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What They Are Saying ... About Sen. Murray’s Appointment To The Deficit Reduction Committee

- August 11, 2011

Sen. Patty Murray(D-WA)’s Conflict Of Interest Appointment To The Deficit Reduction Committee Draws Attention

NEWSPAPERS, INCLUDING MURRAY’S HOME STATE PUBLICATIONS, TAKE ISSUE WITH MURRAY’S CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The Seattle Times“She is a partisan Democrat. She heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which aims to unseat Republicans. Now her job is to make a deal with them. If the two jobs conflict, Murray has to do one at a time.” (Editorial, “Sen. Patty Murray’s Deficit-Panel Duty: Compromise, Leadership,” The Seattle Times, 8/10/11)

The [Everett, WA] Herald“Serving in both capacities creates a potential conflict of interest for Murray, one that shouldn’t stand in the way of the critically important work the joint committee must complete by Thanksgiving.” (Editorial, “Time-Out On Fundraising,” The [Everett, WA] Herald, 8/11/11)

  • The [Everett, WA] Herald: “The notion that Murray could buy into a compromise with Republicans, one that might include cutting programs near and dear to Democratic donors’ hearts, just as she’s asking those supporters for money, seems a stretch.” (Editorial, “Time-Out On Fundraising,” The [Everett, WA] Herald, 8/11/11)
  • The [Everett, WA] Herald: “We suggest a different solution: She should step down from her campaign post, at least until the joint committee’s work is finished.” (Editorial, “Time-Out On Fundraising,” The [Everett, WA] Herald, 8/11/11)

The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus: “But perhaps most noteworthy, Murray also chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Her chief focus is trying to ensure that Democrats retain control of the Senate next year, and raising the money they need to do it. Hard to see Murray taking huge risks on entitlement spending, enraging her base and removing a potential campaign issue. She has a built-in conflict of interest that will be hard to overcome.” (Ruth Marcus, Op-Ed, “Harry Reid’s Path Of Least Resistance,” The Washington Post’s PostPartisan, 8/10/11)

The Wall Street Journal“Patty Murray runs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and has been beating the Mediscare tom-toms with more fervor than anyone besides Chuck Schumer.” (Editorial, “Super Committee Choices,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/11/11)

Chattanooga Times Free Press“It is not encouraging that one of the early members named to the committee is Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. She has been nicknamed the “queen of pork” for her eagerness to steer federal spending to her home state. Does she sound like someone who is likely to be helpful on a committee whose stated purpose is to cut deficits significantly?” (Editorial, “Spending-Cut Plan Not Promising,” Chattanooga Times Press8/11/11)

EVEN DEMOCRATS AND LIBERAL GROUPS OBJECT TO MURRAY’S CONFLICT OF INTEREST, SUGGEST SHE SHOULDN’T RAISE MONEY FOR DSCC

Public Campaign Communications Director Adam Smith: “It really sends a bad message to the American people when you’re the chief fundraiser trying to come up with this balanced approach to deficit reduction.” (Alexander Bolton, “Groups Call On Murray, ‘Supercommittee’ Colleagues To Halt Fundraising Activities,” The Hill, 8/10/11)

  • Smith: “She’s going to be focused on this committee and also on fundraising? Will she make decisions based on whether it hurts the fundraising ability of the [DSCC]?” (Alexander Bolton, “Groups Call On Murray, ‘Supercommittee’ Colleagues To Halt Fundraising Activities,” The Hill, 8/10/11)
  • Smith: “She should step down or say ‘I’m not going to raise any money.’” (Alexander Bolton, “Groups Call On Murray, ‘Supercommittee’ Colleagues To Halt Fundraising Activities,” The Hill, 8/10/11)

Democrat Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK): “To have one of the appointments to be a person whose job it is to be the partisan face and fundraiser for the party's senatorial committee is astonishing.” (Jim Myers,” Boren Lukewarm On Picks For Debt 'Super Committee,” Tulsa World, 8/11/11)

Nick Nyhart, President Of Public Campaign, Said Putting DSCC Chair Sen. Patty Murray On The Deficit Committee “Sends The Wrong Message To The American People.” “‘Sen. Patty Murray may be a fine Senator, but putting Senate Democrats’ leading fundraiser in charge of a committee that will see a lobbying push like never before sends the wrong message to the American people,’ said Nick Nyhart, president of Public Campaign, in a press release. ‘Instead of focusing solely on finding a balanced approach to deficit reduction, she will also be focused on raising money from the same interests hoping to influence the committee.’” (Sam Stein, “Harry Reid’s Super Committee Picks: Patty Murray, Max Baucus, John Kerry,” The Huffington Post, 8/9/11)

Project On Government Oversight: “It puts her in a position where she is going to be serving two masters, really. … One is the public interest, but she’s also going to be very involved in trying to woo some of these big donors. It really puts her in a position where she’s going to be under a lot of pressure.” (Manu Raju, “Can Patty Murray Balance Politics And Super Committee?” Politico, 8/10/11)

Center For Responsive Politics Questioned Whether Murray’s Post As “Fundraiser In Chief In The Senate” Will Be Able To Resist Special Interests. “‘As fundraiser in chief in the Senate, it calls into question whether these appointees will in fact be able to stand down and hold off the influence barrage during this period,’ [Center For Responsive Poliitcs’ Sheila] Krumholz said. ‘The question is … whether these committee members are ready to keep their eyes trained on the issues and not on the fundraising opportunity and the lobbying campaign that this represents.’” (Manu Raju, “Can Patty Murray Balance Politics And Super Committee?” Politico, 8/10/11)

USAction Communications Director David Elliot: “We believe this position as co-chair of the supercommittee is so important that there can’t be any suggestion at all that any of these members are under the influence of special interests.” (Alexander Bolton, “Groups Call On Murray, ‘Supercommittee’ Colleagues To Halt Fundraising Activities,” The Hill, 8/10/11)

  • Elliot: “Given the corrosive influence that money has on our political system and the public perception of that corrosion, it would be in Patty Murray’s best interest if she distanced herself from the influence of special interests. … The most demonstrative way to do that is to refuse money from special interests while serving as co-chair of this committee.” (Alexander Bolton, “Groups Call On Murray, ‘Supercommittee’ Colleagues To Halt Fundraising Activities,” The Hill, 8/10/11)

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