Mick Mulvaney is going back to Washington. We’re not going anywhere.

The response to this website over the course of the last several months has exceeded all expectations. Many thousands of unique users visited, and most did so repeatedly. Visitors came from 43 different states (those in the Upper Plains and the non-contiguous states apparently don’t care much about the subject of this website) and the District of Columbia. They visited from servers linked to both houses of Congress, several leading media outlets, Washington think tanks, and fancy law firms. November 7, the day before the election, was the single busiest day.

Back he goes.
Back he goes.

Despite the result of the recent election, people clearly want to know more about their elected officials. Local and regional journalists serve up little of substance on Congressional representatives and candidates, particularly this year, when the bright lights of the Presidential campaign were so distracting. What was once exclusively the realm of journalists now devolves to citizens who value the skills and traits from which those journalists once earned their livings: curiosity, the ability to read and understand sources, and pursuit of the truth. Newspapers have retreated from local coverage, leaving constituents no choice but to believe what they’ve heard through the grapevine or see on social media.

Fact-based writing about politicians, an apparently foreign concept to many, has left critics of this site confused about what they’ve found here. When you see a selection of text in a different color, click it. That’s called a hyperlink. It takes you to my source for whatever assertion I’ve made. It’s like a footnote, but less clumsy, indicating that there is evidence for the things I say: public records, well-researched news reports, resources paid for by your tax dollars that are published by Congress. It’s been said that people are entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. The facts here are true. That’s what makes them facts. I have my own opinions about those facts, but the facts are cited and links are provided so you can develop whatever opinion you wish. Perhaps you think voting “present” on a bill that would save lives is brave, or that saying you like one sort of candidate and then vociferously supporting one that is quite opposite is non-problematical. That may be your opinion, but it doesn’t change the facts that underlie it.

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On November 8, more voters than not decided that the facts presented here did not prevent them from returning Mick Mulvaney to Congress, despite his absence of achievements in his 6 years there. The word “voters” has been chosen in lieu of “citizens” carefully, as most citizens didn’t vote in this election. Most citizens have decided they just don’t care at all.

Though 2.1 million ballots were cast in South Carolina out of 3.1 million registered voters, there are nearly 4.5 million South Carolinians who are eligible to vote. Half of them rendered no opinion on this election at all.
Though 2.1 million ballots were cast in South Carolina out of 3.1 million registered voters, there are nearly 4.5 million South Carolinians who are eligible to vote. Half of them rendered no opinion on this election at all.

That’s unfortunate. From student loans to health care, from road and infrastructure funding to caring for veterans, Congress has the ability to significantly alter some of the most basic aspects of our lives. The members of the House of Representatives won’t decide the next Supreme Court justice (that’s up to the President and the Senate), but they have a voice in most everything else. If you based your approval of that voice on the little letter next to their checkbox on the ballot (R or D), or the familiarity of their name, or the fact that a friend on Facebook said something nice about them, you’ve done yourself an immense disservice. It has never been easier to research someone’s record, their allies and enemies, their background and ambitions. I do this as a hobby and decided to share my findings here for fun. The idea that people would approach their ballot with less preparation than they’d lavish upon a takeout menu is offensive. Those who did so are no better than those who declined to take up a ballot at all. They might even be worse.

It’s clear that I cannot lead horses to water, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be refilling their trough expectantly. This website will continue to be a source of new information on Mick Mulvaney and the issues that affect the 5th Congressional District. I am dismayed to be represented by him, but not discouraged from continuing to speak out.

Coming soon: the 2018 SC governor's race.
Coming soon: the 2018 SC governor’s race.

Have a question or suggestion? Email me.

We Can Do Better Than Mick Mulvaney

In this space over the last several months, we’ve listed reason after reason why Mick Mulvaney is the wrong choice to represent South Carolina’s fifth Congressional district. Those reasons include his inability to get along well with his colleagues, his disdain for working with his opposition, his lack of respect for the needs of women, his cozy relationship with lobbyists and special interests, his office-hopping ambition, his failure to accomplish anything substantive, his evident hypocrisy, and his failure to adhere to his stated principles. With infinite time, we could list dozens more reasons why we feel strongly that he is unfit for the office he currently occupies. He helped himself to the use of public funds to support his private real estate projects in Lancaster County, but opposes using public financing to help South Carolina’s young people attend college, South Carolina businesspeople expand their business, and South Carolina families get their first home. He has fought for corporate interests, the same ones that fund his campaigns, without regard for their impact on the people he represents. His disinclination to learn about science forces him to deny climate change, deny the effects of the Zika virus, and misunderstand many of our most pressing national issues.

