Saturday, September 30, 2006

Schwarz Files FEC Complaint

It's been a busy week in my personal, non-blogging life, so there are a few brief posts coming today. If you're interested in ensuring timely reporting of 7th District-related events and Tim Walberg (R) and his radical conservative policies, e-mail me if you'd like to start blogging.

From a few days ago, emptywheel has a diary on Michigan Liberal about Congressman Joe Schwarz filing a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission about Tim Walberg and his questionable relationship with the Club for Growth. Quoting from an AP article:

The FEC complaint contends the Club for Growth coordinated expenditures from its political action committee and 527 organization, listing common political strategists and pollsters who were paid by the Club for Growth, Walberg and three other campaigns: Senate candidate Steve Laffey in Rhode Island, and congressional candidates Sharron Angle in Nevada and Bill Sali in Idaho.
It's up to the FEC to decide if Walberg and his allies violated election laws. However, it is worth pointing out that some of the Club for Growth's ads (thanks to the Adrian Insider) followed Tim Walberg's talking points pretty closely.

Read the whole article, and make up your own mind. Frankly, even if there weren't any violations of the law, the fact that groups like the Club for Growth support Walberg is enough to give Sharon Renier my support.

On another, completely nonpolitical note, I'd like to express my sympathy for former State Rep. Walberg, whose grandson passed away last Sunday following complications from a three-month premature birth (Battle Creek Enquirer; again, via the Adrian Insider). While I might have harsh words for Mr. Walberg's politics, this sort of tragedy is tough for any family to work through. If you're religious, consider including Walberg and his family in your prayers.

If I may, I'd like to also say that I'm disappointed with the Battle Creek Enquirer's Andy Rathbun for using Walberg's grandchildren's health as justification for Walberg's political positions, just as I'd be disgusted if someone were to use them to attack Walberg. There should be a line drawn between what should and should not be used in political discussions. Family members-- especially grandchildren-- are decidedly on the "should not" side.

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I completely agree that Walberg's family should be off limits. When I read that article in the Enquirer though, I got the impression that the candidate brought up the issue to make a point about health care. I don't think a reporter could make a leap like that. Maybe I misread the article, maybe someone could contact Mr. Rathbun and ask him to clarify, but if my reading of it was correct, you should apologize to Mr. Rathbun.
Upon rereading Rathbun's editorial, I have to say I might have overreacted a bit. I'm not certain that I owe him an apology-- all I said was that I was disappointed-- but I ought to clarify and say that Mr. Rathbun was merely using health care as an example of "hands-off government", and that Walberg's family wasn't the main focus of the article.

I may be wrong, but I read the article as Rathbun making the connection on his own, and not as Walberg bringing up the issue to make a point about health care. If I'm correct in that, then I'm very troubled by the transition from Tim Walberg's grandchildren to "That's one of the reasons a major plank of his platform is tax cuts." It's the kind of connection an unbiased reporter shouldn't make.

But then, I could be totally wrong.
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