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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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May 28, 2008 10:10 AM

Reichert gets GOP enviro honor

Posted by David Postman

A Republican group says Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, is one of the three greenest Republicans in Congress. Republicans for Environmental Protection actually named Reichert the Greenest Republican in Congress, but the same award was given to Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

You can see the full scorecard here.


The Republican group put out a release today saying,

“Dave Reichert’s score of 103* was one of three top scores in Congress, thanks to his perfect voting record and steadfast leadership on wildlands conservation and clean energy issues. Voters in Washington and across the nation can always count on Congressman Reichert to safeguard our environment and to be a true steward of the country’s natural treasures,” said REP President Martha Marks.

Reichert’s score of 103 represented a perfect voting record on the 15 environmental votes scored and an environmental leadership credit for his co-sponsorship of the Wild Sky Wilderness Act, which passed Congress as part of consolidated public lands legislation and was signed into law by President Bush on May 8.

Reichert's environmental record is often the subject of discussion, as it was in this 2006 story. Earlier this year it also appeared he was becoming more green in his re-election year.

UPDATE: This issue goes to the heart of the campaign between Reichert and Democrat Darcy Burner. Burner and her supporters argue that Reichert is not a moderate, even if scorecards like the REP one above show him to be. Independent groups have come to the same conclusion.

But the Burner camp says that Reichert votes against measures during procedural votes, then swtiches sides and voting with the Democrats on final passage to show him as more of a moderate.

Here's part of the response Burner spokesman Sandeep Kaushik sent me:

The deeper truth is that Congressman Reichert is gaming the system to make his environmental record appear on the surface to be far greener than it actually is. For instance, this Republican group gives him credit for voting for H.R. 6, the “Creating Long Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act.” But the truth is that Reichert voted six times in lockstep with Republican leadership on preliminary and procedural votes to kill this bill. Only after those votes were lost and it was clear the bill was going to pass did he flip flop and vote for it on final passage (you can read a detailed examination of how he voted on this bill here). Yet despite opposing this bill multiple times he gets full credit as a supporter of this legislation.

This is not an isolated example. Congressman Reichert has followed this pattern more than 25 times in the current Congress - voting to kill, stop or weaken environmental and other progressive legislation in every preliminary vote before (once the outcome is determined) flipping on final passage, and then cynically claiming credit for supporting the legislation. This pattern shows that he is not acting independently or as a moderate, but is actually manipulating his votes on bills to create a false impression of his actual positions on these issues.

Here is an even clearer example: at the end of February Congress voted on H.R. 5351, a bill that would have eliminated $13.6 billion in corporate welfare subsidies for Big Oil and put the money instead into renewable energy development. Reichert voted for this bill, but only after - on the same day - voting for the Republican alternative that would have stripped the bill of its key provisions and keep the oil company subsidies in place. You can read an unintentionally hilarious report about how he voted on both sides of this legislation here.

To see more on this subject see Daniel Kirkdorffer's work here.

I will have a response from Reichert's office here soon.

UPDATE: Reichert Chief of Staff Mike Shields says that Burner's campaign is trying to parse something that can't be parsed.

"The votes and the scorecards speak for themselves," he said."There's no parsing of votes when you introduce a wilderness bill. Dave is a leader on the environment in Congress and he has a goal of trying to change his own party and that's reflected in the scorecard."

I asked Shields why Reichert votes against bills on procedural motions and then votes in favor on final passage. He said that some of those votes are attempts to replace the Democratic-sponsored bills with something that includes Republican changes. And when that fails -- and he says Democratic leadership makes sure it always does -- Reichert votes for bills on final passage.

The people who disagree with Dave on these final votes think they're real votes and they let us know that. When Dave co-sponsored a bill to make ANWR a wilderness area or to protect the Tongass National Forest, the Alaska delegation thinks those are real.

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Posted by Tinkerbell Hilton

12:15 PM, May 28, 2008

And this is exactly why Darcy Burner should be scared! Go Dave! You ROCK!!!

Posted by Daniel K

5:22 PM, May 28, 2008

And if I may, here are the gory details on all of Reichert's voting flip-flops from the 110th Congress:

http://www.kirkdorffer.com/ontheroadto2008/110thReichertFlippedVotes.html

This isn't just a question of myself, or the Burner campaign saying Reichert "votes against measures during procedural votes, then swtiches sides and voting with the Democrats on final passage to show him as more of a moderate". Look at the data David and see for yourself, and tell me that's not what the facts show.

And if you have doubts then ask Reichert why he voted as he did on each of these bills (even if that might be 25 separate questions), and then come to your own conclusions as to whether he is or isn't manipulating his voting record to score better in such rankings.

All I've done is looked at the voting record of my congressman (I wish every constituent would pay such attention to how their congressman is voting) and noticed a pattern that has significant meaning and consequences. It may be wonky, or boring, but given how much we look at vote rankings and ratings it is ultimately critical in how we assess those rankings.

Posted by Enron Sims

5:42 PM, May 28, 2008

Let's hold up Darcy Burner's record on the environment versus Congressman Reichert's. . .hmmm there appears to be a distinct lack of any environmental credentials on Darcy's side of the equation.

