Tuesday Blue America is officially endorsing our second California progressive for Congress, Jay Chen. He'll be here at 11am and we hope you'll have time to come by and meet him. There's a short video above and a few paragraphs below that might pique your interest-- hopefully enough to join the chat Tuesday and perhaps, if you can, to contribute to his campaign at our Blue America ActBlue page.
These days, when most California voters think about the Countrywide scandal, they probably think about the only congressman seeking reelection who was found to be taking personal bribes-- rather than just campaign contributions-- from Countrywide, Buck McKeon. But on the other side of Los Angeles County there's another longtime Republican incumbent, one who's kept his head down while amassing power, nearly as guilty as McKeon. We've talked about what a sleazebag Ed Royce is before. But since Tuesday is Jay Chen day, I thought today might be a good time to remind people what kind of character Royce is (beyond just all the racism and bigotry).
Royce has long been in the pocket of Wall Street bankers and has collected millions from the financial services and insurance industries he so passionately deregulates. Sitting on a number of financial committees, Royce has very effectively sold himself and his votes to the banks that have been driving this country into the ground. In fact, no California Representative has received more campaign contributions from the financial services industry than Royce ($4,209,456 since 1989 and already $794,605 this cycle alone), and bankers are getting what they paid for.
Royce, one of the few senior Republicans to actually officially join Bachmann's crazy Tea Party Caucus, was Sarah Palin’s choice for chairman of the House Financial Services committee. That was either despite or because of-- who knows-- the fact that, as a ranking member, he championed the deregulation and risk-taking (akin to unregulated casino gambling) that allowed bankers to plunge our country into a second Great Depression. He voted against regulating the subprime mortgage industry, voted against taxing the bonuses of TARP recipients, and he still opposes the Volcker rule despite J.P. Morgan’s $2 billion debacle.
But that’s not Royce’s biggest financial secret. A model of what banks have done to infect our congressional halls, Royce was the recipient of the largest amount of donations from Countrywide, receiving a whopping total of $37,500 since 1989. If you haven't been following the Buck McKeon scandal and the name Countrywide sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is-- Countrywide stirred up news outlets back in 2008 when a financial political loan scandal broke out that revealed the mortgage lender to be giving favorable mortgage rates to top politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Countrywide’s campaign contributions weren’t loans, but they were investments. Unfortunately, these “investments” didn’t work, and the failing financial group was purchased by Bank of America soon after.
So what? Though Royce must be upset to see one of his income streams blocked off, he is by no means receiving any less from other financial services and insurance companies. Having received $2,597,049 from banksters and Big Insurance CEOs, Royce has never hesitated to vote for the interests of lobbyists who have pumped immense sums into his career. The concept of "conflict or interest" never seems to cross his mind when it comes to voting for the bandits who have financed his cushy career and lifestyle.
What can we do about this? For your average citizen, stopping top banks from influencing our self-proclaimed leaders is a daunting-- if not impossible-- task. And that's why Blue America doesn't follow the diktats the DCCC tries to enforce on progressive groups and why we're focusing on electing leaders who are responsible and accountable for their actions, and who don’t vote based on the size of their wallets, and defeating Republican culprits like Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Buck McKeon and Ed Royce, who the DCCC always gives a free pass to reelection.
In the new 39th District, Democratic challenger and small businessman Jay Chen has begun a competitive race against a startlingly vulnerable Royce, who has been uprooted from his financial throne in Orange County and placed into a district that is now 30% Asian American and 30% Latino. Unlike Royce, Chen strives for financial accountability and will make sure that America doesn’t collapse even when big banks do.
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