Ferguson's Ties To Lobbyist Cloud Position on Student Loans

As noted a few weeks ago, the Bush administration's proposed 2007 budget includes huge cuts to student loan programs totaling $12 billion.  These cuts will make it harder for middle class students to go to college, and will increase the interest rates on existing loans people are struggling to pay off.

Calls to Congressman Mike Ferguson's offices to see if he supports these cuts have gone unanswered for more than two weeks.  Staffers from both the Washington, DC and Warren, NJ offices are unable to give a direct answer to a number of calls seeking an answer.  Not one person who called the office has received a written response, either.

We may now have figured out why.  One of the side effects of the reduction in funding for student loans noted above is that interest rates for existing college loans are likely to rise, creating a windfall for companies that process and manage student loans.

This includes companies like the College Loan Corporation owned by Cary Katz of Poway, California and the Student Loan Consolidation Center (now Goal Financial) owned by Ryan Katz of Alexandria, Virginia.  The two are brothers in their mid-30s who started their companies in the past 10 years and now manage more than $7 billion of student loans nation-wide.

What does this have to do with Mike Ferguson and his position on student loans?  

The Katz brothers and their wives have contributed $18,500 to Ferguson between 2002 and 2005.  That's an average of more than four grand a year in Ferguson's campaign coffers from two families from California and Virginia.  

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On the Road with Nick Lampson

Cross-posted at DailyKos

I just wanted to let y'all know about the release of our first web video: "On the Road with Nick Lampson." (As a heads up, it's 7 minutes long)

You can watch it from our home page at www.lampson.com

The people in SE Texas know what Tom DeLay is all about and they have said they are ready for a change.  But we need your help.  We need you to forward this web video to everyone you know.  Help us spread the word on why Nick Lampson would be a great Congressman for this district.  Tom DeLay's credibility is completely shot.  DeLay cannot escape his legacy of corruption, debt and neglect for the district so he has no option but to run a dishonest smear campaign against Nick.  Let's head him off at the pass (to use a Texas phrase), and make sure voters and supporters get the facts about Nick Lampson and know why we're so proud to support him.

Thank y'all for your continued support.

Mike Malaise
Campaign Manager
Lampson for Congress

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Corruption is Cowardice

Corruption is cowardice. The NYT reports national Democrats are fretting about message. Corruption is cowardice. That should be the Democratic message. On national security. On the DeLay and Abramoff scandals. On the abandonment of our responsibilities to one another, to the weak, to the poor.

Corruption is cowardice. Only cowards skulk about spying on their neighbors. Only cowards lie to get what they want, whether it's a war for the profiteers or school vouchers for the elect. Only cowards whine when confronted with the truth. Only cowards fail to see that the best weapons against terror are the U.S. Constitution and the people of the United States. Cowards are afraid of both.

Only cowards send others to fight while they stay at home. Only cowards turn their backs on the ill and infirm, denying health care to millions. Only cowards put their profits ahead of security, refusing to arm and to protect our courageous military men and women. Only cowards rig elections, violate election laws, suppress the votes of those they fear oppose them. Corruption is cowardice.

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DeLay's Reelection Chances Going South

Tom DeLay is in deep trouble these days, but legal woes are only half of his problem.

DeLay runs the risk of incarceration on a number of fronts, from the pending money laundering indictments in Texas to the potential investigation into his close relations with Jack Abramoff, but a steady stream of news over the last month has increasingly called into question DeLay's political viability as well. Simply put, it's not clear that DeLay can win reelection.

At the beginning of the year, DeLay began drawing conservative opposition within his Sugar Land district (TX-22), both from inside his party -- primary challenges from three area Republicans -- and from outside his party, in the form for former GOP Rep. Steve Stockman*, who is running as an independent in the race. Early polling from the race confirmed DeLay's delicate situation, showing the Congressman trailing former Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson by a 30 percent to 22 percent margin, with DeLay polling only 11 points above Stockman. To make matters worse for DeLay, Lampson has attained near parity with him in terms of cash-on-hand, with the Republican holding a mere $1.44 million to $1.29 million advantage.

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall sat down for an interview with Lampson this week, the transcript of which is now available online. (Note: we will resume our round of candidate interviews here at MyDD next week.) A particularly interesting section comes when Lampson brings DeLay's ethics problems directly to the fore.

He was more about either his personal wealth, or his personal power, or his party's power. He clearly did some things that are -- not just should be, but are being questioned. Whether or not something comes of it remains to be seen as they go through the process.

Standing up for sweatshops and sweatshop owners in the Marianas islands and then coming back following that trip with Jack Abramoff -- and the involvement with Jack Abramoff out there -- coming back to the floor of the House of Representatives and defending these actions on the floor of the House. Clearly that was something different from paying attention to the needs of the people of the 22nd Congressional District.

Using the lobbyists for his own personal benefit, taking a $56,000 golfing trip to Scotland. That is clearly something not in the best interest of the people of the 22nd Congressional District.

And then, just to pick another thing, the million dollars that was contributed by Russian oil people through a London law firm that came into a charity that DeLay had set up - ultimately some of the funding was used for the purchase of a building that he uses for his political activities. Those have to be reasonable questions to be asking.

Whether or not he's guilty, that's for the courts and the ethics committees to decide. But the questions certainly ought to be asked. And certainly those were things that he was doing, rather than attending to the business of the 22nd Congressional District and the citizens of the United States of America.

He was too focused on his special interests.

This is a race that Nick Lampson can win. Cook Political ranked this race a "toss-up" last month, even before the polling and fundraising numbers became public, so do not, by any means, underestimate the Democrats' chances. To get involved in the Lampson campaign, make sure to check out his webstite.

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Tom DeLay on Ethics Reform: Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy?

Earlier this week, DeLay voted against a Republican-sponsored lobbying reform bill.  The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. David Dreier of California, and it passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support.  But DeLay was one of 50 Members who voted against it.  Once again, Tom Delay stood up for Washington lobbyists and special interest groups instead of the people who live, work, and raise their families here in TX-22.

And if you need any more proof that Tom DeLay is more concerned with lining the pockets of his lobbyist friends in Washington than reducing our massive foreign debt, increasing homeland security, and improving education in Texas, just listen to this audio clip of DeLay telling members of the Rosenberg-Richmond Chamber of Commerce that ethics reform is really just a vast left-wing conspiracy! No wonder members of his own party are trying to get rid of him.


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