Afghanistan

CA-25: Rep Buck McKeon Proposes Afghanistan Surge

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I suppose Rep Buck McKeon will discuss his Afghanistan Surge proposal at this speech.

With some calling for a rush to the exits in Afghanistan after two weeks of heightened violence, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is looking to add troops into the mix. The bill, should it gain traction, could force the U.S. to change its current drawdown plans.

California’s Rep. Buck McKeon introduced a new bill that calls for U.S. military to guard U.S. entities, replacing the thousands of private security guards and Afghan nationals that are currently being used.

In calling for the bill, McKeon notes increasing incidents of Afghan military attacking U.S. and NATO troops. Afghan soldiers and government workers have murdered six American troops since the news that U.S. troops accidentally burned some Qurans and religious material. In the last five years Afghan forces have attacked NATO troops nearly 200 times, killing at least 70 coalition troops and wounding more than 100. An Army report declassified last year found that American troops think Afghan forces are dangerous and unstable. And many Afghan soldiers and police “demonstrated a general loathing of US soldiers.”

The bill does not specify the number of troops needed but a congressional aide told Security Clearance that the expectation would be that it would not need to be a one-for-one swap of U.S. troops for Afghanistan and private security guards because “American forces would be far more capable and efficient.”

The legislation does allow that if the President does not want to add troops, he would have to certify that using Afghan nationals and private security contractors would provide a level of security equal to what would be provided by U.S. troops.

The President will never allow Congressman McKeon to dictate to him on the Afghanistan issue. Nor, would Democrat Senate majority leader ever allow this bill come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate, even if it passed the House.

So, what is the real reason for this bill?

Dante Acosta.

I will have a post up later on this military father, Dante ACosta, who will be running against Buck McKeon in the June primary election.

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Buck McKeon

CA-25: The Heat is On Rep Buck McKeon Over Defense Contractor Contributions

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Rep. Buck McKeon and his wife, Patricia, a candidate for California Assembly

There is another expose out today linking Santa Clarita Valley Republican Congressman Buck McKeon, his wife Patricia McKeon who is a candidate for the California Assembly and the defense industry.

In past years, it has not been surprising that the chairmen of the House of Representatives of the Armed Services Committee have taken many large campaign contributions from defense contractors. It has happened through many sessions of Congress and included both Republican and Democratic chairmen. So, an article on the current chairman of the Armed Services Committee taking campaign contributions from defense contractors would seem to be an obvious and redundant read.

However, Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-California) has taken self-dealing to new heights and is having those same contractors contribute to his wife’s campaign for the California legislature. The explanations from his wife’s campaign flack and the contractors would be funny if it weren’t so brazen.

Read it all.

Looks to me that my Congressman Elton Gallegly should have run against Buck McKeon to at least clear the GOP Field and preserve this seat for the GOP.

I am wondering what candidates will come out of the woodwork by the end of filing tomorrow at 5 PM. I suspect there will be a few to challenge the House Armed Services Chairman McKeon who seems to have an extreme ethics problem.

I don’t think his wife’s candidacy for the California Assembly will help him much. I am covering that race at Flap’s California Blog.

Stay tuned…..

Enter Patricia McKeon, Buck’s wife. She has been his campaign treasurer for years and is one of the highest-paid Congressional wives. She is 70 years old and touts her role as a mother of six and a grandmother of 31. She proudly lists her background as head of the PTA and involvement in the Boy Scouts. She now has declared her candidacy for the 38th District of the California Assembly. She said that she was inspired to run after being outraged that Los Angeles plans to tax a 10-cent charge on plastic grocery bags.

Well it turns out that many of our major defense contractors are also outraged over this tax on plastic bags and/or other regulations that might be rattling around the California State Assembly. These major companies have given this first-time candidate around 45 percent of her campaign money so far.

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Angelo Mozilo

CA-25: Was Rep. Buck McKeon’s Sweet Deal With Countrywide Financial a Bribe?

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Last Friday at the California Republican Party’s spring convention in Burlingame, CA, Republic Report caught up with Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has been leading the investigation into the massive Countrywide bribery scandal.

You remember the Flap and Rep. Darrel Issa’s involvement.

A leak to the media that identified three Republicans who are being investigated by the House Ethics Committee has lawmakers and staffers wondering who the source is, and his or her motive.

There are many theories on who, over a four-day period, forked over the names of GOP Reps. Pete Sessions (Texas), Buck McKeon (Calif.) and Elton Gallegly (Calif.) to media outlets in reference to an ongoing investigation into VIP loans given to lawmakers by Countrywide.

The leaks stunned the three legislators, who have all denied accepting special rates on the loans in exchange for political favors.

Some are pointing the finger at House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for releasing the publicly sensitive information, though his office is pushing back at that notion.

And, you remember the details of the sweetheart deal Rep. Buck McKeon received which I covered here.

Four years after Countrywide Financial became a symbol of the mortgage meltdown, the company and its questionable dealings have become a potent political issue in the Santa Clarita congressional district held by Republican Howard “Buck” McKeon.

Congressional investigators allege that McKeon and Rep. Elton Gallegly, a Republican colleague whose neighboring district includes much of Ventura County, got cut-rate home loans under a Countrywide VIP program known as “Friends of Angelo,” named for the now-defunct Calabasas lender’s former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo.

McKeon received a $315,000 mortgage refinance in 1998 as his family-owned business, Howard & Phil’s Western Wear, was going through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to documents reviewed by The Times. McKeon was no longer involved in the daily operation of the business after his 1992 election to Congress, but he had retained a stake in it. He saw his income plummet in the years before refinancing his Stevenson Ranch home, financial disclosures and bankruptcy filings show.

In spite of that, McKeon received a favorable rate and wasn’t required to produce documentation proving he could repay the mortgage — terms ordered by Mozilo himself, according to documents subpoenaed for a House inquiry.

The McKeons bought the Stevenson Ranch property, a foreclosed home, in August 1997 for $261,000, putting down 10% and getting a loan of $234,900, property records show. In January 1998, they took out a home equity loan of $31,500 through Valencia National Bank, where McKeon had previously sat on the board.

That October, Countrywide approved the $315,000 refinance loan. The loan paid off McKeon’s original mortgage loan and the home equity loan and gave him $46,894 in cash.

Five months later, the couple took out another home equity loan through Valencia, in the amount of $30,000.

Clearly, there was an attempt by Countrywide Financial to influence Rep Buck McKeon and the others. But, why is Rep. Issa refusing to call it a bribe?

Why, because, silly, they are Republicans and they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

As I pointed out yesterday, this involvement of Rep Buck McKeon and his California Assembly candidate wife, Patricia McKeon in the Friends of Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial scandal will be used in both McKeon’s upcoming campaigns.

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