As a bipartisan group of eight senators prepares to release a painstakingly-crafted bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill they think can needle its way through the political and procedural gauntlet in Washington, it seems that Texas' senior Senator John Cornyn and Republican Rep. Michael McCaul have been busy brainstorming ways to ensure that a comprehensive immigration plan doesn't get off the ground.
On a conference call this week, Cornyn and McCaul indicated that certain (totally unrealistic) border security metrics would have to be met before they would contemplate a broader effort that includes a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the United States. They filed a bill, the Border Security Results Act, that they say would help the United States government achieve those metrics (I won't get into those metrics here).
Congressman Pete Gallego (TX-23), whose district shares the largest border with Mexico in the United States, slammed Cornyn and McCaul for their proposal:
"With about 800 miles of Texas-Mexico border in the district, I know the border impacts every part of our state. I'm hopeful that this bill is a good faith effort to move forward and not an attempt to build another wall between immigrants and the American dream.
"Voters made it clear in November that Congress must act on real immigration reform now - and not a sham packaged as progress. Small businesses, chambers, and families across our state are counting on it.
"Reducing border wait times is something for which businesses and border lawmakers have long advocated. I'm glad our senior senator is now onboard. He can do much to allocate the resources to make reduced wait times possible."
Congressman Gallego's statement is right on target. It's too early to be drawing lines in the sand on immigration reform.
Tawana Cadien is a poised and polished candidate, and the only Democrat actively campaigning in CD-10. We endorse her in the Democratic primary as the strongest opposition to Michael McCaul.
Two Democrats filed to run against Michael McCaul's millions this November, Tawana Cadien and William Miller. Miller is apparently no longer actively campaigning and will defer to Cadien. Cadien is a registered nurse and Democratic activist who is running on job security and healthcare access.
At a recent forum, she was poised, polished, and impressive. This district was drawn to coddle McCaul (and -- let's be honest -- save his father-in-law, CEO of ClearChannel, the millions needed to wage a brutal campaign) but we are pleased that Democrats Cadien and Miller have stepped up to give voters an alternative in November.
We think Cadien will represent the Democratic Party well on the campaign trail. We endorse her in the Democratic primary for CD-10.
Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.
Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul is really good at abusing government resources and really bad at giving fist bumps.
Last Friday, McCaul posted an unlisted video titled "00001" on his official congressional YouTube account, which links to his House website. The video features McCaul hosting a "DC by Southwest" event. McCaul stands on stage fondling a Shiner while praising country singer Jack Ingram, also on stage, for his recent success. He then hops on a guitar and strums along to a couple of songs with Ingram.
That's it. The video has absolutely no governmental, or even political content. Why did McCaul post this video on his government account?
This is a clear abuse of government resources. If anything, this video is the hokey content a politician would put on his or her campaign account. It has no place on McCaul's official congressional account, alongside videos of McCaul on the House floor. McCaul has a long history of ethics violations - like engaging in insider trading before voting against it, using taxpayer dollars for a donor event, and receiving inappropriate confidential information in his capacity as a congressman.
McCaul also made himself look like a fool by missing a fist bump with Ingram - three times.
Here's the epic fist bump fail, and below the jump, "00001" itself. The government resource abuse and the fist bump both need resolution.
More negative fallout from the San Antonio panel's gerrymandered five-way split of Travis County: Austin-based foreign policy expert Dan Grant is no longer running against incumbent Republican Michael McCaul. The initial interim maps by the San Antonio panel made the 10th Congressional District a legitimate toss-up. That map drew out Tomball and added a chunk of southern Williamson County. Grant had a legitimate shot of winning, which clearly made McCaul nervous, as the Republican submitted his own version of an alternate map that was much safer for him.
However, the San Antonio panel's revised, Abbott-and-MALDEF-approved non-compromise maps hacked Travis into five districts, and made the 10th even more Republican than it is now. The district would have been a tough uphill climb at R+13 even for Grant, a strong campaigner with broad support and a populist message.
The new CD-10: West Austin, Central Austin, Tomball, Houston, and points in between.
In a statement released by his campaign, Grant said, "In the latest version of Congressional maps the 10th District has been redrawn to solidly protect Congressman McCaul. This latest iteration of CD-10 is the same as in the illegal map drafted by the Republican-controlled state legislature last year whose primary goal was to disenfranchise minority voters, dilute Democratic voting strength, and protect Republican incumbents."
Grant's campaign had done an excellent job bringing national attention to McCaul's massive and frequent ethical lapses, from engaging in insider trading before voting to ban it, to hosting schmooze-fests with fat cat one-percenters on the taxpayer's dime. It's very telling that McCaul, the second-richest and perhaps most out-of-touch member of Congress, was protected by Abbott & Friends in this process. But then again, maybe it was just a favor to McCaul's father-in-law.
Quality candidates like Grant don't come along that often, and given that his wife gave birth to their second child just a few weeks ago, it is understandable that Grant doesn't want to spend the next 10 months away from his family, toiling in an unwinnable race. We wish Dan and his campaign staff the best of luck as they figure out their next steps.
