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Category “Dumb Things Kagen Does”

Congress’ Worst Bosses

Kudos for the Washington Times for putting this together.

One of the things that interest folks out in DC, especially those who work, have worked and want to work on the Hill is who are the best Representatives and Senators to work for.  It effects where resumes flow to and how well constituents gets served back home.

Obviously, every staff has turnover.  Staffers come and go, leaving for better jobs in other offices as they get experience and grow out of their initial jobs.  Some head to a party committee like the DNC, RNC, or any of the other alphabet soups.  Some go onto law school and other graduate schools; and of course, some go onto K Street to lobby their former bosses and co-workers.

Anything in the high teens to mid-twenties would probably be seen as “normal” for Capitol Hill offices.  Anything higher would probably be seen as incredibly abnormal and a statement about the representative or senator’s people skills and or sanity.

At the top of the list, to pretty much no one’s surprise, is Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee.

Lee is pathologically insane to put it mildly.  She is well known for her temper tantrums, breaking down staffers psychologically to the point of tears, and even throwing things at them (and now being sued because of the medical damage inflicted by it).

The Times puts it this way:

Each year, an average of half of Mrs. Jackson Lee’s staff quits, and one year, all but six of 23 staffers left.

Mona Floyd, who served as the congresswoman’s legislative director, has monocular vision and has a lawsuit pending against Mrs. Jackson Lee, who was voted the “meanest member” of the House in a bipartisan survey of Hill staffers by Washingtonian magazine last year. Ms. Floyd said she was told by the representative, “I don’t care anything about your disability.”

Other incidents, including a series of racially charged diatribes, were documented by the Washington-based Daily Caller website after former aides were so taken aback by her behavior that they broke an unspoken Capitol Hill rule not to speak ill of former bosses.

The worst Republican boss?  Also to the shock of no one on the Hill, Minnesota’s Michelle Bachmann.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who mounted a bid for the presidency, had an average annual staff turnover rate of 46 percent over four years. From 2007 to 2008, 10 of 15 staffers left, even though none of them had an alternate job lined up on the Hill.

To be sure, many of Mrs. Bachmann’s former campaign staffers, who are protected by fewer rules separating the personal from the professional than the taxpayer-funded congressional office workers, are not happy.

Peter Waldron said Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign has refused to pay him and other staffers after they spoke with law enforcement about a stolen list of voters, even though the campaign is flush with money.

“It’s probably not a coincidence that all the people who have not been paid are the very people who have either given depositions, given affidavits or have been interviewed extensively by the police,” he told The Hill newspaper.

Here’s the list of the Top Ten Worst Bosses in Congress from 2006 through 2011 and their average turnover in staff from one year to another. It does not include numbers for freshmen Congressmen and Senators who were elected in November 2010.

Long-time readers of this blog won’t be shocked to see a familiar name at No. 9.

Congress' Worst Bosses

Other average turnover rates from 2006 to 2011 for the Wisconsin delegation include:

26 Percent — Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.

23 Percent — Rep. Paul Ryan  (This number is actually skewed by a 40 percent turnover in 2010-2011.  At the time, a number of his office staff moved over to the House Budget Committee full-time.)

20 Percent — Former Sen. Herb Kohl.

18 Percent — Rep. Gwen Moore.

17 Percent — Rep. (now Sen.) Tammy Baldwin.

17 Percent — Former Rep. Dave Obey.

17 Percent — Rep. Ron Kind.

16 Percent — Former Sen. Russ Feingold.

16 Percent — Rep. Tom Petri.

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Typical Kagen

(H/T Fox Politics)

I’ve so gotten past the man and his timely political demise, I had actually turned off my Google Alert on him.  So thanks to Jo Egelhoff for pointing out the even if the man is leaving Congress, the arrogance will always be there.

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) broke House chamber rules during the first floor vote last week, but it’s safe to say he will avoid punishment.

Hodes, who lost his bid for the Senate, used his iPhone camera to snap a shot of outgoing Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) posing in the center aisle with the Speaker’s rostrum in the background.

When it became apparent that the legislators were merely documenting their last few weeks in office, the security member opted not to pursue the matter.

True story.  During this May’s State GOP Convention in Milwaukee, I talked for a few minutes with former Bush Administration advisor Karl Rove who was the keynote speaker during Saturday’s Chairman’s Dinner.

Most of the conversation was about who I was, the fact that he knew my boss at HUD (They knew each other from Texas.), and what I hoped to be doing in the future.  (If memory serves, I had just put my resume in with both RPW and the Johnson Campaign to do research for them…)

Still kicking myself for not saying the following anytime during the conversation: “So let’s hear it.  You, Steve Kagen, a White House bathroom.  Did it happen?!?”

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This Looks Familiar…

A press release this morning from the Roth for Congress Campaign.

Appleton— During his first run for Congress in 2006, Steve Kagen claimed he would “ stand up for true Wisconsin values by balancing the federal budget, putting an end to pork, and enacting strict new spending limits to bring down the record deficits we are inheriting.”

What a difference four years make.

“With two terms in office, Steve Kagen has helped push our national debt past the $13 trillion mark, championed hundreds of millions of dollars in pork barrel spending, and continually voted against the will of his constituents on major issues such as health care and cap and trade,” said state Representative Roger Roth, candidate for Congress in Wisconsin’s 8th District.

In the last three months, Steve Kagen has requested $113.7 million in special interest projects and helped add $230 billion to the national debt by ignoring the Democrat’s own Pay-Go standards and voting lock step with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Majority in Congress.

“Record debts, special interest projects and dishonest government aren’t ‘true Wisconsin values,’ and they certainly aren’t the values the people of the 8th District expect from their representative.”

State Representative Roger Roth is a lifelong resident of Appleton, Wisconsin. He has an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association, a 100% voting record with Wisconsin Right to Life, is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and participates in his family’s third-generation construction business.

The quote in the opening line, is clearing taken from this post I penned earlier this week.

Listen, I’ll tell the Roth Campaign the same thing I told the Ribble Campaign after they ran with a post I wrote last year regarding Kagen’s Congressional office spending: You can use whatever you want at anytime, but please, credit me or the blog as the source material.  It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

(By the way, that offer is open to all 8th Congressional Republican Candidates, I’m not endorsing anyone, I just want Steve Kagen gone.)

That, or tell Tom Erickson at the NRCC to get off his butt in DC and have them hire me as a Researcher.  Either will work for me.

Pro Bono is not really cutting it anymore after nearly five years of this.  Trust me, I’m not scolding, and I don’t mind being here to help; just a little courtesy would be nice.

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Oh How Things Change…

An oldie, but a goodie of a quote I was able to get off the Kagen4Congress website in early 2007 before the Kagen Campaign systematically scrubbed their website of past statements. (via the archives of the BBA)

Kagen made the quote in late 2006 during his first run for Congress.

Appleton, WI – Saying that professional politicians in Washington need to start showing more respect for middle-class Wisconsin taxpayers, Dr. Steve Kagen today said that a top priority for the next Congress must be ending pork-barrel projects and special-interest spending.

“The old Congress that left town last week amid scandal and controversy will be replaced on November 7 with a new Congress,” Dr. Kagen said. “We will stand up for true Wisconsin values by balancing the federal budget, putting an end to pork, and enacting strict new spending limits to bring down the record deficits we are inheriting.”

Dr. Kagen said Congress this session set records for padding legislation with special-interest spending. Last year, some 15,877 pork projects were slipped into bills, costing taxpayers more than $47 billion.

“That’s five times as much pork, at more than twice the cost, as a decade ago and more than last year’s entire $41 billion budget for homeland security,” Dr. Kagen said. “Instead of refocusing resources on supporting our troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq or investing in a more competitive economy, they have squandered the taxpayers’ money on special-interest projects.”

This past weekend, in article on earmark spending from the Appleton Post-Crescent.

Beginning last year, lawmakers were required to post their requests for earmark funding on their House office Web sites. In Wisconsin’s House delegation:

æ Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, is asking for $113.7 million for 73 projects;

æ Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, wants $81.8 million for 72 projects; and

æ Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, is requesting $550.7 million for 54 projects.

