Tag Archives: political corruption

The Sting of Rejection – Frank Guinta’s Public Shaming

Protesters at a Frank Guinta fundraiser chide him over his FEC investigation

Protesters from the Take Down Guinta campaign, 2012.

Sign Petition Calling on Guinta to Resign!

There’s no sting worse in politics than when your own party bites you on your soft-spot and right now Frank Guinta must be feeling some serious sting.  But of course, baby-face Frankie can’t say he didn’t bring it on himself.  Burdened with the load of his investigation by the Federal Election Commission and the embarrassment of his constant insistence on innocence, the GOP and their chorus, most notably the Union Leader, have broken their silence and come out demanding Guinta resign.

First, let’s not forget that this investigation more than likely occurred because of the pressure from good progressive activism such as CREDO supported Take Down Guinta campaign in 2012.  Activists have long asked why Frank Guinta had a sudden dump of $355,000 in his political action fund during the 2010 election for the first congressional seat.  At that time Guinta had refused to disclose the source of that money and other funds he “loaned” his election campaign as Jon Hopwood explains in a 2012 article on Guinta for the Examiner,

The loan, the terms of which Guinta refused to disclose during the campaign, triggered an FEC investigation.

That campaign loan was the reason Guinta was named one of the 10 most corrupt politicians in Congress, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). CREW cited Guinta as he had “fudged the numbers and cooked the books to buy a seat in Congress.”

The organization reported that Guinta had given his campaign loans of $100,000 and $245,000 despite having a $72,000 annual salary as mayor of Manchester and a relatively modest investment portfolio. Guinta made the loans without liquidating any assets.

And on the story goes with Guinta weaving a web of lies for years while the FEC slowly investigated his claims.  Now apparently Guinta has settled with the FEC.  We’re sure he hopes to move on in his political career and Frank’s wrongdoings will dissolve into the ether of the short American psyche.  That might be so but we’re thinking the GOP and their supporters may have other ideas.  Calls for him to resign have arisen from nearly every political corner:

Union Leader Editorial staff called for Guinta’s resignation Guinta Must Go and the refrain was repeated earily this week when Joe McQuaid publisher placed on the editorial page:

Ouch, that must hurt!

and Foster’s reports that the big boys aren’t happy either, Boehner Doesn’t Defend Guinta Over Contributions.  Then the Concord Monitor weighs in, To Best Serve the State, Guinta Must Step Down.

Oh yes and even the guys back home in the state house aren’t too thrilled about Frankie either, with House Speaker and long-time Republican Shawn Jasper observing, “I believe it would be in the best interests of the people of the first congressional district if he step down from his position in the United States Congress.”

Jeb Bradley, State Senate majority leader chimed in to the chorus telling the NY Times, “I think he’s on a really small island,” Mr. Bradley said. “I think the charges are serious and disturbing and at some point he needs to think about doing what’s better for New Hampshire than himself.”

NH’s largest television news station WMUR said they caught Kelly Ayotte on the phone, “Senator Ayotte, who is expected to face a tough re-election battle next year, has said she told Mr. Guinta by phone that he should step down. “This is a decision he needs to make, but if I were in his position, that’s what I would do.”

But unfortunately, the NH Republican Executive Committee chose to stand by Guinta, ignoring the cries for his resignation saying in a statement released to the press 3 days ago and reported by WMUR,

But the party executive committee, after speaking with Guinta by telephone for about a half-hour on Monday night, parted ways with the four top elected officials. It unanimously adopted a statement that did not call for Guinta’s resignation but instead said that he has acknowledged mistakes, “takes responsibility for them and is taking actions required by the Federal Election Commission.”

“Unless further information comes to light, the executive committee of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee will take no further action,” the committee said.

Frankie went on the tube to blather on about how he was humbled by the committee’s support and he’ll work on making things right, yeah yeah.

