May 18, 2008
Patrick McHenry loves money- so much that he’s willing to sell his time, attention, and Congressional votes for it. Here are some examples of how he’s been doing that in the latest election season.
The McHenry “Victory Circle”- Buy a Congressman
Patrick McHenry in the 2008 election cycle has taken to handing out cards entitled the “McHenry Victory Circle”, where Patrick McHenry has a list of “benefits” associated with the level of donation he recieves. For example, to gain access to a “Campaign Event” (such as a rally or dinner), a voter must pay $1,000- when a large percentage Americans make less than $40,000 a year. In McHenry’s economically depressed voting district, many voters live on minimum wages ($6.15/hr)- which often means less than $15,000 a year, depending on work schedule. You can see a scan of part of that brochure on the left (click to enlarge).
Of course, for those who are really fortunate and can afford the full $9,200 USD (which is accounted for a couple donation, in one election cycle the max per person is $4,600 USD), McHenry offers a “private Washington DC retreat” with him. In fact, unless you pay over $2,300 USD, you cannot obtain tickets to McHenry’s “McHenry Christmas Party” held in the district.
The numbers speak ill for McHenry. According to a 2000 Census, the median income for an individual in Catawba County (the most prominent county in the 10th District) was approximately $30,000 for Males, and $23,000 for Females. This essentially means that, to meet with Patrick McHenry, a working class individual would have to forefeit over 1/25th of their wages just to meet with their Congressman- and much more than that if they wanted to actually do anything other than recieve tickets to a “Campaign Event”.
In fact, according to reports made at the time this information came out, the brochure is even bold enough to say:
“Your support helps me continue rising in leadership and increasing my effectiveness.”
Who knew a Congressman’s effectiveness was tied to money?
Patrick McHenry protects Countrywide for big bucks, many lose their homes
Countrywide Financial, known best for being one of the major players in the mortgage crisis, now faces a FBI probe in a securities fraud case, after Countrwide allegedly misrepresented the soundness of it’s loans in filings, which it may have done to hide bad subprime loans. Countrywide’s actions may have led to thousands of Americans losing their homes: while CEO Angelo Mozilo made big bucks on the transactions.
It comes as no surprise that Congress had a hearing to discuss these CEO payments, espeically given the situation where many CEOs were making millions as their companies sank faster than the Titanic. Specifically, Mozilo’s payment was $120m USD, in a period where thousands of Countrywide employees have been laid off, the stock price has plummeted, and American families have lost their homes. On that committe? Patrick McHenry.
Strangely enough, Patrick McHenry was kind to the Countrywide CEO, to the point of not even asking any true questions- and essentially giving up his turn. Why? Because in 2005 and 2007 McHenry accepted $5000 in campaign contributions from Countrywide Financial and over $160,000 from other Real Estate PACs. In fact, McHenry’s top contributors are from the Real Estate Industry.
Did McHenry do what many Congressmen do and step down from the committe? Absolutely not. In fact, McHenry only used his time to essentially defend the Countrywide CEO, while many in his district struggle to keep their homes.
McHenry involved in NRCC money theft
The story goes that former NRCC treasurer Christopher Ward had been producing false internal audits to the tune of $740,000- money that was funneled to personal bank accounts and business funds.
Interestingly enough, McHenry was directly tied with Ward, donating a large amount of money to the NRCC when Ward was treasurer- and also to a number of campaigns that Ward worked on. A large amount of money (at least $160,000 that McHenry donated to the NRCC from his campaign funds) crossed Ward’s hands- and a large amount of that may have disappeared. There has been a large amount of discussion that McHenry was closely tied with Ward, both working together with finances for a period of time- a period of time in which McHenry would have clearly known that the audits were being doctored.
Ironically enough, this has scared McHenry so badly that he is now hiring the extremely expensive Wiley Rein, LLC for $3,000 a month- a law firm that specializes in election law and campaign finance. At this moment, McHenry has spent almost $30,000 hiring a law firm to literally sit and protect him, waiting for charges.