æ Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, is not asking for any earmark funding this year for economic reasons.

“As our country struggles through the most difficult economic situation in a generation, every dollar matters,” Kind said. “We must look out for excessive spending, and we must continue working to ensure greater transparency and increased fiscal responsibility in the earmark process.”

Dave Obey (D-Wausau) is reported as seeking $213.3 million for 85 projects in his district.  Herb Kohl is seeking $345.3 million for an undisclosed number of projects.  Russ Feingold is continuing is record of never asking for earmarks.

Kagen is not quoted in the article defending any of his pork projects, amazing since he usually can’t wait to get in front of a microphone held by a Post-Crescent reporter.

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Copied Websites

I see a bunch of liberal bloggers — Bill “Xoff” Christofferson for one — are going on about what has to be the stupidest front page story ever at the Journal Sentinel ever.  Seems a bunch of politicians are pulling a Biden using similar words on their campaign websites.

One wonders what Bill will do, say or write if a Democrat representing Wisconsin was caught doing this…

One only knows…

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Kagen Transparency Bill Going No Where

Rarely a day goes by over the past month where the Gannett Wisconsin papers in Green Bay and Appleton salute H.R. 4700, the “Transparency in All Health Care Pricing Act of 2010.”  (There was an editorial in the Post-Crescent recently, see at link.)   The bill is authored by Rep. Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton), and after three, long years of being ignored by House leadership, he’s finally got a hearing on his top legislative agenda item: Health Care Transparency.

(Of course, never mind that still to this day, you can’t find what anything about costs on the Kagen Allergy Clinic, or it’s replacement, website.)

I will give Kagen credit, Health Care Transparency is a sound idea.  If I can go into a restaurant and see what something costs on the menu, auto body shop and get an estimate on my car, etc., why can’t I do the same with my health care.   However, Kagen’s bill is seen as two things: 1) His magic bullet to have some sort of actual legislative achievement under his belt, and 2) Likely not going anywhere under the current Congress even after having a hearing on it, and two other like bills.

Why is it going no where?  Well, the likeliest reason is because Democrats don’t want to have yet another vote on a health care bill before November.  Frankly, any fight, at any level has them running scared, and they seem to not want the hassle.

Healthcare reform fatigue has set in among Democrats, casting doubt that Congress will move much health-related legislation the rest of this session.

Measures in jeopardy include bills that would require more information on healthcare prices, empower federal regulators to sign off on premium increases and strip insurers of their exemption from antitrust laws.

Democrats in the House and Senate alike are eager to focus on vote-getting issues such as job creation as the midterm elections approach.

“I have said for the last year and a half that we should be doing more on job creation, and I hope that we do move on,” said Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), a “no” vote on health reform. “I don’t think we’re going to be doing much more of anything on healthcare reform for the rest of the year.”

So what of the Kagen bill?  Why does he keep pushing it if everyone in DC knows it’s going no where?  Again, he needs it, thinking it can help his re-election chances.  But those who’ve actually read the bill; or have one of its similar bills, say something completely different than what “the good doctor’s” prescribing for the rest of us with his diagnosis…

The Energy and Commerce hearing focused on three bills that would require healthcare providers to unveil their prices so consumers can make informed decisions.

The main vehicle, sponsored by Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) and endorsed by 54 Democrats, is largely seen by lobbyists as having little chance of passing; it would require all healthcare providers — doctors, hospitals, drugmakers, pharmacies — to “publicly disclose, on a continuous basis, all prices.”

Kagen, who faces a tough race for reelection this November, has been touting the measure. But providers argue that forcing them to disclose their negotiated prices would drive costs up for consumers.

“I really don’t think anything like [the Kagen bill] is going to move because of the short time that we have to get anything else done this year,” Lipinski said. “I really hope there’s going to be a focus on jobs for the rest of the year.”

Two more modest bills sponsored by committee Republicans Joe Barton and Michael Burgess, both of Texas, may yet have a chance as they have bipartisan and industry support.

