In 2002, Christopher Shays [R-Conn] was next in line for the Chair of the Government Reform Committee. "The advantage I have is 16 years of devoted service on the committee," Shays observed. But he acknowledged Tom Davis (R-VA) had his own selling point:
"'I think [Davis] has an edge based on the extraordinary work he's done to make us a strong majority,' said Shays, 57." There was no secret what that work was.
"Davis, 53, had less seniority than Shays and others vying for the Reform Committee chair. But Shays knew what others also knew: according to The Federal Paper Republicans want to reward him. As Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee [NRCC], Davis supervised a $160 million fund raising effort and campaigned for 40 Republican candidates in 27 states" includng Rob Ney, the criminal Congressman from Ohio.
Follow the story for more on how the contagious corruption of Tom Davis spread in Ohio.
Davis's strength was also Shays' weakness: again according to The Federal Paper:
One factor that may work against Shays is his key role in passing the campaign finance law that GOP leaders opposed.
It is important to remember Davis's key role as head of the NRCC, along with his deputy, uber-lobbyist, K Street Project operative, and Abramoff colleague Dan Mattoon. Tom Davis cultivated the relationships, the atmosphere of pay-to-play politics, and the money for himself, his campaign fund, his two PACs, and for the NRCC. Bob Ney and his American Liberty Pac flourished under Davis's watch.
Davis made sure Ney tithed to the NRCC. Ney contributed $47,000 during 1997-2003. Of that, $22,000, or over 40%, was paid to the NRCC during the time Davis was NRCC head from 1998-2002.
Davis himself jumped on the Ney bandwagon early, giving him $2,000.00 on 06/14/1999 (FEC record number 99034720197).
Davis also supported Ney from NRCC funds. Again according to the FEC, in 1998, Davis’s first year at the NRCC, the support for Ney from the Committee was $1,928, an increase of 23 times the previous year of $86 in 1997. The RNCC paid Ney a total of $7,452. Of that, $3,014, or 40%, was provided during the time Davis was NRCC head.
Davis continues to reap the rewards of his fundraising machine, now using the Chairmanship of the Government Reform Committee that was his reward for his fundraising at the NRCC. Davis couldn't have asked for the job at a more profitable time. Administration outsourcing of national obligations to its cronies, followed by waste and scandal after scandal made the protection of the Reform Committee invaluable. As with the RNCC, Davis was able to turn the Chairmanship into one that generates millions from PACs and lobbyists. Now he is turning to the Senate, and he has Presidential ambitions.
I've written about Davis's ties to Jack Abramoff, including the $4,500 Davis himself received from Abramoff, the $312,000 he collected from Abramoff's tribal clients for the NRCC, and the money he collected from "Team Abramoff for his wife. Public Citizen and CapitalEye have found ties from Tom Davis and Abramoff, especially through super-lobbyist Dan Mattoon, but Davis has somehow escaped scrutiny and has never been held accountable.
Davis's corruption has infected Government Reform and races all over the country. Davis has used the millions he has from fundraising to influence races in 40 States, 42 Districts, 3 senate races, totaling 103 candidates, not counting his NRCC fundraising. His money is probably in your state no matter where you're from.
Fortunately, Davis has a formidable opponent in Andy Hurst. You can be a part of helping Hurst unseat Davis by donating to and volunteering for Andy Hurst. Hurst is not taking any PAC money. Can you donate $11 for the 11th District? Or a multiple of $11?
Nate de la Piedra is the Online Outreach Coordinator for the Andrew Hurst for Congress 2006 Campaign. The ideas expressed herein belong to Nate de la Piedra and do not necessarily represent those of Andrew Hurst, his advisors, staff, or "The Campaign".