Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? If you need one more item, you might consider this book. Intended to help GOP presidential candidates research their opponents—probably to tear them apart–it may also make a great gift to share with progressives and conservatives alike. You don’t even need to buy the guide; the pdf is available here.
Sections in the book include voting positions, key issues, “problems with the base,” and questions about effectiveness. Here are some samples from the 20 politicians described:
Letter from Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 1993 when he was the state’s agricultural commissioner:
“Dear Mrs. Clinton: I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation’s health care system are most commendable.” And it concludes: “Your efforts are worthy … Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.”
Currently, Perry is under indictment on abuse-of-power charges and two counts of felony abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official. CNN reported that “the indictment alleges that the circumstances around Perry’s veto threat amounted to a misuse of state money earmarked by the Legislature.”
Jeb Bush: The GOP needs to get over its “nostalgia” for conservative icon Ronald Reagan, according to Bush. There are also questions about his $2-million payment as a board member of Tenet Health Care, which has endorsed the Affordable Care Act. When Bush joined the private equity advisory board at Lehman Brothers, the company sold more than $800 million worth of mortgage-backed securities to the Florida State Fund that defaulted in just four months and cost the state taxpayers $500 million. He also “supports instant background checks for gun-show purchases, an unpopular position with the NRA” and avoids attending NRA events.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich: He cast the “deciding vote” in the House to pass the 1994 assault weapons ban, and the NRA endorsed his Democratic opponent in 2010.
Mitt Romney: Newt Gingrich accused him of “looting companies” during Romney’s time at the private equity firm Bain Capital. A pro-Gingrich super PAC spent millions to produce and promote a 28-minute documentary, “When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” portraying Romney as a heartless corporate raider. Perry and then Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) also attacked Romney for not releasing more information about his finances. [The only piece in the book is a photo with “Mitt Romney 2016?”]
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: As U.S. attorney, he was legendary for escaping being ticketed and prosecuted after a variety of incidents such as hitting a motorcyclist while Christie drove the wrong way down a street and later driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle. He also has a long record of spending far more than travel expenses allowed.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): Illegally claiming to be a “board-certified” ophthalmologist, Rand’s only certification is from a board that he personally created and led—and that has been out of business since 2011.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: While a state representative In 1997, he wrote a bill requiring “out-of-state political committees to file reports with the state elections board that show the source of all funds spent in the State of Wisconsin” because “Wisconsin voters have a right to know the source of all the money being poured into the state from Washington,D.C. and beyond.” Since then his campaign and the Republican Governors Association illegally worked with Americans for Prosperity and others to coordinate spending by outside special interest groups on Walker’s behalf, according to government prosecutors.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): Despite his opposition to government spending, his family’s business, RYAN, Inc., has accepted more than $25 million in government subsidies since 1995.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): While speaker of the Florida House, he offended Republicans through spending $2.5 million on renovations to his office and expanding his roster of staffers. Between 2006 and 2008, he charged more than $100,000 on the Florida Republican party’s credit card, including over $10,000 for his family reunion, over $4,000 for flooring renovations to his home, and thousands of dollars for meals and car repairs as well as a haircut that cost $134. He also double-billed the party and Florida taxpayers for plane tickets costing almost $3,000. In 2012, Rubio was fined $8,000 by the Federal Elections Commission for accepting more than $210,000 in illegal excessive or unreported donations from individuals and corporate PACs for his 2010 Senate campaign. His claims that his parents came to the United States after Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba in 1959 were proven false after the revelation that his parents’ visas, approved in 1956, stated that they wished to become permanent residents of the U.S. He also suffered from a flip-flop on immigration reform, first criticizing the McCain/Kennedy plan and then crafting a package much like the plan before again rejecting immigration reform.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley: A series of ethics scandals began with her employment as fundraiser by the Lexington Medical Center while serving in the state house, allowing her to raise money for hospitals by companies with official business before the state.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Five of his many ethics probes from using government resources to accepting gifts and violating campaign finance law have resulted in official ethics violations. While governor, he received $112,000 in gifts and appointed his gift-givers to state boards. He also used public resources for his personal gain, taking gifted furniture from the governor’s office and using state funds earmarked for the governor’s mansion for personal expenses. The right criticizes him regarding his support for moving away from greenhouse gas energy sources and his support for cap and trade.
Louisiana Gov. Bobbie Jindal: While campaigning for governor in 2007, he missed more than 100 votes as a representative in the U.S. House. Jindal loved Common Core education before he sued the federal government because he said it was unconstitutional. Conservatives didn’t support either action because he promised to spend up to $275,000 on the lawsuit. After the last presidential election, he called the GOP the “party of stupid” before he changed his mind on that front too. Jindal also helped perform an exorcism on a female friend while he was in college.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence: Despite his ultra-conservative positions, he expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and refused to fight the Supreme Court after it removed the state’s ban on marriage equality, both of which upset the Tea Party.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez: She used taxpayer funds for personal luxuries such as $100,000 kitchen upgrade, a home gym renovation and high-end coffee maker for the governor’s mansion. Reports of other excessive expenditures follow her throughout her political history.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): His popularity has continued to drop since his insistence on the government shutdown in October 2013, and his recent debacle in the Senate leading to the confirmation of two dozen nominees, including the controversial Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General over the objections of the NRA, has made even the GOP unhappy with him.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): Conservatives are upset because of his support for the LGBT community in marriage equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act while moderates are upset because he supports free-trade agreements that outsource U.S. jobs. [Portman said last week that he won’t be running for president.]
Josh Bolton: He’s an aggressive bully with no social skills.
Ben Carson: His comments are over the edge: i.e., the Affordable Care Act is worse than the Jim Crow laws because it is slavery, and racist Cliven Bundy and his militia members are “upstanding people.”
Other potential candidates suffering from ethics issues: Rick Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
The Conservative Review is doing the same thing from the opposite perspective—but equally enlightening. Here’s its piece about Jeb Bush. The conservative America Rising PAC also has an attack on Hillary Clinton in Failed Choices, but the verbiage is more hateful and less factual.
On both sides, it’s only the start.