In response to the growing scandal surrounding Congressman Tom Reed's involvement in a $10,000 per person trip, Congressional candidate Nate Shinagawa (NY-23) is challenging Reed to join him in signing a pledge to put an end to free trips paid for by special interest groups.
The pledge, which Shinagawa announced via email today, states:
"I pledge that as a member of Congress, I will not accept offers of trips paid for by lobbyists or special interest groups. I will not allow my staff (or my family) to accept offers of trips paid for by lobbyists or special interest groups. Members of Congress represent their constituents and the United States of America when they travel abroad, and should not be representing the concerns of special interest groups or corporations. Voters deserve a Representative committed to ending -- not becoming a part of -- the culture of big-money influence in Washington."
Shinagawa will be holding an event later this week when he will sign the pledge and bring the signatures of citizen supporters from across the district and the country.
"I call on Congressman Reed to join me in signing this pledge. Instead of focusing on the embarrassing details from this trip, let's do something productive and change the Washington culture that has made these free vacations business-as-usual. I invite other candidates and members of Congress to sign this pledge not to accept free vacations for themselves, their staff, and their families. I also encourage everyday citizens to sign on in support of a Congress that represents them, not special interests," said Shinagawa.
Text of the email about the pledge:
Friend, did you see the news about my Republican opponent, Tom Reed?
News broke yesterday in the Buffalo News, Corning Leader, Hormell Evening Tribune, and elsewhere about an FBI investigation of Tom Reed and other freshmen members of Congress for a "skinny-dipping scandal" during a $10,000/person vacation -- paid for by Washington special interests.
And while the media is focused on the drinking and nudity, nobody is commenting on the most shocking fact: these special interest funded perks are business as usual in Congress, and Tom Reed is part of it.
I won't stand for it, and I won't take part. Today, I'm pledging to refuse free trips from special interests, and to be part of the solution to a Washington culture where special interest money buys politicians. Click here to sign on as a citizen supporter of my pledge.
In 2010, Tom Reed and the new Tea Party Congress were elected pledging to end the cronyism of Washington. At least twice in his first term, special interest groups sent Tom Reed on all-expense-paid trips. This latest one was reportedly $10,000/person for both Reed and his wife. Even Republican leaders reprimanded Reed and others for their behavior on this trip.
This is all part of a broken system of influence-peddling in Washington. Congressman Tom Reed and his Tea Party colleagues have failed to stand up against big-money interests. I have made a promise to New York's voters that my actions will not be decided by corporations or special interests, and I've promised to represent my district and my country with dignity and respect.
That's why I'm taking this pledge to refuse special interest trips, and to work to fix Washington's influence-peddling system.
Will you join me? Click here to sign on as a citizen supporter.
In a few days, I will hold a press conference for the media where I'll sign this pledge, and I'll bring your signatures along to show the amount of support we have.
Let's put our district in the national spotlight for job creation, economic growth, and technological innovations -- not special interest scandals.