One would think that since Republican Congressman Michael McCaul serves on the House Ethics Committee, he wouldn't be constantly dogged by accusations of ethical misconduct. While his violations may not break the law, they certainly don't pass the smell test. Here's a run-down of recent revelations about Michael McCaul's unethical behaviors.
Michael McCaul Engaged In Insider Trading Before He Voted to Ban It
This is just sloppy. Michael McCaul bought TransCanada stock -- the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline -- the day before he urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to approve the project. Then, McCaul sponsored the STOCK Act to ban the exact kind of insider trading he engaged in!
Here's the timeline:
December 21st, 2010 -- Michael McCaul purchased as much as $65,000 in TransCanada stock. [LINK] (Warning, opens PDF)
December 22nd, 2010 -- McCaul sent a letter to the Secretary of State urging approval of TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline project. [LINK]
January 31st, 2012 -- McCaul became a co-sponsor of the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act
McCaul clearly was feeling the heat when he sponsored the STOCK Act, a law that had languished in Congress for six years. Suddenly in this era of public outrage over income inequality, McCaul's blatant greed and subservience to the 1% is a much greater political liability.
According to a press release from challenger Dan Grant's campaign, McCaul has also been advocating publicly on behalf of TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline for over a year while having investments worth as much as $1 million in at least 9 companies who could benefit from the project.
In an interview with KVUE, Grant stated, "You shouldn't be going to Congress to support legislation that profits you personally. That's the definition of insider trading, and it's deeply troubling."
Michael McCaul Withdrew from House Ethics Committee Investigation After Receiving Inappropriate Confidential Information
McCaul was one of the four Republicans on the House Ethics Committee who withdrew from an investigation of Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, due to questions swirling around his impartiality. Last July after allegations of bias by GOP members of the Ethics Committee, the panel was forced to hire an outside lawyer to investigate the committee and its handling of the Waters case.
According to Politico, two top Ethics Committee lawyers are accused of secretly communicating with Republicans on the panel investigating Waters. McCaul allegedly received confidential documents during the investigation of Rep. Charlie Rangel that he was not allowed to view. The documents would have apparently "so tained the proceedings that there would have been no option but to move to dismiss." The two attorneys who leaked the information were suspended from their jobs, and no longer work on the Ethics Commission. Of course, McCaul is right at the center of these ethical transgressions.
"Congressman McCaul should have known that it was inappropriate to review those confidential documents," said Campaign Manager Joe Hamill in a press statement. "This is another example of McCaul playing fast and loose with the ethical rules in Congress."
Michael McCaul Used Taxpayer Money to Host Event for High-Dollar Donors
Just yesterday, McCaul hosted an annual event at the Headliner's Club, which usually hosts posh fundraisers in a tony downtown high-rise. Last year, McCaul paid for the event from his officeholder account, raising questions about whether taxpayer dollars should be utilized to allow McCaul to visit intimately with some of his biggest donors.
Research by the Dan Grant campaign has unearthed documents demonstrating that McCaul receives thousands of dollars of donations from members and officers of the Headliners Club, many of whom attend his annual event. In fact, just in February 2011, McCaul received $5400 from current and past officers of the club. On the same day McCaul's office paid the Headliner's Club, he received $3000 from two then-current officers of the Headliner's Club.
"It's flatly wrong for McCaul to charge taxpayers for his private events at exclusive clubs with his biggest donors," challenger Dan Grant said in a press statement. "It's clear that he values schmoozing with his wealthy backers more than answering to the taxpayers who pay his salary. He needs to pay back what he owes and meet face-to-face with the people he claims to serve."
Engaging in insider trading before voting to ban it? Receiving confidential, prejudicial information in a House Ethics Commission investigation? Charging taxpayers to rub elbows with his biggest donors?
Michael McCaul is what's wrong with Congress, and he has to go.
For more information about Dan Grant, who is challenging McCaul in the 10th District, check out his website and Like him on Facebook.
In response to today's ruling from the United State's Supreme Court Supreme Court, 10th district Congressional candidate Dan Grant issued the following statement, emphasis mine:
"With continued uncertainty surrounding primary dates, district lines and a time line for when we will have definite answers, one thing is still clear: Texans deserve a voice in Congress that understands and fights for them. For years Michael McCaul has failed to be that voice. Our campaign will continue to work hard reaching out to Texans who want better than the status quo and who demand more than the self-serving politics of Michael McCaul."
Dan Grant, an Austin-based foreign policy expert, is a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Texas' 10th Congressional District against Rep. Michael McCaul.
Michael McCaul is one of the richest individuals in Congress, and represents the 1% more than the people of his Central Texas district. As we've previously reported, McCaul is on the most recent list of biggest water-wasters in the Austin area. McCaul is so out of touch with working people he didn't even seem to notice that his water bill had skyrocketed to almost 20 times that of the average Austin resident. McCaul previous made the list in 2009, ranking seventh of all utility customers for the water consumed by his 1.9-acre mansion. He claimed at the time that it was a leak in his sprinkler system, and that he had it fixed immediately. City records show, however, that the McCaul household water use had averaged around 100,000 gallons a month. The average Austin home uses 10,000 gallons a year.
