped down off their high horses and got to work widening loopholes and squelching disclosure. Specifically, they tried to relax disclosure requirements in the most shadowy corner of the campaign finance world--so-called "stealth" PACs, or 527s, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. (The phony "Republicans for Clean Air" PAC that sandbagged John McCain to the tune of $2.5 million during the 2000 GOP primaries was of this breed.) These are precisely the groups whose influence is likely to grow once campaign finance reform takes effect next year, making disclosure all the more important. Nonetheless, the House GOP sought to exempt some 527s from the stringent disclosure requirements of federal law if they instead file reports at the state level, where campaign finance laws are often flimsy. The effort failed when 25 House Republicans broke ranks to vote
with the Democrats. But given the longtime GOP position that the way to fix
campaign finance is not contribution limits but rather full, fast disclosure,
you'd think their colleagues wouldn't have minded a bit more paperwork in the
name of "real reform." Unfortunately, you'd have been wrong.

Oh. And here are some more examples of where Joe voted NO on reforming earmarks and reforming lobbyist rules: HR 4, January 2007; Floor Debate, June 2006. As you can see, the evidence is overwhelming that Joe Knollenberg has opposed reforms that would restrict his ability to give earmarks to his friends.

Next time, we will talk about HAWAII JOE Knollenberg's propensity to accept gifts and expensive luxurious vacations from lobbyists.

Joe Doesn't think Iraq is even an issue

Joe has a pretty new web site, but when I visited his issues page today, 3/9/07, guess what, Iraq isn't even mentioned. Joe is so busy attacking Arnold with his big billboard, he doesn't even have time to think about the biggest issue facing America.
No wonder Joe won't meet with constituents about Iraq. He doesn't think it's important enough to talk about on his web site. I guess he thinks if he doesn't mention it, it will go away and people will forget his undying support for President Bush's failed war and the more than 3000 American deaths, over 20,000 injuries, the squalid conditions at Walter Reed and the other VA hospitals around the country, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives lost and the millions that have had to flee their own country to escape the death squads. If I were Joe, I might not mention Iraq on my web site, come to think of it.

Poor Joe just can't get his facts straight on CAFE

An article in the Oakland Press on March 9 launches Joe's campaign against raising corporate CAFE standards. Apparently Joe, like his conservative friends that like to ignore science, think that backward thinking can help the auto industry. Had the Big 3 kept pace with the foreign manufacturers, they wouldn't be in the state they're in. Joe thinks that selling gas hog trucks and SUV's can help our economy. While that may be true in the short run, a real leader thinks long term and Joe is no leader.

According to the Union for Concerned Scientists, the United States could create 200,000 jobs by adopting higher CAFE standards, not to mention helping to save the planet for our grandchildren. Read the full report here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Knollenberg Updated His Website (Finally) -- but STILL Doesn't List IRAQ As an Issue!

Joe Knollenberg finally updated his website.

Apparently he doesn't have much to say because it is now mostly pictures.

But more importantly, he STILL doesn't even list IRAQ as an "issue".

Other "problems" with his website:

Knollenberg supports privitizing Social Security (but doesn't mention that on his website)
  • Knollenberg calls himself an "environmentalist" but can't point to a single "environmental" vote -- he votes for polluters, not the planet
  • Unlike most Americans, Knollenberg OPPOSES universal healthcare (but he doesn't mention that on his website)

We will cover these and more in detail over the coming weeks.

Apparently Joe Knollenberg has an aversion to the truth.

Stay tuned.

We will give you the real story of Joe Knollenberg.

Then you can read how he spins it and see who you trust.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Knollenberg Keeps His Friends Close & His Lobbyists Closer

No Wonder Knollenberg Opposes Negotiating Drug Prices

For Medicare & Opposes Importing Drugs

Knollenberg's Chief of Staff is a Washington, D.C. Lobbyist
As noted in a previous post, Joe Knollenberg's Chief of Staff, Trent Wisecup, is a Washington, D.C. Lobbyist!

Apparently Joe lives by the adage of keep your friends close and your lobbyist closer!

And Wisecup isn't just any lobbyist, he was one of the key lobbyist's for the big Pharmacuetical companies during the debates over the Medicare prescription drug plan.

Knollenberg Supported a Bill That Made Senior Drugs MORE Expensive!
The Democrats wanted to allow Medicare to be able to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors -- just like Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. But Republican's like JOE KNOLLENBERG OPPOSED using such a fiscally responsible approach.

Instead, Joe Knollenberg supported a Medicare drug benefit that allows pharmaceutical companies to charge Seniors the maximum price -- far more than what they would pay if the prices were negotiated.

Knollenberg has also consistently voted against allowing Seniors and other Americans to import their medicine from Canada even though it could save them thousands of dollars a year.

Knollenberg's Chief of Staff Was Lobbyist For Big Drug Companies
It all became clear once we learned that Knollenberg's current Chief of Staff (who was also a staffer before he became a lobbyist) was a lobbyist for the big drug companies that were opposing having to negotiate their drug prices with Medicare.

In fact, the firm that Wisecup worked for brags about this on their website.

