Thursday, February 28, 2008

Garrett on Corporate Taxes

I give credit to Representative Scott Garrett, he's still trying to get his corporate tax cut through. In an editorial to the Washington Times he had this to say:
Currently, the American corporate capital-gains tax rate is 35 percent, which happens to be the highest rate in its history, with the exception of 1940-41 owing to World War II.

Sadly, Garrett neglects to realize that we are currently fighting two wars. He also may not realize that when adjusted for inflation, our military budget is at it's highest levels since WWII. Our deficit has ballooned 60% in 7 years, how much higher will it go with what Garrett's proposing?

In theory, for competition's sake, what Garrett is arguing in an ideal world would make sense. Unfortunately, we're not there and it would be robbing from future generations to do what he's proposing at this time.

This is the clearest example of Garrett being a cut and borrower.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Garrett vs. Reducing AIDS in Africa

This has to be a campaign commercial this year.

In his most recent post on, Representative Scott Garrett came out strongly against the compromise bill to re-authorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Here are Garrett's thoughts:
More than 25 million people have died from AIDS and many lawmakers want to extend this compassionate effort, but sadly this proposal does not help the people of Africa, it only hurts them.

Okay, here are the results of the program thusfar:
  • Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during more than 10 million pregnancies;
  • Antiretroviral prophylaxis for women in over 827,000 pregnancies;
  • Prevention of an estimated 157,000 infant infections;
  • Care for more than 6.6 million, including care for more than 2.7 million orphans and vulnerable children;
  • Over 33 million counseling and testing sessions for men, women and children.
Only hurts them? Really?

Now there was a bit of controversy regarding certain provisions of the bill allowing funding for condoms and the perceived potential for funds to be used for abortion. However, at least to the White House the issue has been resolved. From Voice of America News:
"We appreciate the effort to draft in a thoughtful, bipartisan way; we appreciate that we were able to work with them," said Dana Perino. "It retains the important policy principles that have made the program such a success and we applaud the committee's work in quickly moving this bill forward and we hope that the House and Senate will soon follow suit and send it on to the President for signature."

So it's condoms in, abortion out. In fairness to Garrett, he did publish his piece before the final bill came out of committee. However, he had to understand in order to get the the President's signature the core principle would have to remain regarding funds not going for abortion.

However, like with SCHIP, Garrett is only attacking Democrats. He fails to mention the Republicans working with the Dems to improve on a Republican program. So, this program that has helped millions of people is described like this by Garrett:
I hope the Democrats are happy with themselves, because this is just down-right disgusting.

I'm pretty sure the President, Democrats and Republicans working on this bill ARE happy with themselves. By the time this is done 100 million people's lives will likely have been saved, and there is nothing disgusting about that.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

$1 Million Earmark Figured Out

The $1 million earmark granted Representative Scott Garrett in FY07 (of $2 million requested) highlighted by David Heath's Favor Factory for the Lightweight Munitions and Surveillance System (LMSS) for Unmanned Air & Ground Vehicles took a bit longer to figure out.

According to, which is a partnership of the Sunlight Foundation and Taxpayers for Commonsense, Garrett was the only member to request $2 million in FY08 for the same project the Army didn't ask for to be sent to Imperial Machine & Tool, Inc.

The Joest family, owners of the business, gave $1,500 to Garrett while employed with the company. However, where things get interesting is if you plug the Joest name into an engine like

While it's not as direct, Garrett's Joest haul increases to $14,500 largely on the checks of women living at the same addresses as the men listed as owners of the company.

If you read the earmark request letter, Garrett makes an interesting statement which I'm sure is required:
I certify that neither I nor my spouse has any financial interest in this project.

I suppose, since this little series started with questions it should end with questions as well:
  1. How is $14,500 in campaign cash not a financial interest?
  2. Why request earmarks for programs and contracts the Army hasn't asked for?
  3. What programs requested funding but were denied because of these $8.5 million in earmarks over the last two years for programs the Army didn't ask for?

