Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Breakfast Of Champions

Finally, someone is calling Congressman Mike Arcuri out for ignoring his constituents while he's selling himself to lobbyists in Washington:

Congressional candidate Richard Hanna (Republican, Independence, Conservative) today highlighted the fact that the large majority of his opponent's campaign funding comes from interests outside the 24th Congressional District.

This morning, Arcuri hosted a breakfast in Washington, D.C. where they asked $5,000 a plate. According to events listed by Arcuri's fundraising firm, at least two more similar events are planned this month.

"Big money and lobbyists have subverted the will of the majority, and Mr. Arcuri has bragged about the amount of money he's taken from interests outside this district," Hanna said. "Lobbyists and special interests are taking over our rights."

"My opponent accuses me of using my success to buy a seat in Congress, but that's not true," Hanna said. "At any rate, I'd rather be accused of buying a seat than selling it to special interests - as my opponent is busy doing today."

While the attendees at Mr. Arcuri's fundraising breakfast were able to get a face-to-face meeting with him thanks to their generous contributions, the people that he actually represents aren't quite so lucky. Even his own supporters have remarked on how difficult it is to get any help from his office, much less talk to the Congressman directly:

I voted for Mike Arcuri in the last election. BIG MISTAKE!!! He's running again - against Richard Hanna. I will be voting for Hanna. I need to find out more about Hanna..........I don't know enough about him or what he's willing to do for us. But- I do know that Mike Arcuri IS NOT IT!!

We called Arcuri's headquarters to inquire as to why our incentive check was only for $600. (According to everything we read and according to the official website, we should have gotten $1200.) Well, the young lady on the other end of the phone said they've had a lot of phone calls like ours. People are complaining, and rightfully so. Well! This was a couple of months ago, and lo and behold, we got a form letter in the mail last week from Mike Arcuri, thanking us for our concern about the price of oil/gas! What the hell is he (or his people) thinking? Maybe they're thinking we'll be impressed that he "took the time" to contact us and that we'll disregard the fact that his letter had nothing to do with our phone call. - NOT - Maybe they're just not thinking.

Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident. Yesterday's luxury breakfast at Johnny's Half Shell is a perfect example of how cold, hard cash gets Mr. Arcuri's attention while everyday people can't get a response no matter what they do. That indifference has been enough to alienate the bluest-of-blue Democrats, as this post at Daily Kos demonstrates:

Don't think I'll be voting for Arcuri....even though he and I are both Dems! He is our congressman now, and has been such a disappointment.

He said all the right things when I first spoke to him about our son-in-law's stop-loss status and pending third deployment to Iraq. Since then, however, neither he nor his local representative nor his Utica representatives have responded to my e-mails nor to a paper letter which I wrote to him.

I realize that our concerns aren't that important to him, even though it is a life or death matter for us, and I realize that there is only so much he can do to help us anyway, probably. However, it would have made all the difference to us if he had at least responded and even pretended to care....

On the bright side, Mr. Arcuri is offering the people he's been ignoring plenty of opportunities to meet with him this month...if they have the cash. While his pay-to-play mentality might be a bit disappointing, don't let it be said he isn't a man of the people- he's cut the price for his next meet and greet down to $500!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Fundraising Breakfast honoring Congressman Mike Arcuri (NY-24)
Johnny’s Half Shell
400 North Capital Street, NW
Washington, DC
Time: 8:30 – 9:30 am
Requested Contributions: $1,000 PACs; $500 Individual

If you go, be sure to try the Spinach and Gruyere Quiche with sliced, vine-ripened tomatoes. I'm told it's fabulous.