Raby knows where the bodies are buried

Fellow Flashpoint contributor Dan and I attended the Democratic Party Rally at the Roundhouse last night.  More than 250 people attended the event, including WVNN’s Dale Jackson and Mecca Musick.  I enjoyed speaking with Madison County Democratic Party Chairman Doug Dermody.

I missed the first part of Congressional candidate Steve Raby’s speech but arrived in time to hear Raby reiterate his claim that Redstone Arsenal got “zero funding”, however unlike in his TV ad, he told the rest of the story – the zero funding was in the Military Construction account (note that “the arsenal has received $440 million since 2007 for BRAC-related building projects”).

Raby said that he expected bad things to be published about him in the papers over the next couple of weeks.  I say, it’s about time.  Raby aided in the “attempted hijacking” of a State Board of Education primary election in 2008.  Raby’s family PACs funneled money to the State Senators indicted in the current gambling scandal.  IMO Raby has a record of disregard for ethical behavior – it might be legal, but it sure ain’t right.

Much of the rest of Raby’s speech included folksy stories about growing up here and asserting that he could protect Huntsville jobs because of his political connections.

Raby said that if elected, he could hit the ground running in Washington because he “knows where the bodies are buried”…

HASBAT Congressional Forum

The Huntsville Association of Small Businesses in Advanced Technology (HASBAT) hosted a Congressional Forum today featuring Republican Mo Brooks and Democrat Steve Raby.   The Forum was attended by more than 80 local business people and covered by the news media including Dale Jackson of WVNN,  Challen Stephens of The Huntsville Times, and Trang Do of  WAFF.  In addition, I had the pleasure of meeting ‘mooncat’ of Left in Alabama – she got the forum on video and I hope she posts it – I can’t wait to see their comments…

The following is a summary of the forum which I hope gives you, our dear readers, insight into the candidate’s position on issues.

OPENING STATEMENTS:
Brooks (R) = “facing a grave set of challenges”; “socialism versus free enterprise”; “balanced budget Constitutional Amendment”
Raby (D) = “don’t like the direction of our country… or what is going on in Washington”; “problem-solving standpoint”; “I believe in capitalism”; “reduce budget deficits”; “independent-minded”

QUESTION 1 = Jobs: what can the federal government do to create jobs in the private sector?
Brooks (R) = private sector funds government; extend Bush tax cuts; get Feds “out of the way”; “fewer taxes, less regulation”; “fair trade, not free trade” example China currency manipulation; “free the entrepreneur”
Raby (D) = we have “economic instability”; businesses are sitting on cash waiting on tax policy; Constitutional requirement for defense so “no one in this town should have to apologize for working for the government”; coordinate State / Federal economic development efforts

QUESTION 2 = Taxes: do you favor extending the Bush tax cuts and regulatory relief?
Raby (D) = most regulations are drafted with good intentions but twisted by administrators; “stabilize tax policy”
Brooks (R) = “this is a defining difference between me and my opponent”;  for extending Bush tax cuts; “you know what you’re going to get” if you vote for me

QUESTION 3 = Economy: unsustainable national debt?
Brooks (R) = “two years ago, Steve contributed $2,000 to my campaign” [each candidate praised the other - they're old friends];  “46% of operating expenses is borrowed money”;  can’t keep borrowing from children;  balanced budget except for crisis or war
Raby (D) = “I agree with Mo”; “greatest threat to our economy is continued deficit spending”; “for balanced budget amendment… except for capital projects like highways…”;  the $2000 contribution to Mo ”wasn’t the first time”; bipartisan; “I’ve given $48,000 to Republicans”; “going to take a centrist approach”

QUESTION 4 = Do you support Obamacare? 
Raby (D) = “No, I do not”; “wasn’t done in a transparent way”; hospitals say it will increase costs; Doctors won’t accept patients; “pre-existing conditions should be dealt with”; Medicare Part D doughnut hole should be dealt with; individual mandate “will not work”
Brooks (R) = “the issue is cost”; “socialized medicine is the end game for these people [Democrats]; “interstate competition”; “tort reform”; eliminate hospital Certificate of Need requirements; take legal bills out of health care costs; illegal aliens add costs; “a strong economy empowers us to pay for the health care we need”

