Saturday, September 15, 2012

Why I Oppose Reelection of Roscoe Bartlett

Following the 2010 census Maryland revised the boundaries of its congressional districts. My neighborhood was moved into the Maryland 6th Congressional District. The voters of the district will choose between Democrat John Delaney and Republican Roscoe Bartlett. I am posting this to share what I have found out about Rep. Bartlett and thus explain why I am voting for John Delaney.

Roscoe Bartlett
According to Wikipedia, Bartlett, born in 1926, at 86 years of age is the second oldest member of Congress.
He attended Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University), a college affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and graduated in 1947 with a B.S. in theology and biology and a minor in chemistry. He had intended to be a Seventh-Day Adventist minister, but he was considered too young for the ministry after receiving his bachelor's degree at the age of 21.
He later received masters and doctoral degrees in physiology.

Bartlett had underreported property sales by over $1 million since 2004 on his official financial disclosure forms ( a serious crime for government employees). Bartlett said that the underreporting was an oversight and that he was “bit player” in the real estate transactions. Also according to the Frederick News-Post, Bartlett made $299,000 in unreported loans in order to sell his daughter's home, over which he exercised power of attorney.
Bartlett joined the Congressional Tea Party Caucus in 2010. Claiming that he is a founding member, he reports on his Congressional profile:
“I have been cheered at every Tea Party event that I’ve attended because I’m one of only 18 members in Congress who has voted against every bailout bill.  The Tea Party Caucus is one of the new tools, such as American Speaking Out and YouCut, that House Republicans have introduced to help Americans regain the control over their lives and their pocketbooks that’s been taken away from them by the jobs-killing, out of control regulation and spending agenda of President Obama and Congressional Democrats.”
I quote at length from an article from the Washington Post, because it is so telling about Bartlett's survivalist philosophy:
Deep in the West Virginia woods, in a small cabin powered by the sun and the wind, a bespectacled, white-haired man is giving a video tour of his basement, describing techniques for the long-term preservation of food in case of “an emergency.” 
“We don’t really think of those today, because it’s so convenient to go to the supermarket,” he cautions. “But you know, you’re planning because the supermarket may not always be there.” 
The electrical grid could fail tomorrow, he frequently warns. Food would disappear from the shelves. Water would no longer flow from the pipes. Money might become worthless. People could turn on each other, and millions would die. 
Such concerns are typical among “survivalists,” a loose national movement of individuals who advocate self-sufficiency in the face of natural or man-made disasters, gathering online or in person to discuss the best ways to prepare for the worst. 
What is atypical is that the owner of this cabin is Roscoe G. Bartlett, the longtime Republican congressman from Maryland. Over the past two decades, he has developed a following as one of the country’s premier proponents of preparedness against impending doom, even urging the more than 80 percent of Americans who live in urban areas to relocate.
 The Washington Post also has published an article on Bartlett's radio advertisement in which it is claimed that "Roscoe Bartlett is different. Roscoe isn’t your typical congressman."
Delaney spokesman Justin Schall suggested Bartlett’s record showed he was anything but “independent.” 
“The facts are pretty clear: Congressman Bartlett has voted 93.4 percent of the time with the leadership of the Republican Party during his 20 years in Congress and is a founding member of the [Congressional Tea Party Caucus],” Schall said, citing voting data compiled by Congressional Quarterly.
Bartlett is a far-right Republican according to GovTrack's analysis of bill sponsorship. The following graph from GovTrack shows Bartlett indeed on the far right of most of his party:

Recently, again according to a Washington Post article (which includes a video of Bartlett's remarks):
“Not that it’s not a good idea to give students loans; it certainly is a good idea to give them loans,” Bartlett said. “But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.”
Bartlett has apologized for suggesting that student loans could lead to the Holocaust. I am not sure he realizes how offensive is his linking of Americans of German ancestry to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

In 2001, Bartlett cosponsored a bill that defined a person to include "unborn offspring at every stage of their biological development." It stated:
No unborn person shall be deprived of life by any person: Provided, however, That nothing in this article shall prohibit a law permitting only those medical procedures required to prevent the death of the mother.
As I read it, this bill would not only outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, but would also outlaw many methods of contraception.

OnTheIssues tracks Bartlett's votes on a number of issues. Here are some of those votes:
  • Voted YES on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion. (May 2011)
  • Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
  • Voted YES on terminating the Home Affordable mortgage Program. (Mar 2011)
  • Voted NO on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted NO on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (Mar 2009)
  • Voted NO on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package. (Jan 2009)
  • Voted NO on monitoring TARP funds to ensure more mortgage relief. (Jan 2009)
  • Voted NO on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler. (Dec 2008)
  • Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy. (Sep 2008)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
  • Rated 7% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
  • Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Rated 25% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Voted NO on letting shareholders vote on executive compensation. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Oct 1999)
  • Voted YES on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)
  • Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)
  • Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted YES on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
  • Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
  • Rated 30% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Voted NO on supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan. (Jun 2009)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
  • Voted YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)
  • Voted YES on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts. (Apr 2011)
  • Abolish federal Medicare entitlement; leave it to states. (Dec 2000)
  • Limit anti-trust lawsuits on health plans and insurers. (Mar 2002)
  • Rated 22% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Redefine "birthright citizenship" to exclude illegal aliens. (Jan 2011)
  • Declare English as the official language of the US. (Feb 2007)
  • Declared English the official language of the US. (Jan 1999)
  • Rated 0% by the AU, indicating opposition to church-state separation. (Dec 2006)


John Daly said...

