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Whose Side is Silvestre Reyes On?

Released: March 12, 2008 DFA runs full-page ad targeting Rep. Reyes on telecom immunity BURLINGTON, VT -- Democracy for America, our nations largest progressive political action organization, is running a full-page ad in the Thursday edition of the El Paso Times. The ad is directed at Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Rep. Reyes has made numerous comments indicating he is open to granting what he calls blanket immunity to the telecommunications companies who participated in President Bushs program of warrantless wiretapping. DFA has been leading the effort to block the Bush administrations attempt to provide retroactive immunity. Last week, Democracy for America Political Director Charles Chamberlain sent a message to DFAs 675,000 members asking them to take action and call Rep. Reyes: He needs to know we are counting on him. He needs to know that if he wont stand up to President Bush, then DFA members will find someone to replace him who will. The message to DFA members resulted in thousands of phone calls to Rep. Reyes offices in El Paso and Washington. By the end of the day, Jeremy Bash, the Chief Counsel to the House Intelligence Committee, called Democracy for America to discuss Rep. Reyes position on retroactive immunity. On behalf of Rep. Reyes, Mr. Bash provided a statement to DFA indicating that the Chairman was not changing his position and was still open to immunity. A majority of Democrats in the House and Senate are opposed to retroactive telecom immunity. From Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Sen. Chris Dodd, Democrats have been unified against giving AT&T, Verizon, and President Bush a get out of jail free card. Even Bill Foster, a self-described Blue Dog who just won a special election to fill the remainder of Dennis Hasterts term, is not in favor of granting immunity. Richard Clarke (former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council), Rand Beers (former Senior Director for Combating Terrorism at the National Security Council), Lt. Gen. Don Kerrick (former Deputy National Security Advisor), and Suzanne Spaulding (former assistant general counsel at the CIA) recently sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell expressing their opposition to telecom immunity: Telecommunications companies will continue to cooperate with lawful government requests, particularly since FISA orders legally compel cooperation with the government. Again, it is unclear to us that the immunity debate will affect our surveillance capabilities. The intelligence community currently has the tools it needs to acquire surveillance of new targets and methods of communication. Rep. Reyes has a clear choice to make. Is he with the American people, the US Constitution, and experienced intelligence officials or is he with President Bush and his cronies?, said Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America. Telecom immunity is a sham that the President is using to hide his illegal activities and scare people for political gain." ###
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Iowa Deserves Better Than Leonard Boswell

Released On: March 10, 2008 BURLINGTON, VT Democracy for America, our nation's largest progressive political action organization, endorsed Ed Fallon's campaign for Congress last month and Leonard Boswell is scared. Fallon is challenging Boswell in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa's 3rd Congressional District. There is good reason for Rep. Boswell to be worried: an unimpressive Congressional record coupled with his support for the failed policies of the Bush administration. Since first being elected to Congress in 1996, Boswell has only managed to get 2 bills out of committee and enacted into law. 2 bills in 12 years; the change Iowa need in Washington is not going to happen with Leonard Boswell. "Leonard Boswell has been trapped in the Washington insider culture for 12 years and that is just not going to cut it," said Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America. "Rep. Boswell is part of a go-along, get-along Congress that has allowed President Bush, the Republican Party, and corporate special interests to run roughshod over our economy and our Constitution." While Rep. Boswell has not been introducing legislation, he has been voting for a host of unsound and unpopular Bush policies. He voted for the War in Iraq and has voted for each and every one of the President's bills to fund it. He voted for the Patriot Act and has been a champion of retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that participated in the President's program of warrantless wiretapping. And, he has done this while collecting boatloads of cash from Washington PACs and lobbyists. In fact, 74% of his campaign contributions have come from the political action committees of companies like AT&T and Wal-Mart. "We not only need more Democrats, but better Democrats," said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America. "Ed Fallon is an experienced legislator who unlike Leonard Boswell will represent his constituents and not his corporate donors."
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Rep. Silvestre Reyes: Deal or No Deal?

Released: March 5, 2008 DFA Members Tell Rep. Reyes No Telecom Immunity BURLINGTON, VT Democracy for America, our nation's largest progressive political action organization, is putting the pressure on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D TX). Rep. Reyes indicated he is open to a deal with the White House on immunity for the telecommunications companies who participated in President Bush program of warrantless wiretapping. DFA members are calling Rep. Reyes' Washington and El Paso offices demanding that he stand with Speaker Pelosi and the majority of House Democrats against telecom immunity. "In just a few hours, Democracy for America members have made thousands of calls to Rep. Reyes letting him know he has a duty to uphold the Constitution," said DFA Chair Jim Dean. "House Democrats have been firm in their opposition to telecom immunity and Rep. Reyes should follow their lead." Earlier today, Democracy for America Political Director Charles Chamberlain sent a message to DFA's 675,000 members asking them to take action and call Rep. Reyes: He needs to know we are counting on him. He needs to know that if he won't stand up to President Bush, then DFA members will find someone to replace him who will. DFA is supporting Ed Fallon, an opponent of telecom immunity, in his primary challenge of incumbent Bush-Democrat Leonard Boswell in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District. Rep. Boswell has already voted for telecom immunity. Last month, Democracy for America was instrumental in Donna Edwards' primary victory over incumbent Bush-Democrat Al Wynn in Maryland's 4th Congressional District. A staffer at Rep. Reyes' El Paso office told a caller that no decision on telecom immunity had been made and she could not imagine why Rep Reyes would go against his close friend Speaker Pelosi. Grassroots pressure from Democracy for America members has been essential at every stage of the battle to stop telecom immunity. "Rep. Reyes has a choice: is he with the American people or is he with President Bush and his cronies from AT&T and Verizon," said Democracy for America Executive Director Arshad Hasan. "We hope Rep Reyes makes the right decision." ###
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Democracy for America Endorses Joe Garcia for the United States House of Representatives

