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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report 20181218

Dec 15, 2018 9:45 am
Here's the week in the news for Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), the current District 19 Congressperson for the WGXC listening area, and Antonio Delgado, the Congressperson-elect. The Fivethirtyeight.com website currently reports Faso votes with Donald Trump's positions 89.4 percent of the time, up slightly from last week. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (11:05).

The Daily Freeman is reporting U.S. Rep.-elect Antonio Delgado announced December 10, the appointment of Athens resident Amanda Boomhower as his district director. Boomhower will oversee all district offices and constituent services, including representing Delgado at local meetings and events. She will bring approximately 10 years of public service experience to her new role. Boomhower most recently worked as a special assistant in the New York state Office of General Services. She previously worked as a federal liaison for former U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, handling constituent inquiries concerning the U.S. Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Education. Boomhower has also worked as deputy district director for former U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, a position that included managing his regional office in Hudson. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

Alex Kotch reports in Sludge that a businessman and Republican megadonor bankrolled an obscure Texas-based super PAC that usually backs Republicans, spent $100,000 to help a Green Party candidate in the November Congressional election. Estée Lauder heir Robert Lauder donated $100,000 to conservative super PAC Fight for Tomorrow on Oct. 18, the first day super PAC donors could donate money without having their identities revealed until after the elections. Fight for Tomorrow then spent nearly all of that money on digital ads, mailers, and phone calls supporting Steve Greenfield, a Green Party candidate. Greenfield was a little known candidate against the winner, Democrat Antonio Delgado, and incumbent Republican John Faso. "The only explanation is that the last-minute ads were an unsuccessful attempt to peel away enough Democratic voters from Delgado in order put Faso in the win column once again," Kotch writes. Greenfield has called the Fight for Tomorrow spending “a dirty trick,” and says that all PACs “must be legislated out of existence immediately.... All over the country a handful of billionaires donate by the tens of millions every year not merely to support the candidates of their own preference, but to distort the campaigns of others, who are powerless to compete with the reach their money can buy. I spent $3,000 on my campaign. It took me six months to raise and spend that money, and it was only 1/33rd of what Lauder spent in a single day to completely misrepresent me to a much wider audience—and one I had no interest in targeting.” Read the full story in Sludge.

William J. Kemble is reporting for the Daily Freeman U.S. Rep. John Faso said December 11, that while the payment of hush money to two women who claim to have had affairs with Donald Trump was "reprehensible," he does not believe the president broke campaign finance law in the process. The Kinderhook Republican said information about the payments from federal prosecutors in the case against former Trump attorney Michael Cohen do not rise to the level of impeachment. “It’s highly speculative as to whether those payments, reprehensible [as] the entire matter was, I think it’s a stretch to say that ... it violated federal campaign finance rules,” Faso said. Prosecutors said Cohen admitted acting “in coordination with and at the direction” of then-candidate Trump when the payments were made in the summer and fall of 2016, and that the payments were meant to influence the presidential election. Faso, who lost his re-election bid in November, to Democrat Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, is not convinced that special counsel Robert Mueller has successfully drawn a direct correlation between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials. Faso has asked for the Mueller investigation to be concluded quickly, but the congressman acknowledged this week there are many questions about the matter still unanswered. Delgado could not be reached for comment. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

• John Faso had a few last votes in Congress this week, before the one-term Congressperson heads back to Kinderhook. Faso voted for the Farm Bill, which passed with 182 Republican votes and 187 Democratic votes. He also voted for something tacked on to one Farm Bill vote, to block a vote on whether the United States should be involved in the War in Yemen. The rest of Faso's votes this week were largely ceremonial and/or bipartisan.

Richard Moody reports for Columbia-Greene Media that John Faso, the local Congressperson who did away with town hall meetings or notifying constituents of public appearances, called for civility in his farewell speech in Washington D.C. Dec. 12. “We all need to renew our efforts to conduct our debates on public issues in a civil and respectful fashion,” Faso said on the House floor. “There is no doubt that a fragmented media and a general decline of standards has coarsened our public debate. There is plenty of blame to go around for this situation.” Antonio Delgado, meanwhile, the Democrat from Rhinebeck who unseated the Republican from Kinderhook, was more upbeat Dec. 12. “I’m very excited to get to work and serve every constituent in our district by being accessible to them and transparent,” Delgado said. “We are committed to finding bipartisan solutions and prioritizing issues that people in upstate New York care about, like bringing broadband access to our rural communities, helping places like Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, which have been forced to endure a crisis of contaminated water, as well as working to make sure everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360.com.