Rick Barker | Transparency in Campaign Finance

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

When I first met Rep. Mike Garcia over two years ago, he was running in the special election to fill the seat of resigned Rep. Katie Hill. I was very impressed by his openness but what most impressed me was his personal honor and dignity and his absolute and very deep belief in the greatness of this country. 

One of the first things Mike told me about his run for Congress was that in his mind his first duty as a congressman would be to protect and defend the United States Constitution… which is the exact same oath he took as a U.S. Naval officer and the exact same oath he ultimately took when he won his first race in the special election against Christy Smith and also when he beat Ms. Smith a second time for the full-term congressional seat for the 25th District.

Mike Garcia doesn’t pretend to be something he is not just to get your support and vote, and I personally find that VERY refreshing for someone running for and holding public office. Mike and I have disagreed on several issues over the time we have known each other, but he has never been anything but respectful of my views even though he may not personally share them. Mike is also not one to toot his own horn a lot. Many people don’t know that Mike donates 10% of his congressional pay every month to different charities and organizations and I can guarantee you that, unlike an awful lot of candidates as well as sitting congressmen, being a congressman is COSTING Mike Garcia money, NOT putting it in his pocket.

Having said all that, I will now get to some issues concerning one of the large gang of Democrats running against Mike for the 25th Congressional District seat, Ms. Christy Smith. 

Not too long ago I pointed out (in a letter to the editor) that Ms. Smith obviously has some serious communication problems with the people she employs to write her solicitations for money from her supporters that she signs and that the recipients are led to believe were written by her. Her staff writes them and her signature is inserted and she (apparently) never even reads them…or at least she didn’t prior to that major screw-up.

And now we have more things that are either miscommunications again or outright deceptive statements coming from Catherine Coddington, her new campaign finance director.

Here’s an email sent out to donors from Christy Smith’s new money person: “Christy’s not taking a cent from corporate PACs because she believes people should decide who our leaders are, not corporations. And yes, that last one makes my job harder, but I know we’re up to the challenge!”

Ms. Smith and/or Ms. Coddington would like us to believe that she is running a real grassroots campaign, getting her money from mom and pop grocery stores and the spare change out of people’s cookie jars.

Technically, her no “corporate donations” is true…but I would think that most people with functioning frontal lobes would consider the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Political Action Committee a fairly large organization with a bank account that would dwarf a whole lot of corporations in this country. The Teamsters are the largest union in the USA and they also are in Puerto Rico and Canada. Yes…Ms. Smith gets large donations from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters PAC.

Having said that…there is absolutely nothing wrong for a political candidate to accept support and donations from whomever “legally” gives them their money. However, candidates on either side of the aisle should be open and honest about where that money is actually coming from so voters can decide for themselves without having to dig it out on the Federal Elections Commission website.

Rick Barker


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