Just as folks around here started getting ready for a special election, announcing their plans to run for the soon-to-be-empty Congressional seat, and congratulating each other for knowing a guy who will be serving in the Cabinet, the New York Times comes along and applies the brakes.
The Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer revealed in an article entitled Trump Budget Nominee Did Not Pay Taxes for Employee that Mulvaney told the Senate Budget Committee “I have come to learn during the confirmation review process that I failed to pay FICA and federal and state unemployment taxes on a household employee for the years 2000-2004.”
The taxes were due for a nanny, according to an article from Politico’s Seung Min Kim, precisely the same issue that derailed Bill Clinton’s nomination for Attorney General, Zoe Baird, and the woman that was Clinton’s second choice, Federal judge Kimba Wood. Other Cabinet picks have likewise had step aside from their nominations because of similar issues, including former Senator Tom Daschle, who neglected to pay taxes for a personal driver and declined to be further considered as President Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary.
So this has happened before, and it’s never ended well for a nominee.
As it turns out, Mulvaney has faced questions regarding his payment (or non-payment, as the case may be) of taxes before. In 2013, a blogger discovered that Mick Mulvaney had owed thousands of dollars in back taxes for as long as five years. The website wonkette.com picked up the story, but it barely made a ripple during the negotiations for raising the debt ceiling.
Mulvaney is nothing if not consistant, advocating for the country not to pay its bills while he neglects paying his own.
He sounds like a perfect choice to be put in charge of things like procurement and Federal financial management, doesn’t he?
You can see Mulvaney’s Public Financial Disclosure Report here.
Do you know something about Mick Mulvaney that I don’t know? Get in touch. But do it soon: his confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24.
When Mick Mulvaney’s official Facebook and campaign Facebook pages went down, and one of his two Twitter accounts disappeared, we had a feeling his nomination to direct OMB was on.
Now that Mulvaney has become a figure of national interest, and those three resources are no longer available to be mined for information, many of you have found yourselves here. Welcome. Read well and follow the links for sources.
Press inquiries should be sent to info [at] mickmulvaney.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Exxon Mobil chipped in $2500 on October 25, as did York County’s favorite cable monopoly, Comporium.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.