QUESTION 5 = Defense: do you favor a “phased adaptive approach” to missile defense? [the guy who wrote the question later said he wished the question had been clearer]
Brooks (R) = overall the economy allows us to pay for defense;  “fed is taking $2.7 trillion out of capital markets, denying it to business”
Raby (D) = Constitutional requirement for defense; ”move money to R&D”; “prepare for the next war”

QUESTION 6 = Illegal immigration?
Raby (D) = “gather information”; “federal responsibility”; secure Southwest border and ports of entry;  focus on employers e-verify
Brooks (R) = “Thank Arizona”; secure borders; e-verify; make it expensive for employers to hire illegals

CLOSING STATEMENTS:
Raby (D) = “I’m on team Tennessee Valley”; “I don’t want to be grouped with these folks” [specifically trial lawyers but in the context of the Democratic team]; “the other team” pledged not to accept earmarks so Redstone Arsenal got $0 for Military Construction while Bobby Bright (D – AL02) got money for military bases in his district; “I’m not part of a political team”
Brooks (R) = politicans choose ideology (team); first vote in the House is for the Speaker of the House, it’s for a team; “bipartisan when it comes to mutual agreement”

***

Politics is a ‘team’ effort.  This is displayed by the very first vote each Representative casts for Speaker of the House.  Do you want two more years of Nancy Pelosi?

I thought that Mo Brooks did a great job.  Brooks was passionate and noted (often) that he has a record of fiscal leadership.  The only question he didn’t directly address was the missile defense question (it was too much inside baseball), but he gave a good answer.  Disclosure – Mo was a contributor here until the contested GOP primary and I have a ‘Brooks for Congress’ bumper sticker and yard sign.

I’m trying to figure out Steve Raby – I know many people who like him and I can see that.  Raby seems to be running away from the national Democratic Party (can’t fault him for that) – he said the word “independent” several times.  Raby dodged the Bush tax cut extension question, which was obvious to the crowd of small business people who will see their taxes rise on January 1.  I don’t doubt his concern for the Tennessee Valley.

I made the offer to Raby’s Finance Director that if they send us press releases, campaign event notices, or opinion pieces that we will post it.

***

Lisa Williams attended the forum with her husband State Representative Phil Williams (R – 6).   Lisa is one of my 10 year old niece’s favorite people – they met at a GOP breakfast – Lisa was very sweet and patient with her.

Thanks to HASBAT for a nice lunch and a great event!

Hijacker Smithwick claims ‘selective prosecution’

Troy Smithwick (who attempted to hijack a primary election) was recently indicted for campaign finance disclosure violations and his defense is “that violations of those reporting provisions are rather common in Alabama political campaigns” and “are practically never prosecuted”.

Matt Quillen of  The Daily Home (Talledega) wrote the article “Smithwick defends allegations” reporting on a hearing in Talledega County Circuit Court.  This seems like a story that The Huntsville Times should cover since one of the people named in the story is running for Congress (Democrat Steve Raby) and another person runs a Huntsville-based PAC (Jyles Machen of  the shady TRDPAC – The Real Democrat PAC).

The second count on the indictment dealt specifically with a $100,000 contribution reported from a Huntsville-based political action committee called The Real Democrat.

Smithwick had claimed a $100,000 contribution from another Huntsville-based group, called the Tennessee Valley PAC.

Giddens said he spoke to Steve Raby and Jyles Machem of Tennessee Valley PAC and The Real Democrat PAC, respectively, about the reported contribution.

“There was a snafu with the political action committees,” Giddens said. “They have since filed some amended reports and I still don’t think they understand what happened, based on the people I talked to from the committees.”

Raby and Machem had both previously said there was not a second donation made to Smithwick’s campaign. An amended 2008 annual report from The Real Democrat, received Oct. 19, did not report any contribution to Smithwick.

