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DARTH VADER:  My apprentice, you have succeeded in ways even the Emperor could have not foreseen.
DARTH ISSA:  Thank you for the compliments Lord Vader.  I knew the IRS investigation was going to help my 2014 re-election campaign financially.
Darrell Issa's reputation has certainly been shot as a result of the IRS "scandal" investigation but don't underestimate his ability to maximize the fundraising machine that keeps him elected every single two years.

Thanks to the IRS investigation, according to the USA Today, Issa has already received a huge spike in campaign contributions to his campaign.

WASHINGTON — Scandal has been good for Rep. Darrell Issa.

The House Oversight Committee chairman, leading investigations into the deaths of Americans in Benghazi and the IRS' scrutiny of Tea Party groups, just had his biggest campaign fundraising haul since he entered Congress in 2001.

Donors endorsed the California Republican's aggressive probes with their checkbooks, pushing the Issa campaign's total receipts to $737,109 from April 1 through June 30 — up from $291,527 during the first three months of the year. The IRS scandal broke May 10 when an IRS official apologized for improperly imposing additional scrutiny on Tea Party and other conservative groups.

According to a Yale University professor, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee is not typically been a focal point for which fundraising has occurred as a result:
Eleanor Neff Powell, a Yale University professor who studies congressional fundraising, said Issa's haul is surprising because the Oversight Committee — which rarely writes laws — hasn't historically been considered a cash cow. Having the Oversight Committee chairman as a prodigious fundraiser could further polarize Congress by giving the party in power an incentive to be even more aggressive, she said.

"It's always helped play an investigatory role, and particularly with Republicans controlling Congress and a Democratic president in his second term, it's ripe for high-profile, partisan investigations," she said.

But for certain people, it appears to mean a lot for Darrell Issa to continue his IRS investigation even though none of his efforts are making any progress nor meriting the real truth:
"I want to see him survive and get to the truth on Benghazi, and I want to see the IRS destroyed," said George Brandon, a former aircraft manufacturing engineer from Trout Lake, Wash., who donated $250 to Issa on June 3. Brandon said it was his first donation.

Brandon, who described himself as a Tea Party activist, called the IRS a "parasitical agency" and praised Issa for "doing what he can against the horrific corruption into which this country has fallen."

Attention to George Brandon:  Where were you when President Bush was escalating the Iraq War and Darrell Issa did nothing to investigate it?

Oh I see.  Thousands of dead Americans over a stupid war isn't as severe as what the IRS has done to George Brandon's base.  Got it!

Then there's Robert Spuhler, a retired community college professor, who believes Issa's committee is the last hope for any transparency in government:

Robert Spuhler, a retired community college president from Glenwood Springs, Colo., said Issa's committee is "the only chance" the country has to get to the bottom of what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed last September.

Spuhler gave $500 to Issa's campaign May 30.

"I contributed not so much because of him, but what the committee is working on," he said. "When you do things like that, you're going to be targeted by the other party."

Wow.  Mr. Spuhler actually contributed a single donation of $500 and says it's not Issa but the committee's investigations into the Benghazi and IRS "scandals" which are already proving to be a waste of taxpayer money if you look at the evidence objectively.

And didn't Mr. Spuhler realize that the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee also found that liberal and progressive groups were being targeted as well?

Oh right.  Mr. Spuhler's more concerned on what happens to Tea Party groups than what happens to the country.  I get it.  Perhaps Mr. Spuhler just wasted $500 he could have otherwise saved for a nice early plane ticket to Hawaii or even contributed to one of his mutual funds or IRAs.  SERIOUSLY, was it necessary to spend $500?  Does Spuhler want to become like the Koch Brothers?

But point being is, what good are these donations going to do for the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee?  The donations are going to Darrell Issa's campaign war chest but there's not much they are going to do that will make the IRS investigation any more or less truthful.

And what if the IRS investigation FINALLY ends and Issa's efforts have still brought him no evidence there was a political agenda behind the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups?  Perhaps then Mr. Brandon and Mr. Spuhler just got caught up in the hype of something that is much ado about nothing, like average ill-informed customers get suckered in to buying products from annoying infomercials on useless products?

