Looks like the Republicans aren't having a swell time of it.  Their efforts to hold onto power in the face of charges of corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, incompetence and the like.  At least that's what I see in this picture of Cheney appearing at a fundraiser for Richard Pombo (CA-11) this past Monday.  Cheney's trip also featured stops for John Doolittle (CA-04) and Brian Bilbray (CA-50).

large version

Press reports don't sound like it's some kind of triumphal victory lap, either.  After some talk of Bilbray below the fold, there's a few more quotes on Cheney's hit-and-run campaign stops.

Cross-posted to ePluribusMedia

Cheney's third stop was on behalf of Brian Bilbray, Republican candidate for the seat  (CA-50) vacated by Duke Cunningham, currently serving an eight-year term in federal prison for wanton corruption.  The Hill reports today:

Former Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) faces two contests this summer; he is trying to win a seat in Congress, and he is hoping to win a class-action lawsuit against California's higher-education system.
Meanwhile, he and his two college-age children, Briana and Patrick, will head to court in late July as the lead plaintiffs in a suit against California's university system, charging that students who were forced to pay out-of-state tuition rates were discriminated against because undocumented immigrants who met residency requirements were eligible for in-state tuition rates.
After Bilbray lost his congressional seat in 2000 he worked as a lobbyist, traveling between his Virginia home and California. His children remained in Virginia to finish high school.  Upon their acceptance to college, the schools asked Bilbray to produce a tax return to demonstrate California residency.  "They asked me that I show them my personal tax return when others did not have to file it," Bilbray said, referring to illegal immigrants, who only have to produce a driver's license or a utility bill. "They don't have the right to ask me."

This suit is apparently supposed to pander to the Minuteman border vigilante crowd, because UC has allegedly allowed "illegals" to attend as in-state residents.  Except the Minutemen have already endorsed William Griffith who's running as an independent in the CA-50 race - something more likely to harm Bilbray than our favorite candidate, Busby, whose chances to win are looking better with each passing day.

The thing is, the University of California requires a student to be a resident of the state to qualify for in-state tuition.  According to 10news

Virginia property records show Bilbray claims a home in Alexandria, Va., as his primary residence, for tax purposes...  There are also allegations Bilbray's children testified they lived in Virginia for purposes of paying in-state college tuition there.

Generally, claiming primary residency in two different states for in-state tuition rates, is frowned upon.  So one wonders what the heck Bilbray had in mind filing this lawsuit.  As to his residency in the district, it appears that Bilbray has two other primary residences (also from news10):

Bilbray and his wife, Karen, also claim the Imperial Beach home as their primary residence.
"He's misleading us. He's stating different things, different places, for different purposes," said Durfee.

Neither of these "primary residences" is in the district where he's running for Congress.  For that, he's claiming his mother's address as his primary residence.  Neighbors don't think he lives there, instead stopping in to look in on his mother every couple of weeks.  Bilbray's complaining that it wasn't raised sooner, as if bringing it up now somehow discredits the complaints about his residency.

Democrats are asking the California and Virginia attorneys general to investigate.  If Bilbray lives in Virginia, he may not be eligible to run for the congressional seat here.

Then again, Cheney managed to claim Wyoming residency when he ran as Vice-President in 2000.  Even though he lived in Texas, employed as CEO of Halliburton until he ran for office.  Maybe Bilbray can pull off a three-card monte on his residence as well.  Time will tell.

As to the fundraising event itself, here's two different versions, first from the Washington Post via AP:

Vice President Dick Cheney jetted into San Diego to boost the political fortunes and the campaign war chest of congressional hopeful Brian Bilbray, a Republican locked in a tight battle for what normally is a safe GOP seat.
The $2,100-a-plate luncheon raised more than $200,000 for Bilbray's campaign in a race that has already cost candidates and party committees more than $10 million.

And then a snarkier take, from the Los Angeles Times:
Raising Funds, but not his Ratings

His former top aide is under indictment in the CIA leak probe. His poll ratings fall somewhere between bad and atrocious. Still, Dick Cheney can pack in the faithful like few others in the Republican Party.
Touching down in Sacramento, Stockton and San Diego, Cheney flew as far below the figurative radar as Air Force Two would allow. His appearances were either closed to the media and public, or conducted in lightning-strike fashion.
On Tuesday in San Diego, Cheney ducked in and out of a Brian Bilbray fundraising lunch without ever sitting down, much less eating.


Again from the LA Times:

On Monday night in Stockton, at the Bob Hope Theatre, Cheney materialized from behind a dark curtain, then swiftly disappeared after delivering 15 minutes of workmanlike remarks on behalf of Rep. Richard W. Pombo of Tracy.
The response was strikingly subdued, given the loyalties of his audiences. In Stockton, there were cheers and whoops as Cheney reeled off a tickertape of upbeat economic statistics. But his lengthy defense of the war in Iraq, his insistence that "we are on the offensive" and "have a clear plan for victory," was met with nearly complete silence.

The response was identical at Tuesday's fundraiser in San Diego, though Cheney received a warmer reception earlier in the day when he addressed hundreds of sailors and Marines on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard. "We are going to stay on the offensive and stay in the fight until the fight is done," the vice president told the cheering crowd.

All in all, Cheney's visit brought in about $800,000 for the three candidates.  Republicans: it's always about money, isn't it?

Originally posted to Land of Enchantment on Wed May 24, 2006 at 03:27 PM PDT.

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