Tim Johnson Watch

Representative Tim Johnson was elected to represent the residents of Illinois' 15th Congressional District in Central Illinois. His constituents should know what he's doing.

Location: 15th Congressional District, Illinois, United States

A concerned citizen of Central Illinois.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Tim Johnson Votes To Involve The Federal Government And Plainitff's Lawyers In Doctors' Provision Of Abortion Services

While it was a relatively slow week for legislation in Congress, Tim Johnson voted in favor of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which criminalizes transporting a minor (usually a 16 or 17 year old) to another state to obtain an abortion. Since most minors who consider abortions involve their parents in the decision voluntarily, the burden of this law will fall disproportionately on young women who are the victims of violence at home, or who fear violence or being forced to leave home.

It is obvious why those of us who support reproductive freedom should be disgusted by Mr. Johnson's support for this bill.

However, even those who oppose reproductive freedom should be given pause. The rallying cry of the anti-abortion movement used to be states' rights. Why should the federal government take a position on mandating notification? This bill requires the doctor, personally, to take responsibility for notifying the parents. Why should the federal government be inserting itself into the private doctor-patient relationship? What's worse, this bill would allow parents to sue anyone who helped their daughter obtain an abortion. It was barely a month ago that Johnson and the Republicans were arguing that "frivolous" lawsuits brought by "plainitff's lawyers" were crippling the legal and medical systems -- why is it all of a sudden a great idea to create a whole new class of civil lawsuits?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tim Johnson's Broken Term-Limit Promise

As Tim Johnson gears up for his campaign to be re-elected for a fourth term, let us remember that he won election in the first place by promising to serve for only three terms:
On March 21 [2000], self-limiter Tim Johnson won the Republican for the Illinois congressional seat currently held by retiring Rep. Tom Ewing. This win marks a victory for term limits advocates over the political establishment....

While both of the other candidates opposed all forms of term limits, Johnson ran for office on a pledge to serve as a citizen legislator and won with 44 percent of the vote.

“The seniority system in Congress hurts all of us because it rewards those who put their own reelection concerns above all else,” Johnson said. “I will enter Congress knowing full well the date upon which I will leave. I will focus entirely on the good of my district and my country.”

Americans for Limited Terms began airing TV ads in Johnson's district on February 25, highlighting Johnson's three-term self-limiting pledge.... (Emphasis added.)
Since Mr. Johnson will not keep his own promise to limit himself to three terms, I would urge the citizens of the Fifteeenth District to impose its own term limit upon him in November 2006.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Johnson Remains Silent As Evidence Of DeLay Corruption Mounts

The evidence against Tom DeLay continues to mount, as the Washington Post reports that DeLay violated multiple House ethics rules in permitting his expenses for his airfare to London and Scotland to be charged to lobbyist Jack Abramoff (himself the target of a federal criminal investigation) and allowed other expenses to be charged to yet another lobbyist, Edwin Buckham.

It is over two weeks since Republican Representative Chris Shays called for DeLay to step down as Majority Leader.

As previously reported here, it is seven months since Republican Congressman Mark Steven Kirk, who represents Illinois' Tenth District, gave back all $20,000 he received from Tom Delay.

It is five months since DeLay had thee House ethics rules changed to protect himself -- a change that both Kirk and Ray LaHood opposed, while Johnson skipped out on the meeting.

Is Tim Johnson ever going to stand up to Tom DeLay and in favor of ethics in government? Is he ever going to give DeLay his $25,000 back?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Give Tom DeLay His Money Back, Mr. Johnson!

With the Chicago Tribune reporting that all but one of the Republicans on the House Ethics Committee are ready to start proceedings against Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay for a raft of ethics violations (many summarized at the end of the Tribune article) -- and this further action less than a year after DeLay was admonished by the Ethics Committee for attempting to trade political favors for a vote on the Republican Medicare bill -- it seems a good time to consider Tim Johnson's close connection with Tom DeLay.

Tim Johnson has taken $25,000 for DeLay's ARMPAC
. No Illinois member of Congress has taken more. And yet Johnson has chosen to keep the money, even as one ethics scandal after another comes to light about DeLay.