Mick Mulvaney has proved himself adept at fingerpointing (at John Boehner, at President Obama, at fellow Republicans, at Congressional Democrats) but has rarely taken responsibility for his own failings as a Congressman. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Mick Mulvaney has proved himself skilled at fingerpointing (at John Boehner, at President Obama, at fellow Republicans, at Congressional Democrats) but has rarely taken responsibility for his own failings as a Congressman. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

However, there are things Mick Mulvaney is actually correct about. He believes that those who wish to come to the United States to work should be given a path to do so and a chance to have legal status. He believes that legislators often overstay their welcome, and use their incumbency as a means to keep themselves and their plush positions on a fairly permanent basis. It is this belief of his that we wish to touch upon presently.

Mick Mulvaney has occupied his seat in Congress for three full terms. During that time, he has made no appreciable impact on his district nor has he improved the lives of his constituents in any measurable way. He has not been a force in bringing jobs to this district. He has not used his ability to write and pass legislation responsibly, instead penning unpassable bills that support special interests and failing to build consensus for bills that fairly represent his core beliefs. We believe Mr. Mulvaney is a fairly talented individual. However, his talents as a legislator are sorely lacking. The position for which he seeks a fourth term requires the ability to make positive impressions, build coalitions, and read the needs of his constituents. He has shown no ability to do any of these things.

We understand Mick Mulvaney is a better than average golfer too.
We understand Mick Mulvaney is a better than average golfer too.

There is a better alternative this election. Running against Mick Mulvaney is a young man who has witnessed consensus building at arm’s length at the highest levels of government for nearly a decade. Mulvaney’s opponent is an energetic, hard-working gentleman whose life has revolved around teamwork and service, two virtues that Mr. Mulvaney has in short supply. Fran Person is just 34 years old, but he has seen more world capitals, been in more high-level meetings, and witnessed more personal diplomacy than Mick Mulvaney has in his career. Detractors may point out that Fran Person has never occupied public office before. Alternatively, some may see this as a benefit. Fran Person has a competitive spirit and does not shy away from a fight. As one of seven children, six of whom played Division I football, competitiveness was inculcated into him at a young age. His competitive spirit was recognized by Coach Lou Holtz, who brought him to South Carolina to play for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. That same competitiveness will undoubtedly continue to inspire Mr. Person with an infectious desire to not only learn the job of a congressman, but to be the best possible congressman for the citizens of the fifth Congressional district. His virtues are perfectly compatible with that of an ideal elected official: he is a good listener, he is a solid family man, and he has a wealth of knowledge without the arrogance of someone who believes he knows everything. His faith is strong and his belief in the importance of teamwork is borne out on his resume.

Fran Person is not Joe Biden, but there is no more effective model of a servant of the public interest, one we should yearn for our children to look up to, than Mr. Biden. Person’s close working relationship to Mr. Biden would be the envy of any member of Congress, except perhaps for Mr. Mulvaney, who believes he can work all on his own.

Fran Person with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House.
Fran Person with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House.

From Sumter to Newberry, from Gaffney to York, from Fort Mill to Winnsboro, this district is diverse, growing, and full of good people. Those people deserve a representative who believes doing good is better than doing nothing. If you believe that South Carolina is best served by a team player, if you believe this district deserves an energetic and moral representative to work for its families and business people, and if you believe that we can do better than what we have seen for the last six years, I encourage a vote for Mr. Fran Person.

To find your polling place, visit www.scvotes.org and look for "find my polling place" on the right side of the page.
To find your polling place, visit www.scvotes.org and look for “find my polling place” on the right side of the page.

Nikki Haley Knows Mick Mulvaney Better Than You Do

South Carolinians from both parties have generally given Nikki Haley pretty high marks, particularly for her handling of the Confederate flag drama and the catastrophic storms of 2015 and 2016. The most recent Winthrop Poll placed her approval rating at 57%, reflecting bipartisan appeal.