Released On: February 28, 2008 BURLINGTON, VT Democracy for America, our nation's largest progressive political action organization, has endorsed Joe Garcia's campaign to represent Florida's Twenty-fifth Congressional District. "Joe Garcia is a tough, dynamic Democrat and Democracy for America is proud to endorse his campaign for Congress," said Jim Dean, Chair of DFA. "Joe's opponent, Mario Diaz-Balart, has lost touch with the needs of his constituents and has been a consistent vote for the failed policies of the Bush administration. Rep. Diaz-Balart even voted three times against health care for kids because he didn't want to offend his tobacco lobbyist buddies. Joe Garcia offers the type of leadership the district needs in Washington." Joe Garcia is a community leader who has the vision to bring real change to South Florida and help fix Washington. Joe worked his way through the University of Miami Law School while serving as director of the Exodus Project of the Cuban American National Foundation. Joe continued this work after law school, traveling to 17 countries to meet with dozens of world leaders, reuniting thousands of families that had been scattered throughout the world. In 1991, Joe was appointed Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission where he led the deregulation of the state's telecommunications industry, which led to lower prices for consumers. Later on, he worked closely with state lawmakers from both parties to sign the largest energy rate cut in Florida's history. For 20 years, Joe Garcia has been a leader on the issues that affect the lives of real people. In Washington, he will be a leader on key issues like strengthening our middle class, providing all Americans excellent health care, and re-establishing America as the moral and economic world leader. "Across the country DFA is making a difference by motivating young people to become actively involved in politics. The work of DFA is important to our community because it advocates a new kind of politics; one that breaks from the divisive special interest politics of the past," said Joe Garcia. "It is an honor to have the endorsement of such an important national organization that is committed to promoting the kind of grassroots activism that will lead to real change in South Florida." Democracy for America is a key endorsement in this race, bringing hundreds of donations from progressives around the country and providing volunteers to participate in door-to-door, grassroots outreach. The DFA Training Academy has trained tens of thousands of activists across the country in the strategies and tactics of successful campaigns and will be coming to Miami in July. "Joe Garcia supports progressive values like ending the War in Iraq, expanding access to affordable health care and, protecting the economic well-being of working men and women. DFA will stand with candidates who stand up for progressive values." said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of DFA. ###
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Donna Edwards Defeats Incumbent

Released On: February 13, 2008 The Real Democrat Wins Maryland Congressional Primary Rockville, MD Democracy for America, our nation's largest progressive political action organization, provided the critical support that propelled Donna Edwards to victory in the Maryland 4th Congressional District Democratic primary. Donna Edwards resoundingly beat the Bush-Democrat incumbent, Al Wynn, in Tuesday's Democratic primary. DFA raised over $40,000 for Ms. Edwards' campaign and local DFA members were the boots on the ground who staffed phone banks, walked precincts, and supplied the necessary grassroots support that was key to Tuesday's victory. "Al Wynn has a shameful record in Congress and thanks to Donna his days of ignoring his constituents are soon to be over," said Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America. "Al Wynn has been a consistent vote for George Bush's War in Iraq and for big oil companies, big banking companies, big insurance companies, and against working people. Donna Edwards is ready to provide the progressive leadership that the residents of Maryland's 4th Congressional District deserve." Ms. Edwards ran on a progressive platform that emphasized important differences with Mr. Wynn. In stark contrast to the incumbent, her campaign focused on issues like providing comprehensive health care for all Americans, repealing the bankruptcy law, standing up against wealthy corporate special interests, and ending the War in Iraq. "While Al Wynn was taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate special interests and lobbyists, Donna Edwards was working to pass the Violence Against Women Act. While Al Wynn was voting to allow President Bush to continue his War in Iraq, Donna Edwards was fighting the big pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of prescription drugs," said Gina Angiola, local DFA member and Montgomery County Coordinator for the Donna Edwards for Congress campaign. "Democracy for America has stood by me since the beginning and their support was vital for my campaign," said Donna Edwards. "DFA knows that a progressive message and an effective grassroots campaign can beat out money, cynicism, and special interests." ###
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