May 31, 2012 Newsletter for our Bucks County Moveon – Penn Action Group
1. YOU can help with the Wisconsin election!
Why does it matter to us?
email from Democratic Party of WI:
Fitzpatrick’s legislation questioned
By Gary Weckselblatt Staff Writer | Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012 6:00 am
Back in March, following a fundraiser at a Florida resort, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick introduced legislation to eliminate the cap on the number of reverse mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
Donations from reverse mortgage brokers proceeded to flow to the 8th District Republican.
Earlier this month, as Roll Call reported Wednesday, Fitzpatrick introduced several bills to suspend tariffs on chemicals to help a local business. The online publication that covers Capitol Hill said eight of the 12 proposals would benefit United Color Manufacturing Inc., a Newtown company whose owners have donated $26,000 to Fitzpatrick in the last decade.
The story caught the eye of Public Campaign Action Fund, which is in favor of publicly financed elections and campaigns to hold elected officials accountable for opposing reform and for the special favors they do for their political contributors.
“Voters send people to Congress because they think they’ll do what’s in their best interests,” said Adam Smith, spokesman for the watchdog organization. “Then you see legislation like this introduced and it raises real questions about who these members are working for in Washington.”
Smith said Public Campaign is not a partisan group.
“Issues around who does favors for donors is not partisan,” he said. “If a Democrat had come out with this sort of legislation for a donor we would have done the same sort of thing.
“The question is whether people support legislation to end this system. So far Congressman Fitzpatrick has not sponsored legislation to do so.”
Fitzpatrick said both pieces of legislation he introduced will help the 8th District.
“American manufacturers are fighting for their economic life,” he said, “and this tariff bill is all about protecting Bucks County jobs.”
His reverse mortgage amendment, which was withdrawn to allow the House Financial Services Committee more time to examine the issue, “would allow seniors to stay in their homes longer, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
Tom Nowakowski, president of United Color, doesn’t know what all the fuss is about. He said he approached Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, both in 2009 and again this year about the same issue. He has not donated to Casey, who introduced legislation similar to Fitzpatrick’s.
“All we’re trying to do is make sure our costs are in line to keep jobs in Bucks County and in Pennsylvania,” said Nowakowski, whose company, which also operates in Philadelphia, has 40 employees.
He said the tariff suspension will save his company in the “low six figures” and allow it to “compete with low-cost companies offshore. … I would think Congress would want that.”
Asked about the campaign donations from Nowakowski, Fitzpatrick said, “We’re willing to help any American manufacturer.”
Of the donations from reverse mortgage brokers following the Florida fundraiser that was attended by members of the financial industry, Fitzpatrick said he introduced similar legislation back in 2005. “This is not something I started working on last month.”
Fitzpatrick, a member of the House Committee on Financial Services and vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, received donations from a dozen bankers in the weeks following the fundraiser, according to the Federal Election Commission.
They included seven $500 contributions from reverse mortgage specialists: Mark A. Browning of Home Equity Conversion Corp., Rochester, N.Y.; John Larose, CEO, Celink, Plainwell, Mich; Mario L. Martirano, reverse mortgage banker, Residential Home Funding, Mahopac, N.Y.; Robert W. Wyatt, reverse mortgage banker, Reverse Mortgage Associaton, Fort Myers, Fla.; Robert D. Yeary, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Fort Worth, Texas; James T. Cory of Legacy Reverse Mortgage, San Diego; and David Peskin of Vertical Lend, Melville, N.Y.
Kathy Boockvar, Fitzpatrick’s Democratic opponent in the 8th District, said the “appearance of impropriety is why people have lost faith in their representatives. I don’t know the facts but the appearance is problematic.
“Voters don’t want to think you can pay to play. They don’t want to see a conflict of interest. They believe in being represented equally.”
3. Saturday protest at training for Tea Party Volunteers, submitted by Mary Downing:
Dick Armey, a wealthy lobbyist, former leader of the House Republicans and current leader of the extreme organization Freedom Works, is set to conduct a training for Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s Tea Party supporters on Saturday.
Fitzpatrick’s Tea Party supporters will be trained on Get Out The Vote tactics and receive new media training. Local Tea Party groups are calling this a “great day of activism.” So are we.
Join us as we protest this Tea Party training on Saturday morning. Let’s send a message to Fitzpatrick’s local and national Tea Party supporters that their values are too extreme for Bucks and Montgomery counties.
We’ll be protesting outside on the street and doing carpools from our Doylestown office.RSVP here if you think you can join us. If you would like a ride, or would be able to provide a ride to other CREDO members, please let us know. If you want to reach us in advance, you can email Anthony Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CREDO SuperPAC’s Take Down Mike Fitzpatrick campaign.
4. THIS SUNDAY need help to “man” a Voter Registration table in Washington Crossing – from Steve Scickay:
Contact Steve at email@example.com if you can help!
1. Send an email to your State Rep to let him/her know that you do not want predatory lending to be legal in PA – vote NO on HB 2191.
2. Make a visit to your State Rep’s local office this week. Our Representatives are home right now and we are asking people to drop by the offices with a flyer asking the Representatives to vote NO on HB 2191. You don’t need an appointment. You don’t need to be an expert in finance. You just need to want predatory lenders to stay out of PA and drop by your State Rep’s office to let him/her know. Click here to get the flyer and more information emailed to you asap.
Payday loans are an abusive form of lending that traps borrowers into a long-term cycle of debt at rates of 300% annual interest and higher. Triple-digit interest payday loans have long been illegal in Pennsylvania, whether made at storefronts or online.But now out-of-state payday lenders like Cash America and Check N’ Go are lobbying furiously to legalize predatory payday loans in Pennsylvania.
HB 2191 would roll back our existing consumer protections and allow predatory payday loans carrying rates of 300% or higher. In Missouri, where payday lending is king, rates can get to over 1900%! HB 2191 permits a product that is a debt trap by design—it does NOT protect consumers. This is what a May 27 editorial at Lancaster Online said about HB 2191 and Pay Day Lending:
One of the most corrupt legislative bodies in America is considering crawling into bed with one of the vilest industries in America.
We can stop them.
In 2011, the natural gas industry was caught red-handed, secretly pumping
over 32 million gallons of diesel fuel into the ground — and threatening
our drinking water.
In response, EPA has released draft regulations for the use of diesel in
fracking. However, we need EPA to take it a step further and ban the use of
diesel and diesel by-products in fracking fluids. Will you help me get
25,000 letters to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to show widespread support
for a ban on diesel? I sent my letter today!
Find out more and send your message here:
To take action on this issue, click on the link below:
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lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.
You are welcome to join us at events, and at our weekly planning meetings!
Our Core group meets every Wed. at 1pm at Joan and Sally’s house. New Core members are always welcome. This is where we plan, keep updated on news from Moveon and Penn Action, and share ideas. email for directions firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are adding an evening meeting once a month on the 2nd Monday at 7pm, same place. Please RSVP at email@example.com for each meeting so that we know to expect you.
Getting Letters to the Editor, and Guest Opinions printed is so important. Let us know if you are willing to write, or if you need help writing one. Contact Frank Arcoleo Frank.Arcoleo@verizon.net or Bob Mason firstname.lastname@example.org for ideas or help.
Robin Stelly – Penn Action
Joan King, Sally Witt
Moveon.org Bucks County Coordinator – Mike Sullivan
We are now doing a weekly newsletter for our larger group. Questions, or suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.