Thursday, July 24, 2008

McHenry Helps the Predatory Lending Industry Kick Out Families

Daniel Johnson, candidate for North Carolina's 10th Congressional District, rebuked Congressman Patrick McHenry's vote against a comprehensive, bipartisan response to the current mortgage crisis. The American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act (HR 3221) passed with support from Republicans and Democrats alike.

"While the subprime crisis arose due to the actions of irresponsible lenders and irresponsible borrowers, failure to act to stabilize the housing market affects all homeowners and drags down the entire economy," said Johnson.

McHenry, who has accepted campaign contributions from predatory lenders like Countrywide, voted against tightening mortgage disclosure requirements to make mortgage loan terms more understandable to aspiring homeowners.

"For most Western North Carolina families their most important asset is their home," said Johnson, "We need a leader in Washington who represents homeowners, not subprime lenders."

Congressman McHenry voted against providing families using the standard deduction an additional $1,000 deduction for property taxes, which would grant 30 million taxpayers approximately $15 billion in tax benefits.

The legislation that McHenry opposed also encourages homeownership among our nation's veterans by increasing the VA home loan limit and by allowing military personnel returning from deployment three to nine months before a lender can begin foreclosure proceedings.

Congressman McHenry, who sits on the Financial Services committee, was in position to take action before problems in the mortgage industry rose to a crisis level. His failure to fulfill his duties both before and after this crisis arose has damaged the pocketbooks of all American families.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pat loans his own campaign $175,000

By Paul Teague, Local News Editor

Incumbent 10th District U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry has loaned his campaign committee $175,000, according to a Federal Election Commission fund-raising report. Both McHenry, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Daniel Johnson submitted their required financing data to the FEC for the second quarter of 2008 this past week.

The report shows that McHenry, a Cherryville resident and Gaston County native who is seeking his third two-year term in Washington, made the loan on June 30, the final day of the reporting period that began April 17. The note carries an interest rate of 6 percent and is payable on demand.

McHenry also has an existing loan for $90,500 with First National Bank in Shelby that was made during his first campaign for congress is 2004.

While the Johnson camp views the loan as a sign of financial weakness for the congressman, the McHenry campaign said the personal cash injection does not mean he is having difficulty with his re-election operation and sought to deflect questions back to the race itself.

"Patrick is raising the money it takes to keep fighting for Western North Carolina," McHenry for Congress Campaign Manager Rebecca Yount said. "His opponent's campaign is being well funded by liberal special-interest groups, but we will have the resources to win in November."

Yount characterized McHenry's loan as a "personal investment in his fight for good jobs and lower gas prices."

But the Johnson campaign believes the loan is evidence that McHenry is vulnerable.

"This shows (McHenry) may not be confident he can get the support that he needs from the district," Johnson for Congress Campaign Manager Lauren Moore said, adding that she is surprised McHenry is having to tap personal resources several months before the Nov. 4 general election.

The overall report shows that McHenry raised $145,665 in the quarter, including $101,665 from individuals and $44,000 from political action committees (PACs). Johnson, a Hickory native and former Wake County prosecutor, took in $124,729, with $106,345 coming from individual donations and $17,500 from PACs.

Faced with a primary challenger for the first time since being elected in 2004, McHenry's campaign spent $235,176 in the last quarter. Johnson, seeking to become the first Democrat to represent Caldwell County in Washington since 1962, spent $68,963. As of June 30, McHenry had $410,742 cash on hand and $265,500 in debts from the two loans. Johnson reported $218,504 in the bank and no outstanding debt.

Regarding Johnson's fund-raising, Moore said, "I think it shows that we are competitive and that we have the support to be able to stay competitive with a two-term incumbent who is well-financed by the banking and insurance lobbies."

Johnson said the report is indicative of "the strong coalition we are building here in the 10th District. People in our community are joining with us because they are ready to end partisan bickering and want leaders who will work hard to find real solutions to the serious problems facing Western North Carolina families."

For the financing cycle that began in 2007, McHenry has raised more than $1 million and spent $915,780. According to FEC report, 43 percent of McHenry's money has come from individuals, while 42 percent has been from PACs. Bank of America's PAC gave McHenry's campaign $4,000 in the second quarter, while recent BofA acquisition Countrywide Financial – a casualty of the national mortgage crisis – kicked in $3,000. The largest PAC donation for McHenry this period was $5,000 from the National Automotive Dealers Association's Dealers Election Action Committee.

Johnson has raised $341,942 overall and spent $123,438. Individual donations have accounted for nearly 92 percent of his campaign funds. In the second quarter, Johnson received $7,000 overall from New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel's campaign and his National Leadership PAC, while North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler gave $1,000 from his 3rd and Long PAC. Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer gave $5,000 through his Committee for a Livable Future PAC, with N.C. Reps. Bob Etheridge and Mel Watt donating $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

Though favored to win another term in the traditionally Republican district, there have been indications that McHenry is engaged in a tougher fight than his previous general election campaigns.

A district poll last month showed McHenry 11 points ahead of Johnson, though he had lower support than fellow Republicans John McCain and Pat McCrory in their campaigns for president and governor, respectively. And two weeks ago, the Cook Political Report – a non-partisan newsletter that analyzes elections – moved the 10th District seat from "Solid Republican" to "Likely Republican."

The campaigns will report third quarter fund-raising totals October 15.

Patrick McHenry and Big Oil

Chairman Chris Van Hollen announced today that the DCCC is launching the “Independence from Big Oil” campaign and will run radio ads against Representatives Robin Hayes (NC-08) and Patrick McHenry (NC-10), who both have stood with George Bush and Big Oil while North Carolina’s middle class families are being squeezed by the highest gas prices in history. The radio ads were recorded by a comedian impersonating President Bush.

“We will be going district-by-district to hold House Republicans accountable for helping President Bush give tax breaks to profitable Big Oil companies and doing nothing to help hardworking middle class Americans who are paying more than $4.00 per gallon at the pump,” said Chairman Chris Van Hollen. “This Independence Day, the American people deserve to be liberated from the Big Oil policies of President Bush and the rubber stamp House Republicans.”

Van Hollen highlighted that the radio ads were recorded by a Bush impersonator, “President Bush's Big Oil energy policies delivered high gas prices to the American people, so who better to deliver our message than someone who sounds just like him?

In addition to the “Independence from Big Oil” radio ads, the DCCC will be doing web videos and e-mails in targeted districts. The radio ads will begin airing during drive time the week of June 30th. The initial ad buy is for one week. The ads will run in 13 districts across America, including 2 districts in North Carolina.

Listen to the ad running in Patrick McHenry's district: