Walt Minnick – Idaho’s Stealth Progressive

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Congressman Walt Minnick – Idaho

Many of you know that I am a huge supporter of the Tea Party movement. From the beginning, I have supported every rally and every event I could. I believe in the patriots of the movement and the principles it was founded on. On this blog and other sites, I’ve tried to bring to the American people stories and pictures that show the real people involved – their heart, their courage, their love of country… In the end, the people of the Tea Party movement and The 912 Project will be the ones who save this country and bring us back to our Constitutional roots. I truly believe that…

It was with a sinking heart and something akin to grief that I heard the Tea Party Express endorse Walt Minnick here in Idaho. It should be noted that the Tea Party Express is not the actual Tea Party of Idaho – they are located in Boise and do not support Minnick.

And before I expand on my statements, I know there are those who will accuse me of being just another shill for the Republican Party. You could not be more off base. Yes, I’m a registered Republican, but have renounced my membership in the party many times, long ago. I consider myself a Constitutional Conservative – for me, everything revolves around the original documents created and signed by our founding fathers. In Nevada, I was elected as Secretary to the Carson City Republican Central Committee. I exposed their connection to a wealthy and influential real estate broker who was donating their office space to them. I was removed from my position by a majority, but that did not shut me up. I’m funny that way – I believe in what is right, not what is popular and I don’t tow the party line for anyone.

Walt Minnick is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 1st congressional district of Idaho. He will be running for office in Idaho in 2010 against primarily two Conservative opponents: Raul Labrador and Vaughn Ward. I will be doing research on both of these candidates as well and their stance on the issues.

I have done quite a bit of research on Minnick – you can go here to see it at KeyWiki.

I am thoroughly puzzled at the Tea Party Express endorsement of Minnick. While Minnick would appear to be the most conservative of the Democrats I have seen, he is still a Progressive.

Minnick has had numerous stances that I consider to be Progressive in nature and is supported by Progressive groups in Idaho.

He is strongly supported by the Unions in Idaho. This would include the Teamsters, the Teachers’ Union (NEA), the Carpenters & Joiners Union and a list of others as well.

Minnick was a donor to Earthjustice, a legal group that uses litigation to force far left environmental policies through the courts, while destroying good paying jobs. Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm, (formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund). In Earthjustice’s 2003 annual report, Minnick was listed as being a member of their “Advocates Circle,” their mid-level donor membership level.

He is a strong environmentalist and he is pro-choice with a strong record supporting NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Minnick served on the Governing Board of The Wilderness Society for 16 years as well.

Minnick has strong ties to Congressman Steny Hoyer. Hoyer has contributed substantially to Minnick’s campaigns through AMERIPAC: The Fund for a Greater America.

He seems to be getting contributions from the left and the right, but there are some heavy players on the left that give to Walt Minnick including the law firm of Arnold & Porter, LLP which is a left-wing law firm from DC. If you follow the ties that bind, this firm is connected to individuals such as Charles Halpern, Sarah Bloom Raskin, Thurman Arnold and Jeremy Karpatkin. He also receives funds from ActBlue.

Walt Minnick, by all accounts, is a good businessman. It shows in his campaigns and it should be noted that as of this date his two primary competitors have raised $118,903 and $505,259 respectively. Minnick in comparison has raised $1,396,070.

Minnick voted for both Nancy Pelosi as speaker in 2008 and Charles Rangel per the party line for the Democrats. He voted against the resolution to remove Rangel as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for ethics violations and against the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC’s) blueprint to restrain spending and to reduce the budget.

Minnick has voted with the Democrats 72% of the time. After taking office, Minnick joined the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats.

Congressman Minnick has voted with the Democratic majority for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act and against establishing spending caps through fiscal year 2014.

In January 2009, Minnick joined with 10 other Democrats to oppose the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In June 2009, Congressman Minnick voted with 43 other Democrats against the American Clean Energy and Security Act and in December 2009, voted with 38 other Democrats against the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Minnick was the lone Democrat to receive a perfect score from the Club For Growth on their RePork Card ratings for his votes to strip pork-barrel spending from bills. Minnick voted for Cash for Clunkers and H.R. 2499 – the Puerto Rico Democracy Act.

Minnick strongly supports modifying tax breaks given to the wealthiest Americans. He is for a progressive income tax and believes that it is one of the cornerstones of modern society. Its premise is that the wealthy contribute proportionally more than those with lower incomes. He believes that is the right way to run our tax system, and we should keep it that way. It also means that he believes in the principle of progressive taxation, i.e., that redistribution of wealth is a proper role of government.

Illegal Immigration

In 2008, Minnick compared the border fence being built along the Southern Border to the Berlin Wall. He also called for a path to normalization for illegal immigrants which is basically amnesty.

Although he calls for secure borders, Minnick has attempted to avoid until recently immigration as an issue and did not put it on his platform. He has made some statements in favor of a path to citizenship, but when an organization called the Club for Truth accused Minnick of being soft on illegal immigration, his spokesman responded:

Walt’s position on immigration has been consistent from the beginning, and it’s that we need to secure the borders, send troops to the borders if necessary. Everyone who’s failed a background check needs to be deported immediately, the remainder needs to pay a fine and move to the back of the line for legal immigration.

This position mirrors President Obama’s current stance that if you are here illegally, you don’t need to be deported as long as you pass a background check and pay a fine. After doing this, you will receive one form of amnesty or another. This is the Progressive stance on illegal immigration.

Jobs Bill

Walt Minnick voted in favor of the Jobs Bill – HR 2847 which passed in the House of Representatives on March 4, 2010. This bill was originally titled: H.R. 2847: Green Jobs Act of 2007. It is now entitled: H.R.2847 – Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on 3/18/2010.

