Why Eric Swalwell Voted with the Tea Party on a House Budget Amendment

CONGRESS | 15TH DISTRICT | On May 1, Rep. Eric Swalwell made a strategic vote in Congress. That day he and South Bay Rep. Zoe Lofgren, were the only members of the Bay Area Democratic caucus to vote for a Republican-led amendment to a budget bill that would have forbidden members from using their congressional office budgets to lease personal cars. The amendment offered by Rep. Richard Nugent, a member of the Tea Party from Florida, was narrowly defeated, but Swalwell was one of only 59 Democrats to support it. Was this yet another case of Swalwell showing his moderate colors? In fact, the vote may have been a calculated risk by Swalwell with an eye on re-election this fall in the 15th District.

Back in December 2012, the Associated Press published a story asserting several members of the California State Legislature spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars for repairs to their government leased vehicles. The benefit was soon to be discontinued due to the continuing state budget crisis. Legislators were then offered the option of buying the leased vehicles later, but not before some, including Corbett, received repairs paid by the state. According to the AP article, Corbett’s 2007 Toyota Prius received $827 in replacement parts and servicing before she bought the car a few days later.

The story has long been on Swalwell’s radar even before he was sworn-in to office in January 2013. On the day the article was published, Swalwell tweeted this terse statement. “Lawmakers deserve no better treatment than anyone else. When you’re elected, the public should be serviced, not your car.” The tweet seemed oddly desperate for a freshman congressman, just weeks after a rousing upset of a 40-year incumbent, to be attacking his potential opponent more than a year before his re-election campaign would actually begin. Corbett, though, had been telling supporters she would run for Congress in 2014 even before Swalwell’s upset victory in November.

Earlier this month, news of the Nugent amendment led to reports 63 members of Congress used a somewhat similar and legal rule to pay personal car leases with their office’s operating budget. In the Bay Area, Reps. Barbara Lee, George Miller and Anna Eshoo pay leases ranging from $500-$600 per month. Swalwell voted against the rule and, in hindsight, its appears to be a trap. A few weeks later, Swalwell’s campaign is already using the Corbett car lease story in one mailer and television ad released last week as part of a larger argument that Corbett is “gaming the system.”

Categories: budget, CA15, congress, Election 2012, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, June primary, lease, Prius, state budget, Tea Party

8 replies

  1. Can't vote for anyone who lies as much as Swalwell. Time after time, after time his lies were explained on this blog. Thank you Steven for doing your homework.

    My family will be voting for Ellen Corbett even though we don't agree with every vote she makes. Truthfulness is very important to us and we are fed up with our current Congressman's lies and mis-statements. Some might call it B.S.


  2. Keep the stories coming Steven. I'd like to see one about the million dollars he's raised by catering to vested interests. I know he got money from pharmaceutical companies and other corporations that are sticking it to the middle class. Ellen Corbett is more trustworthy and has done more for the middle class.


  3. Corbett is a cheap politician that takes from everyone and never gives back. I have never rec'd a thank you for my donation nor help in her campaign. Steve ask her if she sends thank you notes.


  4. 7:07 with sexists like you supporting Swalwell, Ellen Corbett will win for sure.


  5. I have never received a thank you note for any political donation! Except more emails to donate more. The politicians like to say they dont look at their donor list. So there you go.


  6. Eric Swalwell has said repeatedly in small meetings and public forums that he’s a progressive, but his voting record and actions, and his corporate and 1% donors tell us otherwise.

    The Hayward Daily Review's recent editorial tells us he told them he’s a moderate.

    And we can only imagine the spin he gave his large right-wing donors like AmeriPAC, about which Google Search says “Political action committee which provides financial support to conservative candidates for public office in the United States.”

    And what did Eric tell his other big donors: CalPine, who perpetrated the new power plant on the Hayward shoreline which has already been violating pollution regulations? And PG&E? And the Tri-Valley Developers who bankrolled getting him on the Dublin City Council and running for Congress? Do you think he told them he's a progressive?

    We know that corporations and the 1% make political donations as investments toward getting favorable legislation in the future. You can check out Swalwell’s contributions from corporations and the 1% at opensecrets.org–the total is over $1.3 million for this election!

    Swalwell has voted for the people on some issues, but nonpartisan group GovTrack.org’s analysis of his voting record places him far to the right of the other Representatives from the Bay Area, clustered with the Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans.

    Can't take anymore of Swalwell lies? Vote for Ellen Corbett.


  7. We all just voted for CONGRESSMAN ERIC SWALWELL 2014!

    Can't stand dirty carpetbaggers like that woman.

    Needs to learn to bake some cookies. She'll have plenty of time to sit on the porch with ol' Fortney, drink lemonade, talk about how they both were kicked to the curb, and how life passed them by!


  8. Can't stand liars like Swalwell, so I voted for Ellen Corbett.


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