When Mick Mulvaney was elected to South Carolina House of Representatives in 2006, soon after moving into the state from Charlotte, Nikki Haley already had one term under her belt. She represented a portion of Lexington County and quickly became a star in the Republican caucus in the state house. Mulvaney and Haley were part of a 73-member strong majority in the House during his sole term before moving on to the State Senate as his final stepping stone to Congress.

This appears to be the sole image on the Internet of Mick Mulvaney and Nikki Haley together. Nikki Haley appeared on behalf of Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile, offering her endorsement to his candidacy. She did not take the opportunity to endorse Mulvaney, however.
This appears to be the sole image on the Internet of Mick Mulvaney and Nikki Haley together. Nikki Haley appeared on behalf of Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile, offering her endorsement to his candidacy. She did not take the opportunity to endorse Mulvaney, however. The body language here is interesting.

In the single term they shared in the South Carolina House, Haley and Mulvaney even teamed up on a piece of legislation, a bill requiring a roll call vote any time a law is changed that results in the state spending money. Nikki Haley was the initial sponsor in April 2008. Nine more legislators added their names in the first two days, plus another two a month later. Mulvaney added his name six months later, in October 2008, the last to do so. The bill died soon thereafter.

In 2010, Nikki Haley was elected governor, while Mick Mulvaney moved onto the United States Congress. Two years later, Nikki Haley was able to appoint a hand-selected U.S. Senator after Jim DeMint quit halfway through his term. On December 11, 2012, Washington DC newspaper The Hill announced Haley’s short list of candidates: Rep. Tim Scott, Rep. Trey Gowdy, former South Carolina Attorney General (current lieutenant governor) Henry McMaster, Mark Sanford’s wife Jenny, and attorney Catherine Templeton. As The Hill noted “One name notably not on the list: Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), who said last week he thought he was in the mix and sources say has been considering a Senate run.” The very next day, The Hill delved deeper: “Mulvaney was left off South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) shortlist for possible replacements for DeMint, despite Mulvaney saying last week he thought he’d be considered. Mulvaney and Haley have, at times, had an adversarial relationship, sources said.”

Columbia’s The State also weighed in, saying “Mulvaney was a bit too eager, some say” and adding that he “is too acerbic for some peoples’ tastes.” The paper declared Mulvaney a “loser” after he “went from No. 2 – trailing only Scott in the early handicapping – to off the chart – not even on Haley’s short list.”

Mick Mulvaney was not there when other SC GOP leaders and members of Congress joined Nikki Haley for the announcement of Tim Scott's appointment to the US Senate.
Mick Mulvaney was not present when other SC GOP leaders and members of Congress joined Nikki Haley for the announcement of Tim Scott’s appointment to the US Senate.

Perhaps Mulvaney’s January 2012 comments to GQ had something to do with that. Insinuating that Govenor Haley was not well liked in South Carolina, Mulvaney asked Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott, and Jeff Duncan (and a journalist) over a dinner “So here’s the $64,000 question that I’m sure GQ would love an answer to, and I’m going to try to ask it in a way that won’t get any of us in trouble: Nikki Haley’s endorsement more helpful in state, or out of state?” Tim Scott, the only one of the three smart enough to not throw the governor under the bus in print, remained silent … and he’s the one who ended up with the Senate seat a year later.

Both of South Carolina's US Senators and at least two of the state's members of the US House of Representatives (Clyburn and Sanford) were present when Nikki Haley spoke about the Confederate flag controversy. Not present: Mick Mulvaney.
Both of South Carolina’s US Senators and at least two of the state’s members of the US House of Representatives (Clyburn and Sanford) were present when Nikki Haley spoke about the Confederate flag controversy. Not present: Mick Mulvaney.

Stories of adversarial relationships have followed Mulvaney wherever he’s gone. When he ran for head of the Republican Study Committee, a group of the most ideological conservatives in Congress, this was offered as a point against him. Rep. Bill Flores of Texas said “he thinks Mulvaney and [Texas Rep. Louis] Gohmert would naturally operate in a more ‘combative manner,’ and said, ‘I don’t think it does any good to stand up and beat your chest and say you’re only going to go with the most conservative vision.’” Another aide to a GOP Congressman put it more bluntly, talking about Mulvaney’s House Freedom Caucus, established in 2015 after the RSC proved not to be right-wing enough for him: “They’re not legislators, they’re just assholes … These guys have such a minority mindset that the prospect of getting something done just scares them away, or pisses them off.”