$1.5 Million Earmark Figured Out

So, I asked some open questions about the earmarks Representative Scott Garrett handed out in FY2007 where a recipient could not be found. However, doing a little digging, it seems that the $1.5 million for 2kw Military Tactical Generator Improvements that the military didn't request seems to go to Dewey Electronics. This is based on their annual report to shareholders and a press release from Senator Frank Lautenberg back in 2006 describing his acquisition of funds for a project with the same title.

According to the FEC and, Garrett received $4,500 from Dewey Electronics executives. While that may seem like something, and to some extent it is, here's the really interesting part from Dewey's Annual Report:
In late January 2007 the U.S. Army informed the Company of a significant change in Army staff and priorities related to the 2kW Generator Program and an end to additional funding under the research and development contract the U.S. Army awarded us in 2004. As a consequence, the Company wrote-off all of its capitalized development costs totaling $703,799 to costs of revenue in the fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2007.

So Garrett sought a $1.5 million earmark in FY2007 for a program in addition to a contract to a supplier already getting paid for the work; and for a program the Army knew it was going to end.

To make matters worse, Garrett was joined by Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen, Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman in asking for an additional $3 million for the project in the FY2008 budget (h/t Herb Jackson) after the program had been eliminated.

This is why earmarks are such a problem. By law, our money has to go to Dewey even though the Army doesn't want the research done anymore. What exactly they'll use it for and why our Representatives decided they needed the money may be a mystery forever.

Garrett joins his colleagues every year to talk about budget boondoggles, one has to wonder if this will make the list next year. One also has to wonder how his buddies over at the Club for Growth will react to him seeking $4.5 million over two years for a program the Army doesn't want anymore.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Open Questions for Garrett

A while back I wrote about Representative Scott Garrett sending the vast majority of the earmarks he requested out of district. After watching Bill Moyer's Expose covering investigative reporter David Heath's efforts to compile the first full accounting of earmarks in a Defense Appropriations bill, I decided to check out Heath's efforts.

Of course I looked at Garrett's page. So here are the questions:
  1. Who were the $2.5 million in mystery earmarks of which you were the only sponsor sent to?
  2. What process was used to determine these mystery earmarks were in the best interest of taxpayers in our District?
  3. What projects within the District did you not attempt to fund as a result of going after these two mystery earmarks knowing you were approaching the average amount of earmarks for a Republican House member?

If either Garrett or his staff would like to provide answers for publication you can send me an e-mail or letter.

Making a return...soon

So, the last ten days have not gone as planned. When I said my schedule would be too slammed with work to run this year, I didn't anticipate it sapping my blogging as well. There's a lot to write about, but not tonight. If I have any readers left, I'll be returning soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

News & Such

I haven't been able to blog much, but that doesn't mean there isn't news to report. So here's a round up of stuff going on around the Fifth:

*The Daily Record gives Representative Scott Garrett a "nudge" about his vote against the Economic Stimulus package:

Unfortunately, that urgency was lost on Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage. Garrett, whose district includes Sussex and Warren counties, was one of 34 House members and the only one from New Jersey, to vote against the stimulus package. Such a stance is not new for Garrett, who seems to believe that the federal government should do nothing at all.

*The NJ Herald covered the fact that potential Democratic challenger Dennis Shulman outraised Garrett last quarter. They highlighted his use of the Giants as a metaphor for his own potential for success; which Hillary Clinton used the other night on 60 Minutes. Shulman was the first to use it, but it seems John Bresnahan's nightmare is coming to fruition.

*Eric Boehlert over at Media Matters writes about how Rush Limbaugh is trying to tear apart the Republican Party. He notes Garrett and others rushed to Limbaugh's defense last year during the "phony soldiers" controversy.

*The folks over at Inside Bergen profiled new Executive Director of the BCRO, Matt Mowers.

*Phillip Crabb was selected to replace Assemblyman Gary Chiusano on the Sussex County Board of Freeholders.

*The Record profiled Steve Lonegan's work against Corzine's toll plan, and spoke of his aspirations for Governor.

