Gary Weckselblatt over at The Intelligencer pointed out today that in the 2010 election cycle, Mike Fitzpatrick challenged Patrick Murphy to limit spending on the 2010 campaign to $1 million apiece. Now, Fitzpatrick told members of The Intelligencer’s editorial board that despite now being in the same position as Murphy, he would not limit himself in his race against Kathy Boockvar.
This is wholly unsurprising given Congressman Fitzpatrick’s broken record on campaign finance issues.
In January, Congressman Fitzpatrick took a principled stand insisting that out-of-district contributions should be banned, saying that the rule should be “unless you live in a district and can vote, you cannot make a contribution.”
Great idea, right? I can see there merits.
However, according to CQ Political Moneyline records from just April of this year, Fitzpatrick received 89 out of state contributions for the 2011-2012 cycle, totaling over $92,000.
But, for the sake of taking Congressman Fitzpatrick at his word, assume that he is in fact against out-of-district donations but only accepts them because that’s part of the DC game he must play.
Still, it could not possibly be the case that he truly thinks out-of-district donation should be banned given that Fitzpatrick voted against requiring the disclosure of foreign entities donating to presidential campaigns, as well as donors spending over $100,000 on those contests. How can someone be against out-of-district donations but at the same time not against out-of-country donations?
On that same piece of legislation, the motion to recommit would have required the disclosure of foreign countries, companies, or individuals donating to presidential campaigns.
But, again, Congressman Fitzpatrick held steadfast in his contradictory beliefs that out-of-district donations should be legislated against, but out-of-country donations are acceptable.
But what about PACs?
In the same article where Fitzpatrick suggested banning out-of-district donations, he also said that his desired rule would “get rid of PACs” because “PACs can’t vote.”
Again, I’m liking the idea, Congressman. Well-said.
Yet, based on FEC records from the Center for Responsive Politics, Fitzpatrick has accepted close to $3,000,000 from PAC’s over the course of his career.
It’s another example of Congressman Fitzpatrick not putting his money away from where his mouth is.
And, if Congressman Fitzpatrick is so enamored with public funding of elections, then why did he vote to terminate public financing to eligible presidential campaigns? Why did he vote to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission?
It is actions like these that prove Congressman Fitzpatrick isn’t being completely honest in either his words or his actions.
But his actions are even less surprising given the campaign finance choices Fitzpatrick made in his first few years in Congress.
According to an analysis of his campaign finances by the Bucks County Courier Times, by the beginning of 2006 Fitzpatrick raised more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from PACs linked to Jack Abramoff.
But, once the contributions became politically tough to explain, Congressman Fitzpatrick’s heart grew 10 times as large, and he and honorably donated $21,500 of PAC contributions from Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, and Duke Cunningham to charity, only refusing to return a scant $190,000 in additional contributions from Abramoff-connected PACs.
We should have known then and there, way back in 2006, that Mike Fitzpatrick would be no friend of campaign finance reform. But here we are in 2012, still somehow shocked by the disconnect between words and actions.
Actions speak louder than words. Hopefully the people of the 8th Congressional District will act accordingly in the voting booth this November.