Since Congressional turnover in January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has positioned himself as congressional obstructionist number one protecting the pay-to-play system that keeps him in power, and his big money donors happy. So far he's been openly hostile to the effort to raise the minimum wage, held up expanding health insurance for children, and delayed instituting stricter ethics oversight in both the House and Senate. And, all the while he's positioned himself as the Senate's leading opponent to the bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act.
It's time to hold him accountable at home with examples of his role in the pay-to-play system of campaign financing.
We at Public Campaign Action Fund will be airing the above ad throughout Kentucky starting tonight, and we hope it shines a spotlight on Sen. McConnell's role in providing a several million dollar payback for a Kentucky-based company to send MP3 players to tribesmen in Afghanistan. The firm's chief lobbyist, Hunter Bates (who made $200,000 on the contract), used to be Sen. McConnell's chief of staff. And I'm sure to no one's surprise, Bates has raised $120,000 for McConnell's campaigns over the years from his lobbying clients.
While earmarking for political contributors is common practice in Congress, the stark contrast for McConnell's deeds is what he didn't vote for -- body armor for our troops abroad. It seems that giving Afghanis iPod-like music players, which are now used as toys by kids in villages throughout Afghanistan, is a priority, but body armor for troops is not?
McConnell's camp responded immediately and defended the Senator's actions. Amazingly, Billy Piper, McConnell's chief of staff, claimed that "lesson in how government ought to work."
From protests at his district office and his home to his falling poll numbers, Kentucky residents want to know where McConnell's interests lie--with his political backers and his party or with the home state citizens he was elected to serve.
We hope this ad helps Kentuckians see the difference between the big money power broker McConnell in Washington, DC and the McConnell who visits Kentucky on the weekends.