The Jobs Bill will create few if any jobs, while spending a great deal of taxpayer money in the process. Much of the bill is financed over the coming decade by cracking down on offshore tax havens, though it would add $13 billion to the debt in the coming three years.

Second Amendment

Walt Minnick is quoted as owning 7 guns. He is also an avid hunter by all accounts.

Minnick received a D+ from the NRA in 2008 in response to his answers on their 27-question survey. Minnick is backed by the liberal Maryland-based American Hunters and Shooters Association, which is an association that supports the banning of certain firearms and does not support the Second Amendment as implemented by the Constitution. They believe in government regulation and control. They are a Progressive group advocating gun control on arms that are not strictly for hunting or recreation and they are extremely pro-conservation and pro-environment.

Minnick has issued conflicting statements on gun control. First he is against it:

“I think guns are part of our American culture,” Minnick said earlier this month. “There is no one more opposed to gun control than I am.”

Then he is for it – from the NRA:

The survey included this question: “The NRA opposes gun bans as a violation of both the Second Amendment and common sense. (However, fully automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns and certain ‘destructive devices’ are currently very strictly regulated.) Which of the following statements best describes your opinion about banning firearms?”

Minnick, an NRA member, wrote “firearms with no legitimate sporting or recreational use” should be banned.

Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman in Virginia and a former Idaho GOP state director, said that answer won Minnick the poor rating.

Minnick’s answers did conform with the NRA’s stance opposing registration, federal licensing and waiting periods. His answers also showed he was backing the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2008 decision to overturn a Washington, D.C. handgun ban. However, Minnick does support the Brady Bill.

Serve America Act

Minnick voted in favor of instituting National Service as a new social invention. The H.R. 1388: Serve America Act (Mar 2009). Following is a summary of this Progressive piece of legislation:

  • Authorizes funding to promote, operate and expand service-learning programs in elementary and secondary schools through training, curriculum development, program assessment methods and community outreach (Sec. 1201).
  • Allows the Secretary of Education to designate up to 25 Campuses of Service, or institutions of higher education where service-learning is an important component of the curriculum to receive a government award to develop or disseminate service-learning models (Sec. 1203).
  • Establishes Youth Engagement Zones to involve middle and high school students in community service, including Summer of Service programs (Sec. 1204).
  • Expands AmeriCorps openings over 8 years, allowing for up to 250,000 AmeriCorps volunteers by fiscal year 2017 (Sec. 1301).
  • Establishes the Education Corps to improve schools, the Healthy Futures Corps to serve unmet health needs within communities, the Clean Energy Corps to work on energy projects, the Veterans Corps to work with veterans and their families, and the Opportunity Corps to work with the economically disadvantaged (Sec. 1302).
  • Raises the amount of the full-time national service educational award to the maximum amount of a Federal Pell Grant (Sec. 1404).
  • Aims to increase the percentage of disadvantaged youths in the National Civilian Community Corps to over 50% by 2012 (Sec. 1503).
  • Expands the National Civilian Community Corps mission to include projects on energy conservation, environmental stewardship or conservation, infrastructure improvement, urban and rural development or disaster preparedness needs (Sec. 1506).
  • Establishes the Serve America Fellowship to assist with areas of national need, as determined by the State Commissions on National and Community Service (Sec. 1805, 1606).
  • Establishes Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships and expands the Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion Program Grants, and the National Senior Service Corps to encourage community or national service among citizens age 55 and older (Secs. 1805, 2142, 2143, 2144, 2145).
  • Establishes the Social Innovation Fund, National Service Programs Clearinghouses and Volunteer Generation Fund to help local groups train, develop and maintain volunteers (Secs. 1807, 1808).

Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009

Walt Minnick voted for H.R.4173 – Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009. Here is a quick summary of this legislation:

This is comprehensive legislation to overhaul regulations in the financial sector. It would establish a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to regulate products like home mortgages, car loans and credit cards. It would give the Treasury Department new authority to place non-bank financial firms, like insurance companies, into receivership and regulate the over-the-counter derivatives market. A two-page summary from the House Financial Services Committee can be downloaded here.

It should be noted that Minnick serves on the following committees:

Committee on Agriculture

  • Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research
  • Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry
  • Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development and Foreign Agriculture

Committee on Financial Services

  • Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises
  • Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit

This is important because we have all watched what is coming out of Washington DC fiscally and Walt Minnick helps drive that legislation.

After reading this, you have to ask yourself (especially if you live in Idaho), why is the Tea Party Express endorsing a Progressive Democrat? Someone told me that the Conservatives were Progressive as well. I have seen no evidence of that in what little research I have done so far. And even if it were true, it would be better to pull someone from the Conservative rank and file than endorse someone just because he voted the right way on a few fiscal issues.

It was my understanding that the Tea Party movement is about more than fiscal issues. It goes to the heart of the corruption and malaise infecting our government – we have to remove the Progressive element from American government or our government will turn into a tyrannical thug that will enslave the American people and turn us into a form of government that will strangle our freedoms and ring the death knell of the Constitution and our founding principles.

I respectively ask the Tea Party Express to reconsider their endorsement of Walt Minnick.

3 thoughts on “Walt Minnick – Idaho’s Stealth Progressive

  1. Good article, but I cringe every time I hear the word “progressive” used to describe Socialists. “Progressive” is how they describe themselves, and just because O’Reilly and Beck have taken to using the term doesn’t make it right. Let’s call them what they are — Socialists, statists, elitists, tyrants, etc. Don’t let them set the terms of the debate, because “words mean things”.

  2. Pingback: Walt Minnick – why does Idaho “Tea Party Express” back a “Progressive” Democrat? « KeyWiki Blog

  3. Pingback: » KeyWiki Profiles “Tea Party Express ” Endorsed Democrat, Walt Minnick NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

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