“I’m glad Congressman Kagen introduced [his bill], because it makes ours look much more responsible,” said Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who has co-sponsored both alternatives.

Waxman and his Health panel chairman, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), have stopped short of committing to a markup.

Anyone can get a hearing.  Hell, most Congressional hearings are side shows anyway.  It’s getting the markup that’s the real kicker.  That’s the first legitimate step to getting a bill actually made law in the first place out in DC.

Boy, that quote from Democratic Congressman Green of Texas is a real killer for Kagen’s chief legislative agenda item.  Pity someone like me had to find it…

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Quote of the Day

From FoxPolitics.net, a businessman who attended a discussion Rep. Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton) held last week on the effects of the health care bill on small businesses.  (Reports from Fox 11 on Green Bay show it was not the event Kagen’s ego — or the state AP which just rehashed Kagen’s press release — made it out to be.)

Kagen has crossed the Rubicon. He’s helpless. He’s useless.

Some points from the meeting:

  • “If you are keeping score, it’s Kagen 3, Pelosi 0.” That line drew groans. And laughter from a couple.
  • CBO estimates are accurate according to Rep. Kagen. When pressed he just said, “we didn’t cook the books”. Uh huh. Right.
  • They are creating a marketplace for healthcare. Creating a marketplace? Jeebus.
  • Kept talking about transparency. WOW.
  • People that attended – all 12 of us were very unhappy about the information about the meeting. I found out at 8:30am today and most people found out Friday afternoon. When we asked Craig [Moser, Kagen’s in-state “Constituent Services Director], he said, “It’s in the paper today.” Dumb.
  • The good doctor was 25 minutes late for the meeting.
  • “Your health relies on your neighbor’s health”. He talked of limiting body mass index. I kid you not.

I am objective (or at least try to be) – all I see from this man is arrogance and lies. He has gone from representing the 8th congressional district to just another hack politician who represents the Democratic Party. He has no interest in debate. I don’t even think he believes what he says. Very contentious … once again.

‘Kagen 3, Pelosi 0?’  Note to self: See if I still have that Heller cartoon from 2007.  You know, the one with Kagen sporting the big head.

One thing I keep wondering; especially with the non-stop help the Cap Times seems to be giving Kagen in adoring editorials, Nichols columns, and sudden attacks on Rep. Roger Roth (R-Grand Chute), is when will John Nichols write the one thing everyone who’s watched the 8th CD dynamic for these past five years knows: The only way Steve Kagen wins, is if John Gard is running.

It was easy for Kagen to vilify Gard the past two cycles.  John’s may be a great guy, a good friend, and a wonderful family man, but his political career was a walking cliche.  Hell; I’m half wondering when our side does the same the Left did to Gard to Tom “Call Me Thomas” Nelson.  That guy is just, just…wow…

Kagen won’t have that help this time around.  Oh, he’s trying to turn Roth (through the Cap Times) into this cycle’s Gard for him if you believe the Kagen Campaign blog.  I’m sure he’ll do the same if Reid Ribble or Marc Trager win as well.  It’s the Kagen campaign M.O.; so full of projection and lies you wonder if even the reporters covering it believe them anymore.

(Really need to ask that of the N.E. Wisconsin reporters I communicate with on Twitter about that…)

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Costs Will Rise Under Health Care Bill

What was that line Rep. Steve Kagen, MD, (D-Appleton) said about the health care bill?  Something along the line of “It’s a great bill, and it keeps getting better” if I recall?

Funny, one could say that — getting better — about the chances to replace him this November.  He sure he read it?

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law is getting a mixed verdict in the first comprehensive look by neutral experts: More Americans will be covered, but costs are also going up.

Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department concluded in a report issued Thursday that the health care remake will achieve Obama’s aim of expanding health insurance — adding 34 million to the coverage rolls.

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned.

The report also states that the Health Care Bill will explode the federal deficit.  No wonder the Roth Campaign’s been spending the last two weeks (with two more to go based on their countdown) pointing out the flaws in the bill via press release.

