With his refusal to respond to a debate challenge now in its 47th day, Rep. David Loebsack faces new questions about whether he'll vote to protect the latest high-ranking congressional Democrat caught up in a financial scandal.
Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks called on Loebsack to reveal if he has accepted campaign contributions from Rep. Maxine Waters, who will face a trial for her reported role in steering federal funds to a bank to which she is personally connected.
Waters is being investigated for arranging meetings between Treasury Department officials and representatives of OneUnited Bank. Waters' husband served on the bank's board of directors and continues to own its stock. The bank received $12.1 million in federal bailout money after Waters' personally intervened with the Treasury Department.
"David Loebsack voted to bail out the big banks and Wall Street and voted for the recently approved financial reform legislation that exempts The Securities and Exchange Commission from virtually all open records laws. The next question is, will he vote to bail out Maxine Waters, who is another entrenched, politics-as-usual Washington insider?" Miller-Meeks said.
Miller-Meeks, who has challenged Loebsack to debate in each of the Second Congressional District's 15 counties, has called the incumbent's silence a "disservice to his constituents."
"He owes it to the people of this district to stand up for his record instead of running and hiding," Miller-Meeks said. "Today, he also owes it to us to say whether he's going to vote to protect Maxine Waters the same way he sided with Charlie Rangel two years ago to slow the Ethics Committee investigation of him."
Rangel now faces a trial in the House on 13 ethics charges stemming from allegations that he avoid taxes and misused his office. Loebsack hadn't even completed his first term when he accepted a $5,000 contribution from Rangel and voted to block the ethics probe into Rangel's activities. It was only when Miller-Meeks challenged Loebsack about the contribution that he sent the money to a charity.
Miller-Meeks' campaign first attempted to fax or hand-deliver the challenge to Loebsack's campaign headquarters two days after the June 8 primary election but calls were immediately forwarded to voice mail and its only mailing address is a post office box. Miller-Meeks sent the challenge to Loebsack's campaign headquarters by registered mail the following week.
"David Loebsack never has trouble saying 'yes' to anything Nancy Pelosi wants. He should say 'yes' today to constituents, who want him to debate," Miller-Meeks said.