Tag Archives: John Campbell

Auto Sales Up: Dealers Should Thank the U.S. Government (But They Won’t)

The New York Times reported this week that “October was the best month for new-vehicle sales in more than two years, outside of the brief period in 2009 helped by government rebates.”

Sales for the auto industry were up 13.4 percent over all from a year ago.  Sales for General Motors rose 4.2 percent, sales for Ford Motor Company were up 19.3 percent, and sales for Chrysler jumped 37 percent.

General Motors’ vice president for sales, Don Johnson, was confident that the American Auto industry has recovered from the economic crisis that left them on the brink of total collapse less than two years ago; “Signs are there that the recovery continues and that it will be sustained,” said Johnson. “We don’t see a big risk at all of a double dip.”

It looks like federal intervention saved the U.S. Auto industry.  You would think that American auto dealers would be grateful — out of patriotism or self-interest or both.

Think again.

Those U.S. flags they like to wave at auto dealerships don’t mean “thank you.”

Instead of thanking the federal government, auto dealers continue to be  some of the largest contributors to far-right, anti-government Republicans, who rail against the very programs that pulled them from the brink of collapse.

This right-wing, anti-government hypocrisy on the part of auto dealers is especially true here in Orange County, where auto dealerships — like Irvine Auto Center — have often served as staging locations for Tea Party rallies, and where our local  car-salesman-in-chief, auto dealer and Congressman John Campbell, continues to blast the federal government for providing the money that kept his family auto dealership alive.

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Auto Dealers Ending Their Cash for (Political) Clunkers Program

cash-for-clunkers-we-can-helpThe nation’s largest auto dealers association has apparently decided to end its long standing participation in the Cash for (Political) Clunkers program.

An historically dependable source of income for Republicans in the House and Senate, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has long contributed about twice as much to Republican election campaigns than to Democrats.

In 2008, the NADA gave $968,000 to Democrats and $1,892,000 to Republicans ($923,000 to House Democrats and $1,679,500 to House Republicans; $45,000 to Senate Democrats and $212,500 to Senate Republicans).

In 2006, the results were similar – the NADA gave $842,600 to Democrats and $1,978,500 to Republicans ($752,600 to House Democrats and $1,827,000 to House Republicans; $90,000 to Senate Democrats and $151,500 to Senate Republicans).

The ratio was also similar in 2004 – the NADA gave $714,500 to Democrats and $1,888,800 to Republicans ($630,500 to House Democrats and $1,698,800 to House Republicans; $84,000 to Senate Democrats and $190,000 to Senate Republicans).

But for the 2010 election, the Auto Dealers’ political contributions have dramatically shifted gears.

So far, the NADA has given $134,300 to Democrats and only $43,000 to Republicans.  This figure includes $101,800 to House Democrats and $43,000 to House Republicans, and $32,500 to Senate Democrats and nothing at all to Senate Republicans.

The reasons for this unprecedented shift in the Auto Dealers’ political allegiance is pretty obvious: The Republicans have told Detroit and the nation’s auto dealers to drop dead, opposing both the Obama administration’s bailout of the U.S. auto industry and it’s hugely popular “Cash for Clunkers” program.

Here in Orange County, Republicans in Congress have benefited enormously in the past from the NADA’s political contributions.

In 2008, John Campbell (R-48th CD) – an auto dealer himself — received $10,000 from the NADA, which was the largest amount they gave to individual campaigns that year.  In  2006, the year that he was elected to his first full term, they gave Campbell $20,000, also the largest amount given to any campaign and twice as much as they gave to anyone else.

Dana Rohrabacher (R-46th CD) received $7,500 from the NADA in 2008, $5,000 in 2006, and $10,000 in 2004.

Ken Calvert (R-44th CD) also received $7,500 from the NADA in 2008, as well as $5,000 in 2006 and $5,000 in 2004.

What did the auto dealers get for their money?

Recently, not much.

On the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act, the auto bail out bill, Campbell voted “present” (citing his personal financial interest), while criticizing those who voted in favor.

Calvert voted “No,” calling it the “nationalization of the auto industry,” and Rohrabacher did not bother to vote at all.