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GAO Calls USPS Business Model “Doomed”

Yeah, you’d think the shutting down of Saturday delivery after years of seeing their prime service of mail and bill delivery salvaged by email, electronic bill-pay, and “paperless billing” sent via email would have been enough for the GAO to just look at the situation with the United States Postal Service and call it a day.

But no, they just had to go blow money on a study didn’t they?

The U.S. Postal Service’s current business model “is not viable” and the mail agency should make deeper job and wage cuts, hire more part-time staff and consider outsourcing operations, according to a draft of a government audit acquired by The Federal Eye.

Auditors also urge Congress to remove restrictions on the Postal Service’s ability to cut Saturday mail delivery and close post offices, according to the report, which offers recommendations similar to the USPS’s own proposed 10-year business plan.

Lawmakers requested the Government Accountability Office report, set for a Monday release, as they prepare to consider the USPS plan, which was introduced last month. The proposals call for an end to six-day delivery and ask Congress to give the mail agency the ability to raise prices beyond the rate of inflation and close post offices if necessary.

The report’s conclusions pleased top postal officials who are gathered this week in Nashville for the annual National Postal Forum, a convention for the mail agency’s largest customers.

Postmaster General John E. Potter said Sunday he was pleased with the GAO’s general conclusions, but concerned with suggestions in the report that further study of the issue is required.

“We’ve studied this significantly, the time for study is over, now’s the time for action,” he said.

Potter and his colleagues estimate the Postal Service will lose a record $7 billion in the fiscal year that ends in September and could lose at least $238 billion in the next decade if Congress fails to act.

Auditors appeared to push beyond the USPS proposal. “If no action is taken, risks of larger USPS losses, rate increases and taxpayer subsides will increase,” GAO said.

The Postal Service should provide more lucrative incentive packages to potential retirees to try to accelerate attrition, auditors said. They also recommended USPS consider outsourcing more delivery routes and mail services to contractors and seek concessions on wage and benefits from its labor unions during negotiations later this year.

The next step in the USPS saga will be handled by Congress, unfortunately, this Congress has shown it is rather fond of naming new post offices and appears to be completely uninterested in changing the way the Post Office operates.  (Wisconsin’s own Steve Kagen (D-Appleton) has gone so far as stopping the USPS from closing the Green Bay processing center — and having Green Bay lose its postmark — even though it has been on the chopping block for years because of…you guessed it, dropped mail volume.)

There are so many things wrong with a system if you have Congress unwilling to change post office operations when the post office itself is asking for them.

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Daily Quick Hits

Video of the Day

A quick capture by the NRCC of Kagen in full “Talking Point Regurgitation Mode.”

You know, the job of a Press Secretary is to be on top of things to make sure her boss doesn’t make a fool out of himself in front of a national cable audience.

By the way, it’s never a good sign when you have a White House Press Secretary tell the press at the briefing ‘The attorneys are looking at it.’

The “What the $^&*” Story of the Day

There’d be comedy in this, if it weren’t so sad given his addiction and how no one in Madison seems to give a damn about getting him the help he needs because Democrats need his vote.  Tragedy thy name is enabling.

Rep. Jeff Wood had more than eight times the “therapeutic” range of an ingredient found in cough syrup when he was arrested in September 2009.

A state lab test result, which was obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal through a state open records request, showed Wood had high levels of Dextromethorphan (DXM) in his system when he was arrested by the State Patrol in Marathon County in September.

The drug is an over-the-counter cough suppressant commonly found in cold medications, which is often abused by adolescents to “generate euphoria and visual and auditory hallucinations,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Illegal use of DXM, which is also known as “poor man’s PCP,” is often called “Robo-tripping” or “skittling.”

PPP’s Russ-Tommy Poll

I know a bunch of liberal bloggers in Wisconsin are over-joyed by it (The Chief, dude, seriously, language.)  But I noticed this; as did the state media, Feingold went from being up 9 last November to being up 3…in a Democratic Polling Firm’s poll.

(Maybe if they keep calling Tommy a lobbyist some more…)

USPS Requests to Go Five Days-a-Week

Congress must still approve the move; but the time has come, and kudos to the Post Office for either seeing its own likely demise because of technology ahead of time.

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