USA Today says though, regardless, Issa will likely not face a tough re-election campaign in 2014:

Issa isn't likely to face a tough campaign battle in 2014. Last year, in a newly drawn district, he won re-election to a seventh term by more than 16 percentage points.
USA Today may be correct if say it looks at the 2012 CA-49 election results as a basis for what 2014 may look like for Darrell Issa's re-election.

However, as the key Kossack who covered 2012 Democratic challenger Jerry Tetalman's campaign, not to mention having the opportunity to interview Tetalman on phone before, I can tell you that from what I know about the trends in the CA-49 district that Issa represents and information on the ground, USA Today's assessment is premature at this point.

1)  Darrell Issa did NOT campaign even once during 2012 while Jerry Tetalman did and like Paul Ryan refused to debate Rob Zerban, Issa refused to debate Tetalman.  If you have someone like Tetalman who, like Zerban, campaigned as months prior to the beginning of 2012 but after repeated requests to Issa could not debate him, that indicates that either Issa really doesn't do much outreach to his constituents.

2)  The CA-49 district is not as red as it used to be.  This isn't to say it's a toss-up or a lean Democrat (not even close to those categories at this point) but it's not deep red either.  Due to redistricting, more Democratic and Decline-to-State (can be considered Independent voter registration) numbers increased.  Furthermore, San Diego County in 2012 experienced a more competitive voter registration among Democrats vs. Republicans.  A good chunk of California's 49th District represents the Northern Coastal areas of San Diego, plus a small portion of Orange County.  You could argue that, yes, the CA-49 district is still very conservative but guess what:  San Diego County has been traditionally conservative as well.

      Observe the following bit of insight on San Diego voter registration in 2012:

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Republicans edged ahead of Democrats in voter registration in San Diego County for the first time in two years, according to a report released Tuesday by the Registrar of Voters office.

Of the 1.46 million registered voters in the county, 510,792 are affiliated with the GOP and 510,692 are with the Democratic Party, a difference of 100. Both parties are at 35 percent, according to the county registration report, which tabulated figures through Friday.

The last report in which the Republicans had a county registration advantage was in September 2010.

Note that when this story was reported, it also mentions the last report in which the Republicans had a county registration advantage was in September 2010.

Also here's this part in the article to note circa 9/4/12:

The Democrats still have a sizable statistical advantage within the city of San Diego as of the end of July, according to records kept by the city clerk's office.

Of nearly 632,000 registered voters, 40 percent are Democrats and 28 percent belong to the GOP. Another 27 percent are declined-to-state.

Then this came in from the San Diego Union Tribute a month later:

San Diego County is blue again.

A month after Republicans touted an ever-so-slender lead in registered voters, local Democrats have once again resumed the distinction.

County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler released a report last week showing that, as of Sept. 30, Democrats had taken the lead by 3,881 voters. Of the county’s 1.48 million registered voters, 518,463 were Democrats and 514,582 were Republicans.

Democrats noted the registration shift over the last month — when Republicans clung to an advantage of 100 voters — was among the largest swings between the political parties since 2008.

Arguably, the numbers have fluctuated from time to time from either Democratic to Republican territory and yes, 2012 was also the year which President Barack Obama ran for re-election and won but if these voter registration numbers hold or at least go more in favor towards the Democratic Party, it appears that no longer is San Diego County as conservative as it used to be, at least by assessing the 2012 voter registration results.  

Then here's this bit of information on CA-49 voter registration as of 2/10/13 per the California Secretary of State office:

So with the CA-49 voter registration holding, the following is evident:

Democratic voter registrations:  106,521 representing 29% of the total votes in the district

Republican voter registrations:  152,054 representing 41.3% of the total votes in the district

So as we can see here, Republican voter registration outnumbers Democratic voter registration by 45,533 votes (or 12.3%).  Sounds alarming, right?

But wait, what about the Independent or Decline-to-State voters?  Here are the following stats:

Decline-to-State/Independent:  90,015 representing 24.5% of the votes in the district.  

These 90,015 non-party affiliated voters in the CA-49 district may be disillusioned by political parties or may just prefer to be Independent and make their own judgments.  But let's assume for the sake of the argument that these Decline-to-State/Independent voters are more persuaded by arguments on the Democratic Party's side:

Democratic voter registration + Decline-to-State Voter Registration
=106,521 + 90,015 Leaning towards Democrats
=196,536 voters for Democratic Party vs. 152,054 voters for the Republican Party.

This means then if a credible 2014 Democratic challenger happens to have the ability to tap into these numbers, both Democratic and Decline-to-State, then the eventual November 2014 voting rally could mean 53% in his favor vs. 41% for Darrell Issa.

I know, some of you think this hypothetical is far-fetched.  But look at these numbers:

In covering the Jerry Tetalman 2012 campaign, I can point out to you he got no help from any grassroots group outside of San Diego County, no help from the DNC, no help from the DCCC, no help from even Democracy for America of all organizations.  However, he raised $131,168 and spent $127,720 with lots of grassroots campaigning compared to Darrell Issa who raised $2,478,710 and spent $1,115,222 but did little to no campaigning:

So going back to USA Today's argument, how can Issa be assured of re-election in 2014 if the following hypothetical situations happen?

1)  A Democratic challenger to Darrell Issa in 2014 emerges.
2)  The Democratic challenger campaigns many months in advance prior to November 2014 and does so intensely.
3)  The challenger receives more support not just from within the CA-49 district and surrounding regions but also all sorts of progressive and liberal groups in the U.S.
4)  The challenger gets DCCC support not just in promoting him or her but also in contributions.
5)  The Democratic challenger and Darrell Issa actually debate, whether once or more than once.
6)  Consistent GOTV and voter registration drives by Democrats and groups alike in the CA-49 district go on for months before November 2014.

And one last point of reference:  Here's a comparative analysis of some GOP-occupied districts with ratings indicating a Republican advantage per Cook Political Report:

CA-49 (Represented by Darrell Issa):  R+5
WI-01 (Represented by Paul Ryan):  R+3
OH-08 (Represented by John Boehner):  R+14
MN-06 (Represented by Michelle Bachmann):  R+8
Assuming the Cook Report is accurate (and from my understanding it usually tends to be), CA-49 and WI-01 are very close to applicable Republican territory but no one argues anymore that the WI-01 district is deep red, do they?  What reason therefore should CA-49 be considered deep red if it's only +2 higher in Republican advantage than WI-01?

So now ask yourselves:  What do these 2013-to-date influx of campaign contributions REALLY meaning for Darrell Issa?

Yet more cash to fill his coffin?


Cash being donated for nothing?

As usual, keep the San Diego County Democratic Party busy since they're the most local and active Democratic Party nearby Darrell Issa's area of residence (not to mention his local office).

Make sure you mark down this information and pass it on to others for firing up the base in California's 49th Congressional District if you want to target Issa for re-election and get voter registration drives going:

San Diego County Democratic Party Website:
Address:  8340 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 10 San Diego, CA 92111
Phone:  (858) 277-3367
Fax:    (858) 571-0275
Contact Form:

While you're at it, you might as well make a visit or mount a protest in front of Darrell Issa's Vista, CA office at the following address:

1800 Thibodo Rd
Vista, CA 92081

Oh and don't forget, the DCCC could use some action as well:  (202) 863-1500

Originally posted to pipsorcle on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.


How about those cash contributions for Issa?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow... That was a lot to digest... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let me summarize; find a Dem to run against Issa and I will be happy to support him/her with time and money.

    A mind like a book, has to be open to function properly.

    by falconer520 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:06:31 PM PDT

  •  Damnedest thing about tax evaders. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prgsvmama26, LNK, IreGyre

    They have a lot of surplus money to donate to crooks like them.

  •  This is proof that brain science works (0+ / 0-)

    Emotions and gut reaction are stronger than rational part of brain. It's all about the story, the myth, the metaphor; not about facts.

    IRS is stereotypical, hot button issue. As in "death and taxes" but Issa didn't do what would have been rationally better for the people in his district---going after tax evaders and the unprogressive tax code with all the special gifts to very special (and undeserving) people and businesses.

    Does anybody have a breakdown of who his donors are and whether what Issa is doing actually benefits them?

  •  I think we need a combination of things to get rid (0+ / 0-)

    of Issa:

    1. A democratic candidate who will stick with it and run even after s/he loses once or twice. Every two years it's somebody new, and nobody knows the person.

    2. Lotsa environmental activism in this district. That vote needs to be encouraged.

    3. A Latino candidate. If we can get the Latino vote activated in this district we can win it.

    4. Huge OFA activity.

    Ideally we'd find an attractive Latino environmentalist who will stick with it for at least three elections. Give Democrats someone solid to fight for, and the optimism to see us eventually winning.

    And lots of community organizing, starting early and not stopping until we win, which is gonna take a few years.

    I really think the Latino vote is the key. Such a huge presence in this district. Oceanside/Escondido can overwhelm Fallbrook/Temecula. But not if they won't vote.

    Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

    by Fonsia on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 05:11:57 PM PDT

    •  Not sure if this gives any insight... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Point of reference:  Quite a lot of Jerry Tetalman's 2012 campaign volunteers want him to run again.  You can see the enthusiasm just weeks after he lost in November 2012 already mounting on his Facebook page for him to run again in 2014.  This doesn't sound like a 2012 campaign that didn't get traction.  Tetalman though got it much later in the game as opposed to other Democratic Congressional candidates in California.

      To address your points:

      1)  Tetalman if he runs again has activism in his blood and during the 2012 campaign, he always possessed an optimistic, forward-thinking tone.  He's been doing this since the 1970's, both as an anti-war protester against the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.  He's also got an advantage previous candidates who ran against Issa didn't have:  He's successful in real estate, is a motivational speaker, regular Toastmaster and even ran his own health facility in the San Diego area when he was a nurse many years ago.  He's got an interesting history.

      2)  Tetalman is 100 pro-environment.

      3)  An alternative to Tetalman can be a Latino candidate but I don't think it's necessary at this point.  There just needs to be someone who does significant outreach, whether Tetalman or not.

      That being said, a Latino environmentalist can help but Tetalman or someone of his caliber might be a better fit as CA-49 can also be conservative because many people in the district, from what I understand, are pro-business so it also helps.  However, if anyone candidate emerges that is even better than Tetalman and can get more attention than him, by all means, I'll promote him like hell.

      But I sense there is a growing Latino vote coming in the CA-49 and it won't be easy for Issa to grab it.  Even with Issa's approach to immigration, his solution won't be efficient enough and his socially conservative views will be a problem for the Latino vote.

      Part of the reason why I want Issa out of the House so bad isn't just because he's the richest man in Congress (according to what I understand) but that he's the biggest adversary to President Obama at this point and I've just about had enough of Issa.  He already screwed California over with the 2003 Gubernatorial Recall Race.  Now it's time we show him the door on the way out.

      •  I'd be delighted if Tetalman runs again (0+ / 0-)

        That's really the major thing we lack: a candidate who won't give up after one try.

        Most of the time I have to get the ballot before I even know who's running against Issa. It's frustrating.

        Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

        by Fonsia on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:20:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is coverage (0+ / 0-)

          Tetalman, as a point of example, is a very strong progressive and is receptive to a number of issues that Kossacks believe in, including issues we don't talk enough about on Kos.  In fact, out of all the Democrats Tetalman admires, he's told me Dennis Kucinich is right at the top as far as his efforts in promoting peace.  The one difference between Kucinich and Tetalman though is that Tetalman has more of a business, private sector background and Kucinich is more of a career politician.  That by nature makes Tetalman more diplomatic because in business, a great quality of leaders is being diplomatic, whether you reach a compromise or not within the company you work in.

          And so going to the 2012 campaign, it just boils down to lack of awareness of Democratic Congressional candidates like Jerry Tetalman and others who run campaigns that get no mention in national news or even support from the DCCC.  If no one is covering these Congressional campaigns, the Kos community needs to step up with coverage.  That's what I started doing in September 2012, when I first heard about Tetalman's campaign and from my coverage, I ended up getting in direct contact with Tetalman and his campaign manager  and got regular updates on upcoming events.  Both of them pointed out that my coverage on Kos of the campaign helped a great deal in getting donations, volunteers and traction.

          Noting this, one should never doubt the potential of Daily Kos to promote the grassroots machine, let alone liberal blogging communities in general.

  •  Some pretty damming (0+ / 0-)

    testimony today. Unfortunately.

    •  Whatever the testimony happens to be (0+ / 0-)

      Meanwhile, Issa and the GOP are going to press this issue just like they have continued to do so for months and have found nothing to argue their cause.

      •  There's plenty (0+ / 0-)

        of evidence the IRS inappropriately targeted tea parry groups. I don't think there's any WH involvement on it but someone at the IRS was doing it. It does, as the President said, need to be investigated and corrected. And someone should be held accountable.