Nikki Haley has come to this district to endorse Sheriff Barry Faile, seen previously, and State Senator-elect Wes Climer, seen here, but has not done the same for Mick Mulvaney.
Nikki Haley has come to this district to endorse Sheriff Barry Faile, seen previously, and State Senator-elect Wes Climer, seen here, but has not done the same for Mick Mulvaney.

Mulvaney has failed to ingratiate himself with his colleagues at every stop. It’s one reason none of his bills have ever become law. While his party is frequently painted as obstructionist by its opponents, there is perhaps no greater symbol of their sour-faced failure to get along as Mick Mulvaney.

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Mick Mulvaney’s Fundraising Operation: Lobbyists, Drug Companies, and Payday Lenders

By the rules set up by the Federal Election Committee (FEC), once the election is less than 20 days away, campaigns have to follow special rules for filing paperwork about their donors and campaign donations. All donations over $1000 each have to be reported in 48-hour intervals, whether they come from individuals or special interests and their PACs.

A look at the first of these filings from Mick Mulvaney’s 2016 campaign is interesting. In two days, October 25 and 26, Mulvaney’s campaign brought in $31,500 in donations of $1000 or more (and an as-yet-unknown amount in smaller donations). Of the 9 individuals who donated that much, none of them (zero) lives in this district. Two are Washington lobbyists. Three are medical professionals from Charlotte, where Mulvaney spent most of his career as an attorney and builder. Two others are in real estate in other parts of South Carolina.

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Most of the two-day treasure trove, some $21,000, came from special interests. The most generous was McKesson Corporation, a pharmaceutical company that makes hundred of millions of dollars a year from high drug prices. Ironically, their $4000 donation on October 25 came just two days before their stock price fell 23%, a response to “a competitor significantly undercutting our existing pricing,” in the words of their CEO. In other words: they donate money to Congressmen to make sure your drug prices stay high, because their stock price gets clobbered when prices come down.

McKesson sales increased 2% in the previous quarter, but fears that the attention paid to pharmaceutical companies gouging customers would reduce their bottom line sent shares tumbling. They appear to believe Mick Mulvaney is a guy who can help their stock price go up again.
McKesson sales increased 2% in the previous quarter, but fears that the attention paid to pharmaceutical companies gouging customers would reduce their bottom line sent shares tumbling. They appear to believe Mick Mulvaney is a guy who can help their stock price go up again.

Payday loan company Axcess Financial (also known as “Check ‘n Go”) forked over $2000, putting them well behind their competitor Checksmart Financial, who has already given Mulvaney $5000 during this campaign.

The average annual interest rate on a payday loan is well over 300%, giving these companies plenty of money to help elect people like Mick Mulvaney who refuse to regulate them.
The average annual interest rate on a payday loan is well over 300%, giving these companies plenty of money to help elect people like Mick Mulvaney who refuse to regulate them.

 

Exxon Mobil chipped in $2500 on October 25, as did York County’s favorite cable monopoly, Comporium.

What do legendarily bad customer service and high prices have in common with Mick Mulvaney? All three are ...
What do legendarily bad customer service and high prices have in common with Mick Mulvaney? All three are …

Maybe Comporium is hoping Mulvaney will turn around and spend it with them airing more ads bragging about bills he proposed that never passed.

No Respect: Mick Mulvaney Doesn’t Stand Up for Women

Women are five times more likely than men to be the victim of violence from their partner. Two-thirds of all women who are murdered are killed by a family member or partner, and just 10% of all female murder victims are killed by a stranger. Millions of children are impacted by this violence every year.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed in 1994, clearing both houses of Congress with broad bipartisan support before being signed by President Bill Clinton. It was renewed in 2000 and 2005, signed into law both times by President George W. Bush. None of these authorizations were controversial.

