Politico to go: The bigger Weiner scandal


Its over I hope. After ten days of wiener jokes, Congressman Anthony Weiner has finally stood up and admitted that it was indeed his picture tweeted out to a Seattle college student and that there were other indiscretions. I don’t know what the halacha is, but as far as I am concerned “weinergate” is over; it is now a personal matter for the Congressman and his wife.

Hopefully he can repair the hurt he caused and their marriage can be saved. Sadly, while the world has been attentive to Weiner’s Twitter postings, there is a much more important issue concerning the Congressman that has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media, Congressman Weiner’s conflict of interests.

In the past few months Weiner has been trying to stack
the deck in the Supreme Court to make sure that when
they rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare, the decision will go the progressive way. Weiner is among 73 members of Congress demanding that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from any cases
related to Obamacare. Weiner’s demand is based on the fact that Mrs. Thomas is a Tea party activist and a lobbyist who has “experience and connections” and appeals to clients who want to overturn health reform (their words, not necessarily Mrs. Thomas’.)

“As members of Congress, we were surprised by recent revelations of your financial ties to leading organizations dedicated to lobbying against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the letter said. “We write today to respectfully ask that you maintain the integrity of this court and recuse yourself from any deliberations on the constitutionality of this act.”

“Given these facts, there is a strong conflict between the Thomas household’s financial gain through your spouse’s activities and your role as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court,” they wrote. “We urge you to recuse yourself from this case.”

Of course what they don’t say is that there is nothing wrong with Mrs. Thomas working as a lobbyist or for the Heritage Foundation and that the Judge wasn’t even required to disclose his wife’s income, but did so anyway.

It’s interesting that Weiner, who was the co-sponsor of the reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment in 2007, believes that a woman cannot have an independent career when it’s politically expedient.

And that is what this is all about...politics. The move against Thomas is being made to preempt another recusal request, Judge Elena Kagan. Kagan was solicitor general for the Obama Administration during the time the bill was being passed although she has claimed that she had no substantial legal involvement with the bill (she is the one defining substantial.) The purpose of Weiner’s letter was to deflect attention away from Kagan.

More importantly, Weiner is not one to talk about conflict of interest. In the 2009 spending bill Weiner sponsored $18.3 million in earmarks for 22 groups and projects, over $500,000 of those earmarks went to campaign contributors.

An earmark of $238,000 went to the Sephardic Addiction and Family Education (SAFE) foundation, which may very well be deserving of taxpayer dollars. But the fact that the organization’s board of directors contributed more than $160,000 to Weiner’s various campaigns, may make it a bit more worthy in Weiner’s eyes. Weiner also sponsored a $300,000 earmark for Brooklyn’s Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, whose director, David Mandel, personally contributed $6,240 to Weiner’s
political campaigns.

According to the NY Daily News on Mar. 02, 2009, “At least four board officers of the Sephardic Addiction and Family Education (SAFE) Foundation have, together
with their families and close associates, directed more than $160,000 to Weiner’s campaigns, including more than $100,000 for this year’s mayoral race.

“It smacks of pay to play,” said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, an advocacy group that has railed against socalled “earmarks” in the federal budget that let lawmakers steer federal dollars to pet projects back home.

When the story broke two years ago, Weiner declined to answer questions about why he chose this group for the funding, or about the campaign contributions. His spokesman John Collins said in a statement: “It is an outrageous smear to say these leaders of the Jewish community are engaged in anything improper.” But the truth is no one is accusing these organizations of doing anything improper, the accusation is against Congressman Weiner. In fact one of the principals involved never knew about the earmark until he was contacted by the press.

“Anthony is a friend of the Sephardic community of Brooklyn,” said Morris Missry, a SAFE board offi cer who raised $67,700 from 27 donors for Weiner last summer. He and his wife have given $9,950 to Weiner’s mayoral and congressional campaigns. Missry said he was surprised about the Weiner earmark when called by the Daily News. “That’s wonderful,” he said of the $238,000 for SAFE. “We need the money.”

As long as this sexting controversy occurred between adults, and unless there is evidence it was done on the public dime, I strongly believe that it was an issue between Weiner and his wife.

But his suspicious use of congressional earmarks is the issue that we all should be concerned about. Before he questions the conflict of interest related to Justice Thomas’ wife, perhaps Congressman Weiner should answer (to his own wife) and to Congress on questions about his earmarks.

Jeff Dunetz is the Editor/Publisher of the political blog “The Lid” (www.jeffdunetz. com). Jeff contributes to some of the largest political sites on the internet including
American Thinker, Big Government, Big Journalism, NewsReal and Pajama’s Media. Jeff lives on Long Island.