Apparently, Wisecup was behind the lobbying campaign that kept the Medicare Rx Bill from allowing Seniors to save money by importing their medication from Canada.

Yes. Knollenberg's Chief of Staff was the lobbyist that ran the campaign opposing allowing the importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

Knollenberg Voted For Big PhaRMA and Against Seniors
So it is no real surprise to see that Knollenberg voted with Big PhaRMA (and his lobbyist friend) and against Seniors.

In fact, earlier this year the House voted on whether to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for Seniors -- Knollenberg voted NO!!!

Why does Joe Knollenberg insist on forcing Seniors to pay more for their prescriptions?

Why does Joe Knollenberg want to hurt our Seniors?

Haven't they given enough to this Country?

It seems that Mr. Wisecup isn't the first lobbyist Knollenberg has had on staff.
In fact, Knollenberg's previous Chief of Staff was a lobbyist too. Paul Welday was Knollenberg's former Chief of Staff and he is now involved in a controversy at the Oakland County Commission because many Commissioners believe that the County shouldn't be paying Welday $50,000 to be a lobbyist for the Commission. They believe that the Commissioners themselves are able to handle any lobbying efforts necessary.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Knollenberg's Chief of Staff is a Washington DC Lobbyist!

We've already reported on some of Joe Knollenberg's close ties with powerful Washington DC lobbyists.

It turns out he isn't just "close" to them. He has them on his staff!

Joe Knollenberg's Chief of Staff is a Washington DC Lobbyist!!

Knollenberg's Chief of Staff is Trent Wisecup. (We believe in full disclosure so we think it is important to note that he has been posting comments here under the initials "TLW". )

A quick review of some records shows that Mr. Wisecup is a Washington Lobbyist.

Here is a copy of a filing with the U.S. Senate's Lobbyist Disclosure program.

Mr. Wisecup was with the firm "D.C. Navigators". Apparently they knew how to navigate through the halls of Congress -- with the help of Congressman like Joe Knollenberg.
Heck -- on their own website they have a picture of the White House with the caption "Policy Development". Does that mean they develop policy for the White House? Gosh. Lobbyists who develop policy for BUSH & KNOLLENBERG -- now on-staff -- now getting a taxpayer funded salary! That is cozy.

Some of the clients of Wisecup's firm have included:
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
AgustaWestland North America Inc.
American Bankers Association
American Council of Life Insurers
American Immigration Lawyers Association
American Insurance Association
American International Group, Inc.
American Vantage Media
Association for Advanced Life Underwriting
Assurant Group
British Nuclear Fuels
California Manufacturers and Technology Association
Californians for Clean, Affordable, Safe Energy
Caruso Affiliated Inc.
Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers
Dickstein & Zerbi
Fannie Mae
Farallon Capital Management
Financial Services Coordinating Council
Fisher Scientific
Hartford Insurance Brokers and Agents of the West
Jefferson Pilot Financial
Mass Mutual
Mutual of Omaha
New York Jets
Pfizer Inc.
PG&E Corporation
Securities Industry Association
Sutter Health
Tyco International (US) Inc.
UnumProvident Corporation
Visa USA Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Gee. There are a lot of financial service companies on that list -- like VISA, and banking interests, etc. Those were the folks whose lobbyists were successful at getting the bankruptcy laws changed so that individuals have a much harder time getting their debts discharged in bankruptcy than Corporations!
Knollenberg's Chief of Staff was a lobbyist for those interests.

Knollenberg voted to support the new bankruptcy laws.
Any connection there?

Culture of Corruption
As this article in "The Hill" points out -- Republican lobbyists have a vested and financial interest in making certain that Republicans get elected to office. Apparently, the more Republicans in office, the more influence they have and thus the more clients they get and the more money they make.

Of course one of the most famous lobbyists is the indicted felon, Jack Abramoff. He certainly made millions off of having Republicans in Congress that he could influence for his clients.

Knollenberg Consistently Votes To Slash Funding For Veterans

With the shameful condition that seriously wounded Iraq veterans are being subjected to at Walter Reed and other military facilities, it is important to remember just who is responsible for slashing the budgets of these critical veteran services.

Joe Knollenberg is one of the Bush/Cheney team that have sent troops in harms way in Iraq, while failing to adequately fund their care after they return.

This isn't really a new issue -- it has been an issue for years -- it is just now getting more attention as more and more of our troops are getting seriously wounded in Iraq.

And the cost of adquate funding isn't exactly a mystery. The Congressional Budget Office has studied it and reported on the matter to Congress. But Joe Knollenberg still voted to underfund the VA.

