For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 5, 2004
An Assault on Civil Rights and American Democracy
Dr. David Sanders, candidate for the office of U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District of the State of Indiana, discussed the Patriot Act and the nature of terrorism.
"The initial vote on the Freedom to Read Amendment, which would have stopped the assault on the civil rights of library and bookstore patrons, favored its passage. But then the Republican leadership arbitrarily extended the time for the vote and twisted the arms of Republican Congressman who had supported the Amendment. There was finally a tie vote on the Amendment. Congressman Buyer opposed the Freedom to Read."
"These strong-arm tactics have become typical of the Republican Congressional leadership. Middle-of-the-night votes, incredibly extended voting periods, arm-twisting and bribery are subverting the House of Representatives. Yes, bribery. The Medicare bill fiasco exemplified all of these elements. Retiring Republican Representative Nick Smith from Michigan has asserted that an attempt was made to bribe him. He said that he was offered $100, 000 by a fellow Congressman for the campaign of his son, who seeks to replace him, if he would vote for the Medicare bill. Campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies were mentioned as a source of the money.
The publication, The Hill, mentions the names of six Congressmen who tried to persuade Representative Smith to switch his vote. It is probable that one of the Congressmen named was the one who offered Representative Smith the bribe. Congressman Buyer is one of those six. His close friend, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who had to resign from Congress because of his accepting bribes from military contractors, was another. Tom Delay was reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee for his role in this affair.
Congressman Buyer also is a major recipient of pharmaceutical industry contributions. He recently tried to pay them back with a provision specifically designed to enrich these pharmaceutical industry contributors. This blatant attempt to reward special interests with taxpayer money was too much even for Congress and was rejected.
"This would not be the first time that questions about Congressman Buyerís ethics have been investigated by the House Ethics Committee.
"I donít know exactly what went on in the House chamber the night and early morning of the Medicare bill vote. Neither does any other member of the public. But thatís just the point. The middle-of-the-night secrecy and skullduggery is an attack on the American legislative process. Has anyone from the local media asked Representative Smith about what occurred that night and what Congressman Buyer said to him?"