The law includes a number of provisions, including letting restraining orders stand across state lines, funding rape kit expenses, enforcing harsher penalties on repeat abusers, and establishing the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which receives more than 22,000 calls every month. Since the law was enacted, the rate of violence from a spouse or partner has decreased by two-thirds and the number of women killed by a spouse or partner has decreased by one-third. The success of the law, like its initial passage, is uncontroversial.

South Carolina consistently ranks in the top 5 for number of women killed by domestic violence. Mick Mulvaney put politics over his constituents.
South Carolina consistently ranks in the top 5 for number of women killed by domestic violence. Mick Mulvaney put politics over his constituents.

When Mick Mulvaney had a chance to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, he voted no. Conservative Republicans introduced a watered-down version of the bill that pointedly excluded certain classes of women, but mainstream Republicans and their Democratic colleagues passed the original bill 286-138.

87 House Republicans had the courage to vote to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act. Mick Mulvaney wasn't one of them.
87 House Republicans had the courage to vote to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act. Mick Mulvaney wasn’t one of them.

Given the chance to support women, Mick Mulvaney has failed time after time. He denies the scientific consensus that the Zika virus is dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. He refused to vote in favor of breast cancer research funding that wouldn’t impact the US Treasury. He voted against placing diaper changing tables in men’s rooms in Federal buildings like National parks and courthouses, the so-called BABIES Act. Only 34 Republicans — just 13% of all Republicans in the House of Representatives — voted in a way that suggests women alone are responsible for child care. Mick Mulvaney was one of them. 

Even Ashton Kutcher knows child care is the responsibility of moms and dads (and he lobbied for the passage of the BABIES Act because of it).
Even Ashton Kutcher knows child care is the responsibility of moms and dads (and he lobbied for the passage of the BABIES Act because of it).

Mick Mulvaney’s views on women and women’s health parallel those of those most extreme members of his party, a group of legislators that has not allowed a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 and voted 172-3 against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, now the law of the land. Given another chance to stick up for the women in this district, he will undoubtedly fail again.

What Does Mick Mulvaney Have Against Breast Cancer Research?

From running 5Ks to painting trash trucks pink, most people will do just about anything to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. Millions of families have been affected by breast cancer, though advances in early detection and treatment continue to improve outcomes for those afflicted. Roughly 1 in 8 women, or some 45,000 residents of South Carolina’s 5th Congressional district, will face a breast cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Since 2008, when George W. Bush was President, the White House has been lit up pink to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Since 2008, when George W. Bush was President, the White House has been lit up pink to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A piece of legislation that enables the government to raise millions of dollars in funding for breast cancer research without the US Treasury contributing a penny would seem to be a no-brainer, the sort of bill that can be passed unanimously with a bipartisan rubber stamp.

In 2015, just such a bill was proposed, but Mick Mulvaney and his colleagues rebelled against it. When the bill was changed to make it more politically palatable, over 400 members of Congress voted for the new bill, but Mick Mulvaney still couldn’t find the courage to support women and vote yes.

From time to time, the United States government authorizes the mint to make special coins for collectors. They are typically fundraisers for events or non-profit organizations, which get to keep some amount over the cost of making, marketing, and delivering the coins (recently, $35 for each gold coin sold, $10 for silver ones, and $5 for others). Most of these coins are non-controversial and pass Congress by unanimous or nearly unanimous consent.

The US Mint made coins to commemorate the National Park Service and Mark Twain in 2016. The Breast Cancer Awareness coin will be made in 2018.
The US Mint made coins to commemorate the National Park Service and Mark Twain in 2016. The Breast Cancer Awareness coin will be made in 2018.

In 2015, a bill was introduced that authorized the United States Mint to make a coin celebrating breast cancer awareness. Half of the money made would have gone to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the well regarded charity whose Race For The Cure has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for breast cancer research over more than 25 years. The other half was designated for another breast cancer research organization. The Heritage Foundation, a Washington DC political organization, instructed Republican members of Congress to vote against the measure because $465,000 had been earmarked by local Susan G. Komen affiliates in 2015 to fund breast cancer programs at local Planned Parenthoods. The money represented less than 1% of their total grants to organizations that help fight breast cancer, and would have been used exclusively to help battle the disease, but the relationship to Planned Parenthood was enough to kill the bill.