Here's a random thought: If Shulman were to win this year and Lonegan next year, those of us in the Fifth would likely be the first constituency in the nation to be represented by two legally blind individuals. It's an unlikely scenario, but interesting thought none the less.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Garrett @ CPAC

Well, I can't find a link on C-SPAN for Representative Scott Garrett's panel discussion today. However, the folks over at The Heritage Foundation have a summary. They also have a "very rough transcript" of Garrett's opening remarks.
When I arrived here this morning I was impressed to see that the hotel had set up tables to provide free coffee and pastries to conference attendees. I loaded up with fruit, a muffin, and coffee, but of course when I got to the end of the table I discovered that the items were not only not free, but that the hotel was selling them at extremely high prices. I immediately returned the items. This is exactly why we face such a crisis in Medicare spending: when consumers think something is free they consume more of it. If that coffee had been free I know I would be seeing a lot more of you in the audience holding cups of coffee right now.

Having read a few of Garrett's speeches at this point, I'd say they did a good job of capturing his speaking style.

I hope someone on the panel talked about the CBO's findings that Medicare Advantage is draining the trust fund faster than expected and putting the whole program at risk. For conservatives who want to save it without raising taxes, that should be the first place for reform.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Garrett Flips On Stimulus

Well, this was predicted by one of my readers:

Representative Scott Garrett was one on 34 Representatives to vote against the revised economic stimulus package. After voting for the original package, Garrett found something in the revised package to object to. Here's how the Wall Street Journal describes what was added to the Bill:
Millions of people who don't pay income taxes but have incomes of at least $3,000 would receive smaller rebates of $300, or $600 for married couples. This group would include Social Security recipients and military veterans receiving disability payments, as well as their surviving spouses -- a provision generated by the Senate.

If Garrett said anything about his change of heart, I'll post it.

Garrett at CPAC on Friday

Representative Scott Garrett will make his annual appearance at CPAC on Friday. He'll be participating in a panel discussion:
Reforming Entitlements Without Raising Taxes
Ambassador Ballroom
Alison Fraser, The Heritage Foundation
Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association
Peter Ferrara, American Civil Rights Union
Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ)
Moderator: Lew Uhler, National Tax Limitation Committee

Last year, CSPAN broadcast his speech (and I wrote about it). If there is a link I'll throw it up here before watching at lunch.

Shulman on ePluribus Radio

Rabbi Dennis Shulman will be on ePluribus Radio today at 4PM. You can either listen live or to a podcast here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Abate Picks Up Endorsements

Camille Abate announced a couple interesting endorsements today. From Abate's press release:
Richard Dressel, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 164 in Paramus and the membership of Local 164 endorsed Abate on February 5, 2008. Mr. Dressel is widely considered the top labor leader in Northern New Jersey.


Also endorsing Abate is West Milford Mayor Bettina Bieri. Mayor Bieri is one of only two Democratic women mayors in the entire 5th Congressional District.

Garrett Praised for Israel Resolution

As noted in this week's Garrett Gazette, Representative Scott Garrett has introduced a very strongly worded resolution condemning ongoing rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. The bill has been picked up by The Jerusalem Post, as well as a few blogs (1,2).

Among the stronger language in the resolution are these two points:
(1) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the ongoing Iranian-enabled rocket attacks on Israeli civilians;

(7) recognizes that the rocket attacks against Israel would not be possible without the material support of the Governments of Iran and Syria;

The link in the Gazette won't get you to the bill, but if you click here you can read it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Voted Today

And so should you. I'll be mailing my unaffiliation form tomorrow, but I participated. It's super easy, and if you have a preference you should take the five minutes to make sure it's heard.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Get Out & Vote

Here's how to vote on Tuesday if you're an unaffiliated individual like myself:
  1. You have to be registered unaffiliated.
  2. You then have to go with an ID or proof or residence to your polling place.
  3. You declare at the poll which primary you want to vote in.
  4. Then, if you want to hang on to your unaffiliated status, you fill out and drop this form in the mail on Wednesday and you're unaffiliated again.

Personally, I prefer the open primary process that we had when I lived in Michigan. However, this will do for the time being.