People have short memories. Last September, there was a strong rumor floating around that House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was miffed at Rep. Ed Towns (NY) for his vote in favor of CAFTA. Well, maybe that was all for show because Pelosi is one of the headliners for Towns at a fundraiser for his re-election.
At $100 a throw (which, to Towns' credit, is pretty cheap by fundraiser standards), you can join Pelosi and other Democratic House notables like Steny Hoyer, John Dingell and *Nidia* Velazquez (the spelling of Velazquez's name is as it appears on the invite--you'd think Towns could at least get the spelling of his colleague Nydia's name right) at Towns' "Taste of New York" in D.C. on May 17th. So much for Pelosi standing on principle.
This should agitate New York labor. After Towns' vote, a number of labor leaders wrote to Pelosi, demanding that Towns and Rep. Greg Meeks (the other CAFTA 15 member from New York) be removed from their committee assignments where, in the words of the letter, “They have used their committee membership cards to access corporate America’s ATM at the expense of working families for far too long.” I'm particularly curious to see what my UAW friends think about Dingell supporting a guy like Towns: after all, it's so-called "free trade" that is devastating the UAW, with which Dingell has had a very close relationship.
Towns deserves to be defeated in a primary. Not only is he a CAFTA 15 member but he also does Wal-Mart's bidding. As I wrote last November, Towns was one of the 22 Democrats who, on June 24 2005, voted against an amendment to the 2006 fiscal year labor appropriations bill (offered by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut). This bill barred any spending of money by the Department of Labor to implement the part of the deal the department had made with Wal-Mart calling for advance notice of inspections any time the DOL planned to investigate Wal-Mart. Meaning, the DOL had said it would tell Wal-Mart when it was coming to do a "surprise" inspection!
By the way, if you want to tell Towns why you won't be coming to his fundraiser, you can e-mail to the RSVP contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: I now hear that Pelosi's people are saying that it was a mistake to have her name, as well as Hoyer's name (he's the Democratic whip) and the other members of Congress. They are attributing this to the zeal of Towns' fundraiser. So, those names are apparently coming off of Towns' invite.