In a spirit of bipartisanship, a new bill was composed that sent all the money raised by the coins to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which has no relationship at all with Planned Parenthood. The new bill passed easily, by a vote of 421-9. By keeping the end goal of raising money for breast cancer research in mind, officials on both sides of the aisle were able to craft and pass a bill that just about everyone could agree on.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) couldn't be more opposite politically, but they came together as the initial sponsors of the Breast Cancer Commemorative Coin Act in Congress.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) couldn’t be more opposite politically, but they came together as the initial sponsors of the Breast Cancer Commemorative Coin Act in Congress.

Mick Mulvaney did not vote for it. He also didn’t have the courage to go on the record voting against it. Instead, he was the only member of Congress to vote “present.”

Too out of the mainstream to vote yes, too cowardly to vote no, Mick Mulvaney instead voted "present."
Too out of the mainstream to vote yes, not bold enough to vote no, Mick Mulvaney instead voted “present.”

He doesn’t object to collector coin programs in a general sense: Mulvaney voted in favor of coins to commemorate World War I and the Baseball Hall of Fame, among others. So if it wasn’t the Planned Parenthood connection, which was deleted before passing the amended bill, and it wasn’t opposition to collector coin programs in general, is it just saving women’s lives that Mick Mulvaney has a problem with?

The Trump-Backing Billionaire Getting Richer Off Epi-Pen Supports Mulvaney

Remember when Mick Mulvaney went red in the face pointing a finger at the CEO of Mylan, the company that hiked the price of the life-saving Epi-Pen in the name of company profits? The best evidence that he has no intention of helping make the Epi-Pen cheaper comes from his most recent filing with the Federal Elections Commission. Nine days after Mulvaney chastised Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, John Paulson, a New York billionaire hedge fund owner who owns $1 billion worth of Mylan stock, donated the maximum legal personal contribution to Mulvaney’s campaign. No one on earth has as much to lose if Congress brings the price of Epi-Pen down as John Paulson, and clearly he sees a bet on Mulvaney as an investment worth making.

The Daytime Emmy for righteous indignation goes to ...
The Daytime Emmy for righteous indignation goes to …

Twice as many out-of-state billionaires donated to the Mulvaney campaign on a single day, September 30, as live in the entire state of South Carolina. John Paulson is the richer of the two, with personal wealth exceeding $8 billion and control over a hedge fund that is worth even more. That hedge fund has investments in all kinds of companies, but its largest single position is in Mylan and their now-infamous Epi-Pen.

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Aside from their support for Mick Mulvaney, what do John Paulson and the other billionare, Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, have in common? Neither billionaire has ever given a nickel to Mick Mulvaney before this fall, or shown any interest in any other South Carolina race for the U.S. House of Representatives, but both billionaires happen to be major supporters of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.

You'd think John Paulson could at least smile, considering how much Trump would like to cut his taxes.
You’d think John Paulson could at least smile, considering how much Trump would like to cut his taxes.

John Paulson serves on Trump’s board of economic advisors, making him one of the few billionaires to support Trump as wholeheartedly as Mick Mulvaney. Joe Ricketts has personally donated $1 million to the Trump campaign, and the Ricketts family has committed to help raise $70 million for Trump before the election. His wealth is paltry compared to Paulson’s, checking in at a mere $1.57 billion.

This is what a billion dollars looks like. Those are $100 bills, stacked on standard pallets. If you have this much in the bank, you're probably rooting for Mick Mulvaney, even if you don't live here.
This is what a billion dollars looks like. Those are $100 bills, stacked on standard pallets. If you have this much in the bank, you’re probably rooting for Mick Mulvaney, even if you don’t live here.

A billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) is a lot of money, a thousand millions, more than most of us can even imagine. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling (named for a Political Action Committee that has given Mick Mulvaney $16,000 since 2010), billionaires can funnel unlimited funds into Congressional and Presidential elections. In 2012, half of all money given to Super PACs came from just 22 individual donors, a statistic highlighted by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report. John Paulson, whose riches were made when he bet on the collapse of the US housing market, is one of those 22. He stands to gain more than anyone in the world if Epi-Pen profits remain sky high.

It’s no wonder that a New York City billionaire Trump advisor has suddenly taken interest in a little ol’ South Carolina Congressional district that he never bothered with before.

