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U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) attacked U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s support by “war contractors” as he hit back against an announcement Friday that appeared to put U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in line to become the next ranking Democrat of the House of Representatives’ powerful Appropriations Committee.
U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D., Wash.), the current ranking Democrat on the appropriations committee, announced that he would not run for re-election. Based on House seniority, Miss Kaptur would follow him as ranking Democrat, and chairman if Democrats regain control of the House, giving her added power to direct government spending to Ohio and her district.
Miss Kaptur and Mr. Kucinich, along with Graham Veysey of Cleveland, are competing in the Ohio primary election on Tuesday for the Democratic nomination to represent a newly remapped 9th Congressional District.
Mr. Kucinich said the incumbent is not a shoo-in for ranking Democrat, saying that the party’s leadership will have a say and that some other members are interested in the seat. And he said she shouldn’t get the job, anyway.
“In her position on the Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Kaptur had numerous opportunities to end Bush’s wars and reallocate this money to invest in Ohio — our infrastructure, jobs, and industry. Time after time, Congresswoman Kaptur sided with the Pentagon and war contractors, not with the interests of the people of Ohio,” Mr. Kucinich said.
“Given her failure in this regard, she should not have the opportunity to lead the House Appropriations Committee,” Mr. Kucinich said.
“The possibility of this chairmanship raises serious questions about her history of promoting earmarks while receiving money from interests she promotes. I do not believe she would withstand close scrutiny. If considered for the post, her close relationships with the sugar industry, the defense industry, and other for-profit entities that have given her money would be closely reviewed,” Mr. Kucinich asserted.
He cited the $10.4 million in earmarks that she obtained for the Great Lakes Research Center in Toledo, which gained her the label “Porker of the Month” by the group Citizens Against Government Waste in 2010.
Great Lakes Research Center, a nonprofit organization, specialized in the same kind of work and operated out of the same location as a for-profit company, Imaging Systems Technology. Miss Kaptur helped Imaging Systems Technology secure $8.4 million in earmark funding in the past and received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Imaging Systems Technology’s executives, Mr. Kucinich said.
The House ethics committee in February, 2010, found no violations after an unrelated investigation of Miss Kaptur and four other members of the appropriations defense subcommittee. The investigation centered on the lobby firm PMA Group.
Steve Fought, a spokesman for Miss Kaptur, said, “Marcy has always delivered, whether it’s infrastructure or high-tech jobs, and now she’ll be in position to get even greater results for northern Ohio.
“Toledo and Northern Ohio will never have a better opportunity to gain clout in Washington, D.C. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and voters can’t let it pass by, no matter how much Dennis Kucinich huffs and puffs,” Mr. Fought said.
A member of Congress since 1983, Miss Kaptur already made a central element of her campaign that she was second in line on the Democratic side behind Mr. Dicks.
Kaptur campaign spokesman Matt Klempner said the news came as a surprise to Miss Kaptur when she was informed of it by Mr. Dicks Friday morning.
“They control all the spending. They can direct federal tax dollars back to the district. She would be the ranking Democratic member on that committee. It would only help increase her influence,” Mr. Klempner said.
Mr. Dicks was first elected in 1976. He was noted for his ability to bring federal dollars to his district that includes Tacoma and to promote the interests of Boeing and its workers.
He said he would complete his current term and not seek re-election, having served 18 terms. Mr. Dicks said he and his wife, Suzie, “have made the decision to change gears and enjoy life at a different pace.”
The winner of the Democratic nomination will face the Republican nominee in November. Running on the Republican ballot are Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township and Huron auctioneer Steven Kraus.
Contact Tom Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.