The fact remains that citizens of congressional district 1 in New Hampshire are stuck with a hollow man for their representative.  Apparently Frankie has no threshold of shame that would cause him to want to resign and live out of the public spotlight.

But that doesn’t mean people can’t fight back.  NH Labor News has put together a petition for citizens of the state to register their disgust that a criminal and a liar can stay in office to represent them in Washington.  Check out the petition and add your signature!

Petition: Congressman Guinta Should Resign Over FEC Violations

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Why We Need a 28th Amendment

by Sam Sholi

With Congress’ approval rating at a resoundingly low 9% amongst American citizens according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, it can be assumed that the American people have finally become conscious of the fact that the U.S’ political system, or at least those within it, no longer work in their interests.

Now that Congress is less popular than traffic jams, head lice, cockroaches and colonoscopies (according to the same survey), one can’t help but wonder what has driven Congress to appear so incompetent and to be subject to such an intense level of dissatisfaction amongst U.S citizens.

The answer is clear – the major influence of corporations, lobbyists, and wealthy campaign donors has resulted in ensuring that a vast number of American politicians are now nothing more than mouthpieces for the highest earners and biggest businesses in America. This problem is compounded by the U.S Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens United V Federal Electoral Commission in 2010, where it ruled corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people and therefore can make unlimited campaign contributions during election campaigns.

The Center for Responsive Politics (a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit research organization dedicated to tracking money in U.S politics and its effect on elections and public policy), cited that statistically, even in the most competitive cycles during congressional elections, on average the candidates who spend the most on their campaigns usually win eight of 10 Senate contests and nine of 10 House races. The evidence conclusively proves that the defining factor in deciding who sits in Congress no longer bears any relation to your ideology, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, or whether you are a liberal or conservative. It’s all about the money!

desjarnis rep pic

Rep. Desjarlis (R) Tennessee – a product of the system’s flaws

The effect of this has been disastrous. The fact that these politicians are predominantly elected because they can afford to run superior election campaigns means that sometimes American congressmen and senators will be elected despite being simply unfit to do their job. The most notable example of this being how last year Congressman Scott Desjarlais (TN, 4th District) was re-elected – a  Republican who was disgraced during last year’s congressional elections for having multiple mistresses and requesting one of them to have an abortion, despite running his campaign on being a pro-life, pro-family values candidate. Of course, Dejarlais spent more money than his rival for his seat.

The second problem that arises under this current system is the fact that several U.S politicians are no longer acting based on their own instincts, but for their donors. Is it really a coincidence that Gun rights groups have given more than $17 million in individual, PAC and soft money contributions to federal candidates and party committees since 1989, yet we still have failed to see any serious gun-control measures despite public outcry for it after every mass shooting in the last 25 years?

The only way to avoid this problem will be to introduce a 28th Constitutional amendment that not only overrules the decision in Citizens United, but also prevents an elite class of donors being able to exercise their current entitlement to effectively buy the country’s elections through excessively high campaign donations.  In order to achieve this, the amendment must contain a provision to make it illegal for corporations to directly or indirectly give money to any politician, and a provision which places a cap on the amount politicians can raise from any individual.

But if so many congressmen and senators are under the influence of corporate interests and wealthy donors, then why would they accept such an amendment? The answer is that they don’t have to. It is possible to bypass Congress. If two-thirds of the State legislatures (whose members are not as heavily influenced by money) call for a Constitutional Convention then it will become possible to pass the amendment.

civil rights marchers

The 1960’s civil rights movement – proving that unjust establishment practices can be brought to an end if the political will is there.

This presents a real opportunity for America to take back its democracy. But as was the case with the success of the 1960s civil rights movement amongst African-Americans, if this amendment is to be passed then there will need to be a movement with leaders (like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X) that can inspire a mass movement of people to stand up for that change.

But in order for that to happen, America must first undergo a revolution of consciousness and wake up to the fact that a vote at the ballot cannot compensate for the erosion of a democracy.

Sam Sholi is currently studying law in a university in the United States

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