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McHenry has been one of
the most completely shameless of House Republicans since his
arrival in Congress, in 2005, when he immediately and
publicly endorsed Patrck McHenry's
brilliant plan to exempt himself from ethics rules as his
connections to Jack Abramoff began to end his career. But he
was born to be cheerfully corrupt: He's a product of the
College Republicans, an organization that trains little Lee
Atwaters, Karl Roves and Grover
Norquists in the arts of scorched-earth campaigning and
wholly irresponsible "governing" on behalf of the monied
interests that bought you your job. The ethos is win by any
means necessary, legal or quasi-legal (or worse, as long as
you never get caught), and McHenry was very good at that,
memorable profile of the then-freshman in the Washington
After the College
Republicans, and a failed state legislature race, McHenry
moved on to truly insidious conservative
astroturfing/push-polling/communications firm DCI, then
worked for Rove, then took a political appointment in the
Bush administration, then moved to the district he now
represents, where he started a real estate company that did
not actually buy or sell any real estate, so that he could
run for Congress as "a small businessman."
Once in the United States
House of Representatives, McHenry personally intervened in a
wild and bloody College Republican National Committee chair
election, on behalf of a personal friend of his who'd become
slightly toxic after he sent fundraising letters attempting
to trick "elderly people with dementia" into donating to the
CRNC. And he was successful! The horrible kid won, against
In other phone
calls, McHenry was more blunt: "He told me, and several
of my friends that we were done in politics if we didn't
support him," another College Republican chapter
president told me. (McHenry has admitted that he and
Deans made the calls but denied that they threatened
anyone's career). Over the course of two weeks, after a
couple of a dozen calls, McHenry prevailed upon those in
the North Carolina delegation to change their votes,
removing three votes from Davidson's column and putting
them in Gourley's. Gourley ended up winning by six
votes; had North Carolina voted the other way, Davidson
might have won.
Another of McHenry's
first acts in Congress, Wallace-Wells writes, was to
champion a bill that was specifically written to rip off a
large portion of his constituents, by making it "much harder
for government to regulate or block the conversion of credit
unions into banks ..." He is a close ally of major consumer
financial institutions with a plum assignment to the
Committee on Financial Services, which is great for raising
It's only natural
that Elizabeth Warren, whose mission is to protect consumers
from unethical and predatory practices by these
institutions, is Patrick McHenry's enemy. You can
complain on his Facebook wall all you
like, but the Republican
from North Carolina is incapable of feeling embarrassment.
And his treatment of
Warren will only make him a bigger conservative hero and an
even more attractive investment opportunity for major banks.
Alex Pareene writes
about politics for Salon. Email him at
email@example.com and follow him on Twitter
Elizabeth Warren gets under Rep. Patrick McHenry's skin in a big
way. Maybe it's the forthright way she asks questions. Or perhaps
it's her ability to be tough and female at the same time. Whatever
it is, he stepped way over the line today when he called her a liar
for not waiting around to testify for absent Republicans.
Ms. Warren appeared for her hourlong testimony as she had
previously agreed to, but 2 Republican committee members were
strangely absent. Perhaps they were courting their Wall Street
friends, or visiting the House floor to vote on another job-killing
bogus repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Whatever it was, Warren had
other places to be, and Rep. McHenry did not like that one bit.
he called her a liar. On the record. On television.
has been swift and direct. Some samples from his Facebook page:
unbecoming behavior on your part to call Elizabeth Warren a
liar. Not surprising, however, coming from someone who serves
alcohol to minors, not to mention things far worse. To hope for
your resignation would be far too much, but you should apologize
at the very outside.
How much does a Wells Fargo prostitute get paid these
Disgusting performance with Elizabeth Warren. You should
be ashamed of yourself. It makes me sick when the bought accuse
New Rule: When you have lost your credibility, your ammo,
the argument, indeed the entire battle, don't even think of
calling the victor,l a Harvard professor who is building a much
needed consumer protection agency, a LIAR. You Fools on the Hill
are losing your minds..