Credit Where No Credit Is Due: A Washington Story

Back in 2010, when Mick Mulvaney defeated long-time Congressman John Spratt, one of the critiques Mulvaney and his critics levied against Spratt was that he had passed only 4 laws out of the 104 bills he had sponsored. Six years later, it must sting that Mulvaney is now 0-for-64.

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-1-33-30-am
Is Mick Mulvaney as disappointed in not improving upon this record as those of us he represents?

To help save face when confronted when that fact, Mulvaney has been quick to point to the 2015 Improper Federal Payments Coordination Act as his major legislative achievement. It’s a pretty commonsense piece of legislation, expanding access to a Federal database on which contractors should and should not be paid. Connecting disparate sources of data together to create benefits for everyone is sort of what government is there for, despite the cries against “big government” that have become commonplace among Mulvaney’s associates.

Three months after the Senate version of this bill (S. 614) was introduced in February 2015, Mulvaney and Democrat Cheri Bustos, along with 4 other original sponsors, introduced a bill (H.R. 2320) that was identical, word-for-word. The House bill sat, unseen outside of a committee. Meanwhile, the Senate version, sponsored by Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Tom Carper of Delaware, passed by unanimous consent.

Senators Johnson (left) and Carper (right), who may or may not recognize Mick Mulvaney if they saw him in the Capitol.
Senators Johnson (left) and Carper (right), who may or may not recognize Mick Mulvaney if they saw him in the Capitol.

When the Senate sent their rubber-stamped bill to the House of Representatives, Mulvaney was permitted to introduce it on the House floor.

Mulvaney’s further contribution amounted to introducing the already-passed Senate bill to the House (where it passed by people shouting out Aye or Nay, like most non-controversial bills) and talking about it for no more than 20 minutes. The highlight of his brief speech offers a rich lesson in irony:

“So, Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank Mrs. Bustos, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Carter of Georgia, and Mr. Westmoreland in the House for helping bring this bill to the floor. Also, I want to thank Senator Carper from Delaware and Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin for shepherding it through the Senate.

Mick Mulvaney deflecting credit. (Congressional Record, December 7, 2015)
Mick Mulvaney deflecting credit. (Congressional Record, December 7, 2015)

This is their bill that we are taking. I guess that is another inevitability, that, if the Senate has the same bill as the House does, the Senate gets all the credit. But sometimes it is interesting to see what you can actually accomplish around here, Mr. Speaker, if you don’t worry about who gets the credit.”

Now, a month away from an election, Mick Mulvaney is trying to take all the credit, pointing to this piece of legislation when asked by a constituent to “name one bill he’s proposed and seen passed in Washington.” It’s almost sad, but that’s all he’s got.

Mick Mulvaney claiming credit (Facebook, October 7, 2016).

 

Impressive Hypocrisy, Part Two

Mick Mulvaney has been pretty upset about the cash payments the current administration made to Iran. He’s sat in judgement on the issue in Congressional hearings. He’s written about them on his Facebook page, scolded the administration about them during stump appearances, and complained about them on TV.

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Reasonable people can disagree on the Iran deal. They can also disagree about the timing and purpose of the cash payments made to Iran.

Those same reasonable people would probably agree that if you spend a lot of time complaining about those cash payments, it would probably be a good idea to vote for the resolution condemning them.

Mick Mulvaney didn’t. He didn’t even bother to show up.

Out of 435 members of Congress, only 14 missed this vote. Maybe Mick was having a nice lunch with Nancy Pelosi instead?
Out of 435 members of Congress, only 14 missed this vote. Maybe Mick was having a nice lunch with Nancy Pelosi instead?

He made time to talk about it on his official Facebook several times: September 6, September 7, September 8.

He made time to talk about it on Fox Business Network.

He made time to talk about being on Fox Business Network on his official Facebook too.

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But, when it came time to actually represent the people of the 5th district of South Carolina and vote, he had something else to do.

All the other South Carolina Congressmen showed up to represent the people who voted for them. Everybody but Mick.
All the other South Carolina Congressmen showed up to represent the people who voted for them. Everybody but Mick.

It kind of makes you wonder if he’ll bother showing up when it’s time to make your voice heard in Washington, doesn’t it?