On the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) program (the Cash for Clunkers bill), Campbell did vote “Aye” against his party, (apparently no longer concerned about his personal financial stake in the auto dealer business), as did Calvert, but Rohrabacher voted “No,” complaining that the bill is “nothing more than a subsidy to prop up auto manufacturers, many of which have already received billions in taxpayer money.”

As we get closer to the 2010 campaign, we’ll see whether the auto dealers again make the mistake they’ve made in the past of giving cash to these political clunkers.

So far, it seems that they’ve shifted gears and are driving in another political direction.

Foreclosure King Rules Orange County Republican Party

vulture_funds_gr1With Orange County’s real estate and mortgage industry-driven economy in shambles and local home foreclosures on the rise, you might think that our Republican politicians would want to distance themselves from those who are profiting from the misery of Orange County voters who have lost or are about to lose their homes.

Not so.

The Orange County Business Journal recently featured a glowing cover article on local Republican contributor, fundraiser, and king-maker Dale Dykema, founder and chief executive of Santa Ana-based T.D. Service Financial Corp, which bills itself as “one of the nation’s largest and most successful” foreclosure processing firms.

Not surprisingly, Dykema’s firm is “looking at record profits this year amid the foreclosure wave.”

According to the Business Journal, Dykema has helped lenders foreclose on more than 450,000 homes, and expects the current foreclosure crisis to make this his best year ever, with his company taking in more than $70 million in foreclosure fees.

Dykema also expects his good fortune to continue as the local economy tanks.

As Dykema told the Business Journal, “It takes time for the foreclosures to hit after the economy dropped. I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit a peak next year for this time around.”

The focus of the Business Journal article, however, was not on Dykema’s success as a foreclosure-profiteer or his record profits, but on his role as an Orange County GOP king-maker.

Dykema, the Business Journal explained, “has helped GOP congressmen get elected with money and campaign advice. His beneficiaries include nearly all of the county’s congressional delegation: John Campbell, Ed Royce, Dana Rohrbacher, Ken Calvert, John Lewis, as well as former congressman and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox.”

According to the Campaign Money website, Dykema contributed $54,450 to Republicans in 2008.   He is also responsible for raising many thousands more from others.

Of course, all of the current GOP congressmen on this list voted against the stimulus legislation intended to relieve the economic crisis from which Dykema is profiting.

All of them oppose efforts to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

And all of them, including former congressman Chris Cox, were instrumental in creating the deregulated mortgage mess that lead to the foreclosure crisis in the first place.

Amidst the rubble of Orange County’s housing market, Dykema and his Orange County Republican cronies can be proud of helping at least one business expand:

Dykema’s.

Why I’m NOT Giving to National Public Radio

Southern California’s public radio station, KPCC-FM (89.3), is in the midst of an on-air fund raising drive.  I won’t be contributing, and here’s why:

kpccDuring the past election campaign, KPCC repeatedly refused to give air time on it’s talk shows (in particular, Larry Mantle’s Air Talk and the Patt Morrison show) to Democratic candidates in Orange County who were challenging Republican incumbents.  At the same time, Orange County Republican Representative John Campbell (48th CD) was featured several times on KPCC, explaining and defending his vote in favor of the massive federal bailout of financial institutions.

No one on KPCC questioned Campbell on the incongruity of his vote in favor of giving billions of dollars to financial institutions, while consistently voting against nearly every other expenditure of federal funds, including funds for a local desalinization plant and for veterans’ benefits.

Nor did KPCC permit Campbell’s Democratic opponent, Steve Young, who was against the bailout, to respond to Campbell.  Instead, KPCC insisted that before Young got any airtime, he would have to prove to KPCC that his candidacy was in a position to unseat Campbell.  Of course, it is more difficult to unseat an incumbent when only the incumbent gets free access to the public airwaves.

Since KPCC has shown that it is no friend of Democrats and progressives in Orange County, I will not be contributing to its fund raising campaign.

I also suggest that other Democrats and progressives in Orange County give their money to causes and organizations that are more responsive and even-handed.