And get this: This wasn't the first time yesterday McHenry had
called Warren a liar. Earlier in the day, he had gone on CNBC's
Squawk Box with Becky Quick and had accused Warren of lying
about the nature of her advice to the consumer-protection agency:
QUICK: You think she was less
than accurate in some of the testimony that she gave earlier.
Why don't you explain that to us?
MCHENRY: First of all, she's testified multiple times that
in terms of the mortgage settlement, she was simply an adviser.
She was giving advice. Well, now it's clear and it's been
publicly released that they put together a PowerPoint
presentation on the terms of the settlement. Now, in terms of
advice, it seems the result was that it's the explicit outline
of the settlement agreement that we're hearing about in the
press. I question the veracity of her former testimony in
relation to the reality that we now see in terms of the release
of this PowerPoint presentation with the terms of the
QUICK: You think she was lying when she testified she was
only an adviser because there's a PowerPoint settlement that has
the terms of some of these agreements?
MCHENRY: I think, well, first of all, if it's advice,
that's one thing. But when the terms of the settlement meet the
exact expectations of Elizabeth Warren's PowerPoint
presentation, I think that raises a great deal of questions. She
insists on simply being an adviser to the president and the
Treasury Secretary. It seems as though she and her agency have
been acting beyond the scope and power they've been given.
QUICK: You think they've been dictating the terms?
MCHENRY: It appears that that is the case. I'd like to
hear her testimony today if that's not the case.
McHenry also repeated these charges during the committee
hearing -- and Warren readily refuted his charges, as well as the
menu of other accusations against her veracity that he raised in
this clip. Most of these were raised by his fellow Republicans, and
were similarly knocked down as strawmen.
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle
(R-N.Y.) betrayed the first misunderstanding, quizzing Warren on
why people getting hired at the CFPB earned better salaries than
the average government employee. Warren eventually noted that
federal financial regulators are usually paid better (but not
very well compared to the people they regulate).
Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) mistakenly thought the CFPB was
unique among financial regulators in having a leader with a
five-year term and in not being subject to annual congressional
appropriations -- neither of which is true.
"I don't believe anyone else in history has had that
period of time as an appointment," Guinta contended of the
"Congressman, I think many terms are five-year terms,"
Warren answered, pointing out that the head of the Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency had just finished such a term.
Guinta then suggested that the agencies Warren compared to
the CFPB actually had more oversight from Congress through
"Those entities I think are at the discretion of
Congress," Guinta argued. "There's an oversight process through
appropriations -- you're excluded from that."
"No, Congressman, I'm sorry," Warren answered. "There is
no banking regulator who is subject to the political process or
to appropriations." Banking regulators, including the Office of
the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Credit Union
Administration, the Office of Thrift Supervision and Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation, take fees from financial
institutions for their budgets.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) grilled Warren on whether the
bureau would make public the complaints it gets. She answered
that the complaint issue was a work in progress, but that at the
very least, there was progress in creating a system for large
credit card companies.
"Are any of the complaints public?" Gowdy demanded.
"Congressman, we don't have any complaints yet," Warren
said of the still-nascent agency. "What we're trying to do is
build the system."
Gowdy also seemed to think that Warren had written the
Dodd-Frank law, and he was determined to know what Warren meant
by defining "abusive" practices as something that "materially
interferes" with the ability of a consumer to understand a term
or a condition.
"That suggests to me that some interferences are
immaterial. Is that what you meant by that?" he asked a
momentarily perplexed-looking Warren.
"Congressman, I believe the language you are quoting is
out of the Dodd-Frank act," she said. "This is the language that
Congress has adopted."
The backlash is just beginning. These right-wing whackos
overreach at every turn, from Medicare to the pathetic efforts to
repeal the Affordable Care Act, to telling constituents to just suck
it up and take care of themselves. They feel so empowered by their
corporate masters that they run headlong into the headlights of the
oncoming train about to run them down in 2012.
