On September 10th, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released its fourth annual report on the most corrupt members of Congress and 16 year incumbent Republican Ken Calvert (representing a large block of Riverside County and a portion of south Orange County) made the list for the third year in a row.
Other Californians making the Bottom 20 list were Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Granite Bay), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-San Bernardino), and Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-Brea)– all Republicans. Democrat Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach) merited a Dishonorable Mention on the report.
CREW cites Calvert’s practice of earmarking for personal financial benefit, earmarking for clients of the disgraced and disbanded lobbying firm Copeland Lowery, and his illegal purchase of a parcel of public land in his district’s Jurupa area. Calvert also holds the distinction of being one of twelve on the list who is under investigation and the only one named whose constituents recently voted overwhelmingly to take recoup land that was sold to him illegally through the use of eminent domain.
Calvert’s opponent, Democrat Bill Hedrick, actually has a chance of winning this seat – he’s been elected to local office five times within the district and wins in very Republican areas because both he and his wife are teachers and they have lived in the district for over 20 years. They also have five children (two of which plus their daughter-in-law have now served a combined total of five tours in Iraq) and Bill currently is president of his local union.
According to Lori Vandemeir (email@example.com), Hedrick’s communication director, “The biggest problem the Hedrick campaign is having is generating the kind of “buzz” needed because the mainstream media (which is conservative in the district) continues to endorse Calvert and does not cover Bill in any great detail.”
To combat that, the Hedrick Campaign is looking to friendly media to help draw attention to the race and to give voters a chance to hear from Bill directly. This past week Bill has been nationally endorsed by DFA as well as a local firefighters union,