        •  Oh sure. That I agree with (0+ / 0-)

          But so far, Darrell Issa only seems interested in investigating the issue as it applies to conservative and Tea Party groups.  He has no interest if say liberal and progressive groups are being targeted, which according to credible sources of information has been the case.

          •  No they weren't (0+ / 0-)

            Liberal groups' applications were put on a notice list too but reviewers were told to use their own judgement. Conservative groups went automatically to a special review in DC office. Held up for two years or more.

            •  I'm getting this new information from CBS News (0+ / 0-)

              Not sure if this changes what you know so far but this is the latest update I've received.

              In the CBS video, it's reported that liberal groups were flagged.  Targeted?  Well, according to what CBS News reports, nothing as of yet has been classified against liberal groups as being "targeted" as opposed to "flagged" in the IRS.


              •  As I stated earlier (0+ / 0-)

                some (between six and three) progressive groups were included in flagged lists but agents were told to use their best judgement to determine approval. OTH conservative groups were automatically sent to another level of scrutiny in DC.

                •  Right. Then that makes sense (0+ / 0-)

                  But unfortunately, as Darrell Issa has organized the hearings, they're only about Tea Party groups, not about any additional investigation into what happened with the liberal groups in the flagging lists.  There's not that much talk on this except what Elijah Cummings is pointing out.

                  Even as there's no targeting of liberal groups, there still should be some objective investigation (and I say "objective" with emphasis) into the criteria in general and why liberal groups were flagged in the first place.

                  •  There wasn't any targeting (0+ / 0-)

                    of liberal groups. They were treated by first reviewers and were only told to use their best judgement about these groups. According to the lookout lists released by Sander Levin there were 6 groups. Alternatively all conservative group applications ere as a matter of policy, as directed from Lerner's boss- the IRS counsel, sent to DC.

                    "Elizabeth Hofacre, a specialist in the Cincinnati office, said Tea Party groups got caught up in an atypical process in which lawyers in Washington controlled every step of the process."
                    It does need to be objective, but something is really fishy there.
                    •  Well, it may be within IRS itself (0+ / 0-)

                      The reference "Washington" is vague because Washington is Washington DC and there are quite a few agencies and sects in government in the DC area.  

                      However, while the "Washington" reference keeps getting mentioned, in my view it's very likely to be coming from the IRS itself as I see no evidence it's coming from the White House from the information that has been provided.  Issa keeps contradicting himself all the time that it's hard to see any balance in the committee.

                      •  Oh I doubt it is Obama (0+ / 0-)

                        but someone higher up the food chain in DC ordered this. I wish Issa would chill and Dems like Cummings would as well.

                        •  Yes. I'm interested to see the final conclusion (0+ / 0-)

                          In all honesty, I think Issa is blowing up this IRS investigation out of proportion, much like he's done in the Fast & Furious, contraception and Benghazi hearings.  He's really only being a Congressman who just cares about putting leverage to himself, not so much into what any of his actions in Congress mean to anyone else.

                          And how else does it explain why Issa is getting all these campaign contributions this year?  

                          •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

                            but the IRS thing is a big deal. A partisan IRS harassing your political enemies is frighteningly Nixonian. I cannot believe so few on our side care about this just because it is "the other guys".

                            If you were to reverse the party names there would an uproar here rather than excuses. Precedents get set and they will run things again one day.

                          •  Well yes. That is frightening re: the IRS (0+ / 0-)

                            As much as I can't stand or agree with the Tea Party crowd, they are still Americans and their concerns should be fully listened to.  The IRS has for the longest time, at least historically, been non-partisan for my understanding.  Any animosity people have towards the organization mostly had to do with the annoying and aggraving process of filing out taxes and tax returns.

                            However, as crazy as the IRS methods are, there are Tea Party folks who want to end the IRS.  I'd say reforming it is what's needed but we still need a tax revenue collecting service to deal with the taxes people and organizations pay.

                          •  Definitely (0+ / 0-)

                            There are some who just as soon do without taxes. Not sure where they think any services would flow from. Maybe they would pave their own roads? Idiots.

                            But yeah the IRS is a huge and perhaps somewhat byzantine operation. Some tax code simplification would certainly be nice. And the complex morass of deductions, credits and loopholes should be revisited.  

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