Roscoe Bartlett: "In 2001, the conservative congressman — who is in a tight re-election race — 'co-sponsored a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions and would include an exception only to protect the life of the mother, not for rape or incest.'”

John Daly said...

Roscoe Bartlett, running for MD 6th, says he is firmly in favor of family planning. However he voted against Planned Parenthood in May of last year and against family planning assistance in 2001.

John Daly said...

In 1996 Rep Bartlett, representing the MD 6th "launched a full-scale attack on state and local gun-control laws with a little-noticed piece of legislation. The measure would enshrine in federal law the right of Americans to use firearms to defend their families and homes. Such a law would give gun owners a new, potentially powerful legal tool when they challenge state or local laws that violate that right "in any manner.......Mr. Bartlett's measure to expand gun owners' rights in the home threatens, for example, a Maryland law that requires gun owners to keep their weapons out of the reach of children to prevent household shooting accidents,"

John Daly said...

Roscoe Bartlett, running in the MD 6th, in another quote:

A day before his student loan comment, Bartlett called the PATRIOT Act a violation of civil liberties and the “least patriotic thing” he had voted for in Congress. Ignoring the Constitution is a “slippery slope,” Bartlett said, before suggesting a parallel with Nazi Germany.

“If you can ignore the Constitution to do what you consider good things today, tomorrow you can ignore the Constitution to do bad things,” Bartlett said at a Funkstown, Md. town hall meeting. “More than half of our people in this country are of German descent. How in the heck – I know those people! How could the Holocaust have happened? These are the same German bloodlines that represent the biggest ethnic group in our country today. It’s just, if you start down a slippery slope, you could end up doing that kind of thing.”

John Daly said...

Roscoe Bartlett runs for MD Congressional 6th" "On election night in 2010, as Tea Party conservatives were being swept into office, Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland, a 10-term Republican, declared: 'The Tea Party came to where I was. I’ve always been there.'”

John Daly said...

Alex Mooney, the Chair of the Maryland Republican Party, started raising money last year to support his candidacy for the Maryland 6th Congressional District. The current office holder, Roscoe Bartlett, announced he was running again for that seat. Mooney then told the Federal Election Commission that he was no longer in the 2012 race and went to work for Bartlett as an outreach director. However, Mooney told the FEC that he was keeping the money that he had already collected and would apply it to his 2014 campaign for the same seat. It is a violation of the law for someone to be a congressional staffer and run against the congressman for whom one works. But my question is, when did Bartlett and Mooney decide that Mooney would draw a government salary in Bartlett's office.

John Daly said...

More on Roscoe Bartlett representing Maryland's 6th Congressional District: "The mustachioed congressman was briefly the subject of ridicule earlier this year when a staff member took seriously a mock bill sent in by a group calling itself 'The American Mustache Institute,' that called for a $250 tax deduction for facial hair grooming. The staff member sent the bill on to the House Ways and Means committee, apparently without Bartlett’s knowledge, leading to guffaws around the political blogosphere and attacks from Bartlett’s opponents. State Delegate Kathy Afzali, who challenged Bartlett in the Republican primary, said the situation showed that Bartlett had lost control of his staff and “is out of touch with voters.'”

The article also quotes Bartlett: “;The problem now is that your Congress is 90 percent run by professional staff,' says Bartlett, who wears an oversized navy-blue suit with a House of Representatives pin on his lapel. 'Congress people have very little skill set. It’s run by faceless bureaucrats. I don’t need to rely on staff.'”

John Daly said...

‎"Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the Western Maryland Republican who faces a re-election battle this fall, has repeatedly filed incomplete and inaccurate campaign finance reports, and was fined $5,000 this year by the Federal Election Commission, records show.

"A review of FEC data by the Baltimore Sun found that Bartlett has received 25 letters from the agency for incomplete reports since 2009 — more than any other current member of the House of Representatives.

"A March settlement between the Bartlett campaign and the agency shows the 10-term lawmaker was hit with the civil fine for what regulators deemed to be 'excessive and/or prohibited contributions, mathematical discrepancies, missing schedules and inadequate contributor information.'",0,1147556.story

John Daly said...

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett cites two novels for his theory that the United States is going to be attacked by a non-state actor launching missiles from the sea to burst atomic weapons in the air; the specialized weapons would blow out our electrical system. He discounts the Department of Defense belief that that will not happen. He proposes to install nuclear reactors on all our military bases, and would make the bases "islands" independent of their local communities. He is on the Armed Services Committee of the Congress.

Caroline said...

All very well researched, and well said of course. I'm astonished to think that such a character has gotten this far in Maryland politics. Thanks for making the case more than clear that he has to go.