More specifically, here are some of Knollenberg's votes against the troops:

Knollenberg Voted Against the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act
Joe Knollenberg voted to maintain the “widow’s tax” on benefits received by survivors of their husbands and wives killed in service. Over 50,000 American families whose loved one was killed in Iraq are now living at or below the poverty line. But the government continues to impose a “widow’s tax” on survivors. After putting money into the Survivor Benefit Plan—sometimes for decades—the government offsets VA survivor compensation by keeping SBP money, then returning the paid premium as taxable income.
In May 2006, Congressman John Salazar moved to add the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act to the 2007 defense bill. Joe Knollenberg voted against removing this unfair penalty on military widows. [HR 5122, Vote #144, 5/11/2006]

Knollenberg Voted for an Increase in Pharmacy Co-Pays for Military Families
Knollenberg voted to kill an amendment to the FY 07 Department of Defense Authorization bill that would remove the Bush administration’s proposal to increase pharmacy co-pays for military families.
Currently, military families who purchase their drugs through a retail pharmacy have a co-pay of $3 for generic drugs and $9 for brand-name drugs. However, the bill would raise those co-pays to $6 for generic drugs and $16 for brand-name drugs, as proposed in President Bush’s budget. The Democratic amendment sought to remove the provision increasing the co-pays and to leave the co-pays at their current level. [HR 5122, Vote #139, 5/11/06]

Knollenberg Voted for a FY 2007 Budget That Hurts America’s Veterans
For the FY2007 budget, Knollenberg supported a Republican budget resolution that cut funding for veterans’ appropriated programs by $6 billion below the level that CBO estimates is needed to maintain current services.
Additionally, the Republican budget resolution included significant increases in TRICARE costs for military retirees under 65. In fact, healthcare fees will triple for retired officers, double for retired senior enlisted personnel, and increase by 40 percent for junior enlisted retirees. [HCR 376, Vote #158, 5/18/2006]

So while JOE KNOLLENBERG says he supports the troops -- in fact he slashes funding for important veteran programs every time he gets the chance.

And these are just a few of his votes over the last year!

There are more votes -- and for each one, JOE KNOLLENBERG VOTES AGAINST OUR TROOPS!

Has Knollenberg EVER even visited any troops at Walter Reed? There is no evidence that he ever has. So Knollenberg is willing to send young men and women to war where they may die or suffer serious debilitating injuries -- but then he votes to cut funding to care for them when they return. That could only be considered negligent or just plain cruel.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Give Joe Credit Where Credit's Due

Giving Credit Where It’s Due
By Nancy Greggs

If you’re out of work because your government made it financially worthwhile for US companies to outsource your job to a cheaper labor market, THANK JOE.

If your son/daughter in the military is in a combat zone without sufficient equipment or training, THANK JOE.

If your war-wounded spouse is a war vet tied up in endless red tape and can’t get medical treatment or disability payments, THANK JOE.

If a loved one died in NOLA for want of food, water, medicine, or assistance of any kind in the aftermath of Katrina, THANK JOE.

If you’re upset that New Orleans was left in ruins while we could afford to build a billion-dollar embassy in Baghdad, THANK JOE.

If the cost of your life-saving prescription medicine has skyrocketed, even to the point where you can’t afford it at all, THANK JOE.

If you lose sleep at night worrying about the national debt your children and grandchildren will have to pay off in the decades to come, THANK JOE.

If you’re concerned about the fact that we don’t have the necessary funds to overhaul our crumbling infrastructure, THANK JOE.

If you’re worried about rising numbers in the incidents of homelessness and poverty, THANK A JOE.

If you’ve had to declare bankruptcy, but you still owe your soul to credit card companies, THANK JOE.

If you’ve noticed that you’re continually getting gouged at the pump even though oil companies are raking in record profits, THANK JOE.

If you’re angry at the fact that you have to go through intensive screening at the airport to board a plane with a hold full of uninspected cargo, THANK JOE.

If you wonder why hard-working middle-class citizens have to pay their full share of taxes while wealthy individuals and corporations don’t have to pay their fair share, THANK JOE.

If you wonder why investigations into government corruption always seem to get stopped in their tracks, THANK JOE.

If you think it unseemly that fabrications and outright lies are permitted to be broadcast as unqualified fact, THANK JOE.

If you worry about your kids getting sick from tainted food that should have been inspected but wasn’t, THANK JOE.

If you’re concerned that religious fanatics have too much influence over your government, THANK JOE

If you’re troubled by the erosion of your rights and freedoms and see that as an assault on democracy, THANK JOE.

If you are appalled by excuse-making and passing-the-buck having replaced accountability, THANK JOE.

If you have realized that the American Dream is now out-of-reach for millions of citizens, that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing at an alarming rate, that elections are no longer a matter of the will of the people but the whim of those who control the voting machines, that a nation that was once a Beacon of Democracy is now a nation that tortures, that the democratic country you were born and raised in is now indistinguishable from the worst dictatorship, that the Constitution is now treated as an antiquated document of no meaning, and that the country your ancestors fought and died for is no longer recognizable …

… don’t forget to THANK JOE.

Major Legislation Sponsors: Knollenberg's Name is Nowhere To Be Found

I was researching more campaign financing information on Joe Knollenberg when I stumbled across a page that encourages you to check and see what major pieces of legislation your Congressman has sponsored or co-sponsored.

I clicked to see what major legislation Joe had sponsored or co-sponsored -- and there wasn't any!! (Click on the image to the right to view a larger image of the page.)

Sad, but true.

Why does he make over $160,000 in taxpayer's money if he doesn't do anything?