It doesn't have to be this way. Republican Congressman Mark Steven Kirk, who represents Illinois' Tenth District, gave back all $20,000 he received from Tom Delay back in September. Why didn't Tim Johnson do the same?

What does Tom DeLay get from Tim Johnson for all that money? Here's the Coles County Democrats (scroll down to April 17):
Just how tangled up in Tom DeLay's House of Scandal is Timothy Johnson?

Timothy Johnson has taken $25,000 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. No surprise that Johnson voted with Tom DeLay 87% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005.

Is this the kind of government-for-hire that working families deserve?

Timothy Johnson voted to weaken the ethics rules in a move that many say served only to protect Tom DeLay.

Does the integrity of the House mean so little that Timothy Johnson would sacrifice it to defend Tom DeLay?

When Democrats offered a solution to clean up the House by strengthening ethics rules, Timothy Johnson voted to make sure it never even came to an up or down vote.

So instead of a bipartisan effort to get government working for Americans, Timothy Johnson stood for cronyism and partisan politics....

Voting percentage with DeLay:
calculated through:

3 Vote to weaken ethics rules:
H Res. 5, Roll Call #6, 1/4/05 YES
4 Vote to table Democratic solution:
H. Res. 153, Roll Call #70, 3/15/05 YES
The citizens of Central Illinois deserve an ethical government in Washington. Mr. Johnson, please follow the example of Republican Representative Kirk and give Tom DeLay his money back.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Tim Johnson Sells Out Constituents To Credit Card Companies

On Thursday, Tim Johnson voted for the bankruptcy "reform" bill, which makes it much harder for people to obtain bankruptcy protection, a huge gift to the credit card industry at the expense of ordinary citizens. There are no credit card companies in this district, but there are lots of ordinary people that may be one medical crisis away from bankruptcy.

Why would Tim Johnson vote for credit card companies over his constituents? Maybe he's just following Tom DeLay's orders (more on the DeLay connection later). Maybe's its the vast amount of corporate cash he receives, including substantial amounts from the banking industry ($5,000 from Bank-PAC, $10,500 from J.P. Morgan Chase's PAC, $4,500 from HSBC's (Hong Kong Shanghai Bank) PAC, and thousands more from various "community banking" PACs).

As Harvard's Elizabeth Warren explains, this is not a liberal-conservative issue. It's an issue of whether Congress is for sale:
Even after the horse race was over and it was clear the bill would pass, the press continued to write about the bankruptcy bill—and the stories weren’t pretty. The politicians who thought this would be a free vote discovered they were wrong. The middle class is beginning to rumble, and those rumbles will change things.

I’m also glad to see the old conservative-liberal dichotomy break down over bankruptcy. Both conservative and liberal bloggers exposed the rotten foundations of this bill, particularly the imperfect credit markets and the influence of money on politics.
We need a representative who is not for sale.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tim Johnson Votes Against House Ethics Reform

Via Daily Kos and Ben Wikler, Johnson votes against creating a “bi-partisan task force with equal representation of the majority and minority parties to make recommendations to restore public confidence in the ethics process.”

Why, Mr. Johnson?

Tim Johnson Votes For Mega-Millionaires Over His Constituents

Yesterday, H.R. 8, a bill co-sponsored by Tim Johnson to permanently repeal the estate tax, passed the house of representatives.

If enacted into law, H.R. 8 will hurt all Americans -- costing the federal government $290 billion over ten years, or about one percent of the budget.

Who will this bill help? Certainly not Johnson's constituents here in Central Illinois. For a married couple, the estate tax does not apply for estates less than $3 million, a number that's going up to $4 million next year and $7 million by 2009. Maybe that should be popular in Beverly Hills, but it does nothing for the residents of Johnson's district, who have a median household income of $38,583 and a median home value of $79,200.

Where is the News-Gazette? Its top story is about the State House's approval of red-light cameras, but it doesn't even mention Tim Johnson's co-sponsorship of a bill to give away massive amounts of his constitutents' money to the super-rich.