Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From Dallas Morning News: "Sessions is silent on e-mail sent to accused banker R. Allen Stanford"

This article from Dallas Morning News is really just a recap of the Miami Herald article, but Sessions Watch readers were especially interested in this online editorial because of the comments, like:
Pete Sessions needs to share the love with the Stanford VICTIMS and not just Allen Stanford.
"I love you.....?" Wish Congressman Pete would feel the same way about his constituents. Voters, please remember this love note next election!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pete Sessions to Allen Stanford: I love you and believe in you."

Our thanks to all the Sessions Watch readers who sent the link to this story, from Miami Herald:
Just hours after federal agents charged banker Allen Stanford with fleecing investors of $7 billion, the disgraced financier received a message from one of Congress' most powerful members, Pete Sessions.

``I love you and believe in you,'' said the e-mail sent on Feb. 17. ``If you want my ear/voice -- e-mail,'' it said, signed ``Pete.''

The message from the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee represents one of the many ties between members of Congress and the indicted banker that have caught the attention of federal agents...

...Sessions, 54, a longtime House member from Dallas who met with Stanford during two trips to the Caribbean, did not respond to interview requests.

Supporters say the lawmaker, who received $44,375 from Stanford and his staff, was not assigned to any of the committees with oversight over Stanford's bank and brokerages.

His press secretary, Emily Davis, said she was unable to comment on the e-mail sent at 11:31 a.m. on the day Stanford was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ``I haven't seen it, so I can't verify its authenticity at this time,'' she said.

But the message found on Stanford's computer servers and the contributions he made to Sessions and other lawmakers -- totaling $2.3 million -- are now part of the government's inquiry...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pete Sessions was against Parker Griffith before he was for him

Thanks to our Sessions Watch readers in Alabama who sent this latest bit of flip-floppery; when Parker Griffith (AL-5) was running as a Democrat for Congress, the NRCC ran this ad against him:
The NRCC effort failed, and Parker Griffith won; but today, the conservative Democrat switched parties, and is now a Republican. So now, Pete Sessions is lavishing praise on Parker Griffith:
Sessions: Congressman Griffith’s party affiliation may have changed, but his conservative principles, values and commitment to Alabama families has never wavered
So...if he had conservative principles all along, what's with the ad claiming he has "shameful conduct and can't be trusted"?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pete Sessions highlights his own idiotic remark on YouTube

(h/t David Smith for finding this clip of Pete Sessions' one-liner during the debate on finance reform).

The one-liner Sessions tosses off is in response to Rep. Ed Perlmutter's personal story about his Ukrainian grandfather's continued struggles with nuances of the English language, even after becoming a successful businessman and spending 40 years mastering the language. Perlmutter's point pertaining to today's financial crisis is that a lot of the fraud we've seen in the financial services industry comes from con-artists who take advantage of people for whom English is their second language.

At first glance, this clip appears to be a "gotcha" from Daily Kos, Huffington Post, or some other left-leaning blog because it makes Pete Sessions look so terribly unprofessional. But no, Pete Sessions is so proud of following Perlmutter's statement with the line "pin the tail on the donkey" that he posted this video on his own YouTube site:

The Sessions Watch team often hears criticism that we're "trying to make Pete Sessions look like an idiot." We offer this video as a rebuttal to that accusation; and in defense of Pete, we acknowlege that he's perfectly capable of looking like an idiot all on his own, without assistance from us.

UPDATE: Below is a transcript of the video:
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7): Thank you, Madame Speaker, and I would just say to my friend from the Financial Services Committee two things as to his amendments. It was in January of '09, the last month that George Bush was in office, that we had the highest job loss throughout this whole period. Since that time, it has been shrinking. So, under the Bush Administration, tremendous job loss in '08, up to four million jobs. And it has been those jobs, job losses have been shrinking ever since. I'd also say to my friend from the Financial Services Committee, we had this debate in the committee on the language issue and as he knows, I'm [from?] the Ukraine, my grandfather came over here, was a successful business man, but even over a forty, fifty year period he had difficulty with the written language. And where we've seen so much fraud and so much con-artistry is with people who have a difficulty with the language being taken advantage of. And part of this bill, the Consumer Protection Bill, is so that we avoid that kind of fraud and schemery because of people who can't speak...[fade out]

[fade in: Pete Sessions]:

Pete Sessions (R-TX-32): Thank you, Madame Speaker, you know, Madame Speaker, the gentleman from Colorado keeps trying to search and search and search and find who to pin this on. This bad economy, job loss. Well I would direct the gentleman that's something we've known for a long, long time in this country. The answer is pin the tail on the donkey. Madame Speaker, at this time, I would like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from Clinton Township, New Jersey, the gentleman Mr. Lance.

Federal Judge throws out "Defund ACORN" bill

Those hoping the "de-fund ACORN" bill would bring down the entire military-industrial complex are out of luck; a federal judge has ruled that it's a bill of attainder, which is unconstitutional.

Legal junkies can study Article I Clause 3 to their hearts' content at FindLaw; for everybody else, here's a brief explanation. A bill of attainder is a writ singling out a person or a group of persons for punishment, essentially declaring them guilty without giving them a trial.

In the old days, kings used bills of attainder to execute people they didn't like, which is why our founding fathers put trial by jury and a clause about bills of attainder into the Constitution.

You'd think members of Congress would know better than to write a bill singling out one organization so blatantly.

But Pete Sessions was one of the first to co-sponsor John Boehner's bill and used the vote to score political points in his weekly newsletter of Sept. 19, 2009.

All the Republicans voted for it, as well as most of the Democrats--egged on by Alan Grayson, who pointed out that the wording of the bill ("To prohibit the Federal Government from awarding contracts, grants, or other agreements to, providing any other Federal funds to, or engaging in activities that promote certain indicted organizations") could be used to bring down the entire military-industrial complex. He and all but 75 Democrats voted for it, and Alan Grayson went to work compiling a list of organizations that have committed fraud against the government--including such military contractors as Halliburton, Lockheed-Martin and Blackwater.

But those of us waiting for this bill to go all the way to the President's desk are out of luck; as the 75 nay-voting Democrats tried to tell us, it's a bill of attainder after all. The subtitle of the bill, "Defund ACORN Act," is a dead giveaway, as well as Section 2 Part C that singles out ACORN specifically.

If Pete Sessions and the U.S. Congress are serious about fighting fraud, they'll re-write this bill, omitting the section about ACORN, and send it back through for a vote. The Sessions Watch team is very interested to know if Pete Sessions would support such a revised bill.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pete Sessions tops "Greed and Abuse" list

From Reader's Digest comes this list of the Top 7 Tales of Greed and Abuse In 2009. In the Number 1 slot is our congressman, Pete Sessions:
Air Pork One
On his congressional website, Texas Republican Pete Sessions called earmarks “a symbol to the American people of a broken Washington.” So how does Sessions explain the $1.6 million budget earmark for dirigible research that he steered to an Illinois company represented by one of his former aides? As reported in July, Sessions directed the money to Jim G. Ferguson & Associates, which is not located in the congressman's district—and whose founders have no experience in aviation or engineering, let alone blimp building. Sessions's office denied that the role of former aide Adrian Plesha, who made nearly $450,000 lobbying for the company, had anything to do with Sessions's support for the earmark. If you believe that, I've got a blimp to sell you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pete Sessions dodges primary challenger at town hall

At a town hall meeting Saturday morning, Pete Sessions used a staff member to help him scoot out without having to face talking to primary challenger David Smith--no big surprise to Sessions Watchers who've seen him cut and run after debates to avoid constituents. What a coward.

None of the Sessions Watch writers were available to cover Saturday's town hall meeting, but David Smith has a good account of the event posted at The Examiner: "Same old same old" at Sessions Town Hall. The title is a direct quote from an attendee, who stopped to talk to Mr. Smith after listening to Pete Sessions for long enough.

According to David Smith, about 1/3 of attendees were friends of Pete Sessions--again, no big surprise since Sessions was quoted over the summer as saying, "The days of you having a town hall meeting where maybe 15 or 20 of your friends show up -- they're over. You've now got real people who are showing up -- and that's going to be a factor."

Uh, Pete--town hall meetings were never intended as a party for your friends. Those "real people showing up" are called "constituents." You know, the people you're supposed to be serving in Washington? They'd like to hear from you every now and then!

If any Sessions Watch readers went to the town hall, feel free to post your impressions of the event in the comment box below.