Posted by Turbine

9:37 PM, May 28, 2008

Let's parse Darcys record as a "concerned voter".
Employed? Nope. Every held elected or appointed public office of any kind? Nope Ever volunteered or performed any significant service for any local charities or organizations? Nope. It's just not a record that says "Congressperson". It does say, I want to start at the top because I am a Camp Wellstone grad and I will vote 100% with Nancy Pelosi.. so I get tons of money from George Soros.

Posted by ergoargo

9:40 PM, May 28, 2008

Darcy's only environmental "credentials" are the "D" next to her name. Reichert and many other Republicans in this state are moving back to the Dan Evans enviro-agenda. You see it in the Governor's race, and it was no plainer than at McCain's Cedar River Watershed event. Republicans are going to run on the environment this year, not run from it.

Posted by jan

10:04 PM, May 28, 2008

It would be interesting to hear DR explain this himself. The trouble is: I'm not sure he could. That's his big problem, not his environmental record and his positions - which seems to drift with political winds.

It is not unusual for GOP members of Congress from Western Washington or from Eastern Washington (who have statewide ambitions) to lurch away from the mainstream of the GOP on isseus considered "green." It is also not unsual for GOP green groups to support them - yet these groups appear to most as contradictions in terms. But can the rest of the main GOP base support a big greenie? That's a problem for DR.

DR seems to have evolved on a number of subjects designed to paint him as more mainstream within his district than within the GOP. At some point the GOP base might just lose interest in him - unless it is just a numbers game for the GOP, as opposed to principles.

Posted by Daniel K

11:58 PM, May 28, 2008

David - Perhaps Mike Shields and Dave Reichert take us all for fools. That's certainly what his comments imply.

Perhaps you've read a posting I wrote three months ago regarding H.R. 5351, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 (http://www.kirkdorffer.com/ontheroadto2008/2008/02/anatomy-of-reichert-vote.shtml)?

In this bill the House repealed $13.6 billion in subsidies the Republican Congress had given to ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillip in 2004.

But how do we understand Reichert's votes on this?

After all, he voted for a Republican alternative to the bill that would have maintained the subsidies, effectively neutering the bill, and then turned around and voted for the bill that eliminated them.

So if Reichert was in favor of maintaining the subsidies, why did he vote to eliminate them? And if he is against the subsidies, why did he, on the same day, vote to preserve them?

These are real votes for sure, and I'd really like to hear how Mike Shields and Dave Reichert want to explain them away.

Here's my take: at the end of the day, this was one of those votes on which his party leadership told him "to vote a certain way" because it wouldn't look good in the 8th if he were to vote against a bill called the "Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008".

Posted by Turbine

7:08 AM, May 29, 2008

Where is Darcy? Why is she using Daniel K. to do Her speaking for her? What do we know about Darcy that would tell us about her potential votes?
Will she raise taxes, Absolutely, she has stated she will. Will she vote to remove individual property rights ? She is supported by the team that brought you the CAO, Ron, Larry, Dow and Dwight...heck she even hired Sandeep who had the distinction of pimping PROP 1 as her campaign manager. Darcy has not demonstrated any ability to work with people who are not in idealogical lockstep with her hard left position to get things done in the 8th District. None. Vote no on Darcy

Posted by Lorin

12:08 PM, May 29, 2008

What about his voting record regarding veterans? Voted AGAINST the G.I. bill two weeks ago? Shows a vote against veterans, which negates his "great" environmental record.

Posted by Turbine

6:43 PM, May 29, 2008

Gee Lorin, how would Darcy vote? Do you know? If so how? She has no record, she has demonstrated no ability for independant thought thought...ever. Why doesn't she show us all how would vote on every single Bill (and amendments to the Bills) before the house in the time frame allowed for the review of the Bills and amendments and place those votes with an independant third party and then we can get a sense of where she is at and parse her reasoning in the same fashion you and Daniel like to do it. Let the games begin.

Posted by TheTruth

4:29 PM, May 30, 2008

Daniel K,

I never trus t apolitical operatives characterization of bill or amendments. If you want to make your case, provide links to every bill you cite, otherwise it is just a case of wishfull thinking on your part as to what those bills really would do.

Posted by Daniel K

7:03 PM, May 30, 2008

Umm..., TheTruth, I always provide those links and the link I gave previously, http://www.kirkdorffer.com/ontheroadto2008/110thReichertFlippedVotes.html, has links to the roll calls and the bills.

Posted by Turbine

7:26 PM, May 30, 2008

And yet Daniel can not link to anything close to a record of any meaningful acomplishments for Darcy in the last 5 years. No employment, no public service, no volunteering, no charity work... it really does get "old" after awhile doesn't it Daniel? Darcy has done nothing to make herself more qualified for the position she seeks. She's all MoveOn money and no public service, an agenda driven leftist that could just as easily be running in the 7th instead of the 8th because in the end it's all about Darcy and not about the people in the district.

Recent entries

May 30, 08 - 11:44 AM
Rep. Simpson says charges dropped

May 29, 08 - 09:21 AM
Washington superdelegate backs Clinton

May 28, 08 - 10:10 AM
Reichert gets GOP enviro honor

May 28, 08 - 09:16 AM
A legacy vote for Hillary

May 27, 08 - 04:37 PM
Our team loses a good one

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