While McCaul's neighbors continue blame leaky pipes, I don't know too many people who could just passively afford to keep paying so much, let alone squandering our most precious resources.
Dan Grant: won't waste all of our water and watches his own utility bills. Put that on a tee shirt!
Big news: today Dan Grant filed his paperwork to run for CD 10, the Central Texas congressional district currently held by Michael McCaul. Grant filed with the TDP for the iteration of CD 10 drawn by the San Antonio federal court. That district, which no longer includes uber-conservative Tom Ball Tomball in Harris County, is a pick-up opportunity for Democrats, who need to regain only 25 seats nationwide to retake the House of Representatives.
Grant's campaign released a statement today detailing his experience on foreign policy and national security, and his commitment to give working Texans a real voice in Congress. From the statement (reprinted in full below the jump):
Grant said he felt compelled to explore a run for Congress because the people of Central Texas need a Congressman who understands and who will look out for their best interests.
"Central Texans deserve a real voice in Congress. We deserve a voice that speaks up for our needs above the demands of wealthy special interests and Wall Street mega donors. For years it's been clear that millionaire Michael McCaul, the single richest member of Congress, is unable and unwilling to be that voice," Grant said. "I'll make sure the things that matter in Washington are the things that matter to families here in Texas."
They also put together this great video from an emphatic Grant, touching on the populist themes resonating nationwide:
Grant had previously announced that he was forming an exploratory committee for the previous incarnation of CD-25, which stretched from East Austin to Tarrant County, and had drawn 9 Republican primary candidates, including Michael "Bowtie" Williams. Once the San Antonio court redrew the maps, Grant began looking at CD-10, and decided it was worth contesting again, as he did in the 2008 primary.
Clearly, Grant isn't afraid of an uphill fight, and it's great to see the vigor and energy in him as he prepares to take on McCaul. While no one knows what incarnation of CD-10 Grant will be able to contest -- or when the maps will be set or primaries will be held -- the main question is whether a grassroots, citizen-driven effort to take back this seat can trump McCaul's millions of dollars. Michael McCaul's father-in-law is Lowry Mays, founder of Clear Channel Communications. McCaul is worth at least $287 million, and is currently the richest individual in Congress.
(I do not look forward to redistricting, but this is possible. - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)
In the Wednesday, Oct 20 edition of the Houston Chronicle, there is a front page article on the upcoming redistricting battle in Texas. Buried in the continuation on page A-14 is the first public indication I have seen about the situation I have been talking about ever since I entered the race.
Texas Republican Michael McCaul, the ranking member overseeing the ethics inquiry of Representative Charles Rangel of New York, failed to disclose stock transactions valued at millions of dollars on his annual financial report dating back to 2008.
A Roll Call analysis of McCaul's annual reports found the Texas Republican did not fully detail the 2008 sale of Clear Channel stocks owned by his spouse, including the date of the transaction.
McCaul spokesman Mike Rosen said Friday that the lawmaker believes he has filed accurate forms. But after his office reviewed the version of the story that appears in Monday's newspaper, McCaul released a statement Sunday that acknowledged the forms were wrong but blamed the errors on the accounting firm that prepares his report.
Amazing isn't it? Whenever these elected officials get caught having done something questionably unethical it is always someone else's fault and never their own. Congressman McCaul and his staff forget to mention of course that members of congress are required to certify their disclosure statements by signature. One would think that if you were going to put a signature to ethics forms that you would want to ensure that your forms are 100% accurate.
Of course, part of the reason Republican McCaul, the sixth richest individual in congress, might have wanted to keep his stock disclosure a bit hush-hush was because in 2009-2010 Clear Channel Media Holdings donated almost $35,000 dollars toward McCaul's congressional campaign coffers. Oh my, that's not good.
Roll Call also had this fascinating tidbit about McCaul:
The Texas lawmaker, who will rank sixth on Roll Call's upcoming annual survey of the richest Members of Congress with a minimum net worth of $73.75 million, has seen his fortunes sextuple since he filed his first financial disclosure report, which was for the 2004 calendar year.
So the Ranking Republican in Charlie Rangel's ethics inquisition has questionable ethics issues of his own. At a minimum McCaul should recuse himself from the investigation in light of this new information. Republican leaders should demand the same.
(For discussion. - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)
Today's Wall Street Journal has an article entitled: "The End of Management". It is a very interesting article that posits that the management techniques developed in the 20th Century by people to run large corporations are being obsoleted in the 21st Century, just as Sloan, Durant, Ford, Drucker, et. al. obsoleted the 19th Century artisan model of management. The author, Alan Murray, says we still don't know what the new model will be, but there are intimations in the rapid change in communications and connectedness. He illustrates with the examples that it took 38 years for radio to reach an audience of 50 million, television 13 years, internet only four years, the ipod three years, and Facebook two years to do the same.