Elizabeth Warren, interim director of the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, appearing
before the House Oversight Committee on May 24,
House Republicans really, really
don't like Elizabeth Warren, the interim director of the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Judging by the
latest development, the feeling is likely mutual. At a
hearing of the House Oversight Committee held Tuesday,
apparently for the sole purpose of allowing Chairman
Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.,
the opportunity to browbeat and
viewers got a rare opportunity to see what the "feisty"
Oklahoman looks like when she is royally pissed off.
The context for the exchange came when McHenry
requested that Warren stay late at the hearing to answer
a few more questions. Warren responded the she had
another engagement, and asserted that McHenry knew this
and had already agreed that she only needed to be
present at the hearing for an hour. McHenry denies that
there had been any prior arrangement and tells her:
"You are making this up."
The sight of Warren's eyes flaring
in outrage is not to be missed. Slate's Dave Weigel
located the video.
The climax comes at about the one-minute mark.
And that's not the half of it. First the general news about the
CBS News Investigative Unit has learned a man who was a field
coordinator in Congressman Patrick McHenry's (R-NC) 2004 campaign
has been indicted for voter fraud in North Carolina.
The indictment charges that
Michael Aaron Lay, 26, illegally cast his ballot in two 2004
Congressional primary run-offs in which McHenry was a candidate. The
charges indicate that Lay voted in a district where it was not legal
for him to vote.
At the time Lay was listed as a
resident in a home owned by 32-year-old McHenry but campaign records
indicate Lay's paychecks were sent to an address in Tennessee.
McHenry won the primary by only 86 votes.
Now back to the more interesting part
of the story There were rumors swirling last year about the unmarried
McHenry's orientation, but there was no smoking gun of course, only
Anyway, McHenry household has more
than one man listed as living with him, though all we can tell -- at
this point -- is that they were using it to vote for the Congressman.
So which is worse politically for
McHenry -- voter fraud, or the possibility that he might be
co-habitating with a male lover?
Mike Rogers of BlogActive
has copies of the voter registrations
for other men with odd living arrangements, including a second staffer,
Jason Jent Deans, who was registered McHenry's district yet paid at
another address. He also voted in the same primary that the
above-mentioned indicted aide did. Oops.
Want more? Yet ANOTHER person
registered at the address just before McHenry's first election.
While the NC election records indicate that Matthew Allen Hamilton
registered to vote at the address in October 29, 1998, just before
election day. He didn't vote in that election and did not start
voting until November of 2002, four years after he registered.
Interestingly, the only primaries he voted in were the ones in which
McHenry ran, including a runoff in August of '04...And in that
tightly fought primary in '04, Hamilton voted by absentee ballot.
Could there be MORE people at the
address? Um, yup!
Someone named Neil Everett Capano, on
June 23, 2004 was also registered at Rep. McHenry's abode. Patrick's
busy, but he clearly provides a lot of hospitality!
Watch McHenry, who represents
conservative Hickory and Mooresville, bleat about his opposition to
marriage equality on the House floor:
UPDATE: My NC blogger pal
Matt Hill Comer
weighs in on the brouhaha, in his post "Patrick McHenry's night-time
I'm sure somebody will end up
claiming that Lay doesn't live with McHenry. If that is claimed,
then it just seems as though McHenry's been getting secret
night-time visits from his good "pal" Lay.
Matt then points to this
which has a damning observation about Michael Aaron Lay.
My question is this: Is it really
appropriate and seemly for a 29/30 year old Congressman to be
sharing his home with a 23/24 year old law student on a
weekday/school night such that the young college student is up at
4:30 am and headed back to school at 5:00 am. In my opinion there
are only a few good reasons for a young man to drive 3 1/2 hours on
a Wednesday after classes to spend the night with someone and then
get up the next morning at 4:30 and drive the 3 1/2 drive back to
make his classes. I cannot imagine what legitimate tasks in this
"Age of Information" could not be accomplished over phone, fax and
internet. If this young man's visit was not for inappropriate
reasons, at least our Congressman should realize and avoid such an
obvious "appearance of impropriety". Michael Aaron Lay is a young
man compared to Patrick McHenry. It should be obvious to the
Congressman and anyone else that a single man in Patrick's position
would be well advised to avoid overnight guests who find it
necessary to scuttle out of town on a school night before the sun is
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