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Walt Minnick’s Big Benefactor

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

In Idaho’s 1st District, Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID) is being challenged by Walt Minnick, a businessman and 1996 Senate Candidate. Minnick calls himself a “conservative Democrat” on his website, and, he expects to capture the seat and the Idaho media is doing everything they can to help.

The Idaho media reports on Minnick’s fundraising advantage, but unlike with Congressman Sali’s 2006 campaign’s support from Club for Growth, the source of Minnick’s cash (mostly out of State) has been left undiscussed.

Minnick campaigns as a conservative Democrat, but if elected to Congress how would he vote?

Follow the money.

One of Minnick’s top contributors is National Leadership PAC, which has sent $10,000 to Minnick. A leadership PAC is set up by members of Congress to funnel funds into other Congressional races. This works great for powerful members of Congress, who receive donations from special interests wishing to curry favor with them through the PAC and then gain influence with incoming members of Congress by funding their campaigns.

National Leadership PAC is the leadership PAC of Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who boasts an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 4% (the type of moderate leaders we need in Congress, eh?) There are some key issues to look at with the man who would have a great influence over the vote of Walt Minnick in Congress.

A key issue is immigration. In a campaign stop in liberal Sun Valley, Minnick laid out his views on immigration, comparing the border fence being built along the Southern Border to the Berlin Wall. He also called for a path to normalization of illegal immigrants in somewhat rambling answer that was captured by Sun Valley Online.

Minnick is running in a bedrock Republican district, so he has to couch his words. His benefactor, Mr. Rangel can be a little more straightforward in stating the same position as he did when he spoke to the Dominican Bar Association in New York. He said there’s a “one word” solution to the immigration problem: “Amnesty” which at a basic level was what Walt Minnick was trying to dance around advocating.

Rangel considered those who advocate a path to citizenship even with fines, etc. (such as Minnick) to be “the good guys.” The bad guys, according to Rangel are small town sheriffs and mayors trying to enforce our immigration laws, who Rangel alleges only get on TV. Does Mr. Minnick share his benefactor’s view that small town sheriff’s are bad guys particularly much of the same district is made up of rural counties between Ada and Kootenai County?

In addition, Minnick taking Rangel’s money leads one to legitimately question Minnick’s dedication to fiscal responsibility. Walt Minnick has promised to work to prohibit earmarks. Listening to Minnick’s campaign rhetoric sounds awful familiar.

It should.

In 2006, nearly every successful Democratic Candidate ran on the policy of reforming earmarks and the way Congress works, taking advantage of Republican unfaithfulness to fiscal conservative principles. They talked reform.

But talk is cheap.

In 2007, Club for Growth tracked votes on 50 anti-Pork Amendments. Congressman Sali supported 94% of all anti-pork Amendments. On average, house freshman Democrats voted for only 2% of anti-Pork Amendments.

One project that was targeted for elimination was a $1.95 million earmark to the Charlie B. Rangel Center for public service at the University of New York. Congressman Rangel’s sponsorship of this vanity earmark earned him a “Narcissist Award” from the non-partisan Citizens Against Government.

He has since come under scrutiny for using his position as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for using his official position and Congressional letterhead to raise funds for the organizations from individuals and corporations with business before his committee.

The number of anti-earmark Democratic freshman Congressmen who opposed Rangel’s “Monument to Me”?

Zero.

Congressman Bill Sali, however, did oppose this vanity earmark.

Now Charlie Rangel is coming after him and supporting Mr. Minnick.

It’s now a fair question to ask what other pet ideas of Mr. Rangel might Minnick be open to supporting? Last session, Rangel authored a tax bill that, according to the office of ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee Jim McCrery, would increase taxes $3.5 trillion over the next ten years. Would this be the type of legislation Walt Minnick would back?

Also, there was a lot of fear mongering about the draft under George W. Bush. Voters who are concerned about this issue would be very interested to know that the chief congressional advocate of bringing back the draft is Mr. Minnick’s benefactor, Congressman Charlie Rangel. (D-NY.) Would Mr. Minnick support that?

Idaho voters deserve answers about Walt Minnick’s extremist out-of-state benefactor and whether Minnick shares his views. Idaho’s liberal media is not asking these questions and merely taking Minnick at his word on a vaguely defined stance as a “conservative Democrat” while telling us, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

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