Mick Loves Trump: Because Principles Don’t Matter

If you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, Mick Mulvaney’s full throated endorsement of a Donald Trump presidency condemns him better than I ever could.

Mick Mulvaney would like to see this man in the White House.
Mick Mulvaney would like to see this man in the White House.

There is some courage in admitting an opinion like his, that the most obnoxious and least qualified candidate in the history of the Republic should hold its highest office. Others play footsie with the idea of supporting “the nominee,” in the interest of being able to deny it when such support inevitably becomes a liability someday, but Mick Mulvaney will never be able to hide from his support. I can at least congratulate him for holding such a bothersome idea so forthrightly, even though it may well affect his future political ambitions.

Trump was the first choice of less than 32% of GOP primary voters in York County and fewer than 34% in Lancaster County.
Trump was the first choice of less than 32% of GOP primary voters in York County and fewer than 34% in Lancaster County.

Support for Trump has little to do with politics. There are plenty of old-fashioned, Chamber of Commerce Republicans who condemn his antics, puzzle over his “policies,” and loathe his backstory. Even some extremely conservative folks have real problems with his lack of experience, his coddling of extreme elements, and his ability to seemingly hold two conflicting policy positions at once. Some of them will vote for him anyway, in the interest of defeating his opponent. I won’t say I agree, but at least their opinions of Trump match their more deeply held beliefs.

Mick Mulvaney’s do not. He opposes nearly everything Donald Trump seems to stand for, yet he stands with Trump anyway.

In a January 2016 radio interview, Mulvaney made a sensible statement: “I’m not a big fan of Vladimir Putin, I don’t know who would be.”

Compare that with the man whom he fervently supports for the White House.

What do Vladimir Putin and Mick Mulvaney have in common? Both would love to see Donald Trump elevated to the highest office in the United States.
What do Vladimir Putin and Mick Mulvaney have in common? Both would love to see Donald Trump elevated to the highest office in the United States.

On the same radio program, just a month later, Mick Mulvaney was asked about his ideal Presidential candidate. He responded, sensibly, “I want someone who can have an intelligent conversation on the issues.”

Then why does he support the guy about whom Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know a lot about the issues?”

Mick Mulvaney often names the debt and budget his number one issue. Fox Business reported that Trump’s plans would increase the national debt by $11.5 trillion. I suppose the debt isn’t as near and dear to Mulvaney’s heart as you might think.

So if Donald Trump conflicts with so many of Mick Mulvaney’s deeply held (cough) principles, why is he supporting him? Over a year ago, Mulvaney claimed he “has a very tough time taking Trump seriously.” What could have possibly changed his mind?

Well, he says Trump would make his job “more fun and entertaining.” That’s important. Wouldn’t want the guy getting bored while he makes $174,000 for working 111 days a year. I wonder if his expectation that “it’s going to be kind of fun” having Donald Trump at the top of his ticket has turned out as he expected.

Many of Mulvaney’s Republican supporters (or former supporters) have found it hard to believe that such a “principled conservative” would support a guy like Donald Trump. “I support Mr. Trump, and have made that explicitly clear here dozens of times,” Mulvaney told people on his Facebook page. He brushed off the many concerns about Trump’s offensive rhetoric or his coddling of racist elements, saying “If I thought Trump was a bigot, misogynist or an outright idiot, I wouldn’t be supporting him. But I don’t think that. I am sorry that you apparently do.”

Mick Mulvaney has stressed the importance of GOP outreach to the Hispanic community. I'm sure this is precisely what he had in mind.
Mick Mulvaney has stressed the importance of GOP outreach to the Hispanic community. I’m sure this is not exactly what he had in mind.

Left unsaid: what Mulvaney thinks might qualify a person as a bigot, misogynist, or an outright idiot, but the rest of America seems to have a pretty good idea. 

Mick Mulvaney and Donald Trump have apparently been a mutual admiration society since before this campaign even started. Trump doled out $1000 to Mulvaney’s campaign in 2014. 

Perhaps the most telling quote is this one: “A lot of the stuff I want to accomplish would require Donald Trump winning the presidency.” It’s pretty obvious that main thing Mulvaney wants to accomplish is getting himself re-elected. It’s an open question as to whether the people of South Carolina will see his affection for Donald Trump as a help or a hindrance towards that goal.