Keep in mind that Smithwick was running in the Republican Primary against Stephanie Bell and that Democrat PACs gave more than $300,000 to his campaign.  This prompted Mike Hubbard, chair of the Alabama GOP to say that Democrats were trying to “hijack” the election and he warned Republicans not to vote for Smithwick.  Hubbard believes that the money was funneled through those PACs from the Alabama Education Association (a subsidiary of the Democratic Party – Paul Hubbert of the AEA teacher’s union is Vice Chair of the Democratic Party).  This case illustrates why banning PAC to PAC transfers is important.

Somehow we’re being asked to believe that TRDPAC’s Machen reported a contribution to Smithwick for $100,000 but that it didn’t really happen (what – they changed their mind after he lost)?  That a Huntsville Democrat PAC got the amount of their check and the name of a local politician from Talledega confused?  Raby and his PAC still admit to contributing $100,000 to Smithwick’s campaign.

It bothers me that Steve Raby is running for Congress - by his actions he has proven that he has no respect for Alabama voters or the election process.  I guess if you’re a Democrat, cheating is a feature, not a bug.

School Board Hijacker Indicted

Finally!   Note that this story has Huntsville ties.  Steve Raby has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate in the AL05 Congressional race and I wrote about Jyles Machen not long ago (“Democrat hack creates front group”):

Jyles Machen heads a shady PAC named “Real Democrat PAC, The” (TRD PAC) – note how the acronym helps hide the name of the PAC.  Machen is a Democrat hack – even worse, he has no respect for elections.  Machen is one of the scum who tried to “hijack” the State Board of Education Republican primary in June 2008…  Fellow Democrat hack Steve Raby also pumped $100,000 into the attempted hijacking (Tennessee Valley PAC).

If someone at the Huntsville Times wants a story – here it is in your backyard.

From Matt Quillen at The Daily Home “Grand Jury indicts BOE member”:

SYLACAUGA — City Schools Board Member Troy “Skip” Smithwick was indicted on two counts relating to campaign contributions by a Talladega County Grand Jury.

A spokesperson for the Talladega County Sheriff’s Department said Smithwick was charged on Friday and released on a $5,000 bond. The two charges were failure to file annual reports and improper reporting of contributions.

Both charges are Class B misdemeanors under state law.

The indictment stems from an investigation into contribution forms submitted by Smithwick during a 2008 campaign. That year, he ran in the Republican primary for the District 3 State School Board seat…

Under state law, all candidates are required to submit their annual contribution reports no later than Jan. 31 of the following year. Smithwick’s final report was dated as received Oct. 6, 2009, by the Secretary of State… Donations totaling around $52,000 had not been reported until October. The previous report Smithwick had filed in May 2008 showed donations totaling approximately $253,000.

The second charge stated Smithwick failed to report a contribution from a group named The Real Democrat Political Action Committee. The group claimed a $100,000 contribution was made to “Smithwick for School Board” in their annual report received January 2009.

Jyles Machem, head of the Huntsville-based PAC, said in October that his group did not contribute any funds to Smithwick’s campaign…

Smithwick had claimed on his reports a $100,000 contribution from another Huntsville-based group, called the Tennessee Valley PAC…

Another apparent error appeared as both PACs claimed an $85,000 contribution to them in May from a group called the Senate Majority PAC. Senate Majority’s annual report showed only one $85,000 contribution being made, to The Real Democrat.

Both Tennessee Valley and Senate Majority PAC reports have the signature of Steve Raby as the “Chairperson or Treasurer of Political Committee.” Both groups are also listed at the same address…

Betty Peters, the District 2 representative for the state BOE, made the official complaint regarding Smithwick to Attorney General Troy King.

“This should be an example for all future candidates that the law has teeth and it will be enforced,” Peters said. “If somebody is going to be on the state school board making decisions affecting children and teachers, everybody makes mistakes but this is beyond a mistake.”