|INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Messer is newly under fire after reports yesterday about pay-for-play allegations surrounding his campaign. An ethics complaint filed earlier this week claims that Congressman Messer wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve on behalf of a constituent that was out of the ordinary for its aggressive tone, and two weeks later, the man made a donation to his campaign, WTHR reported—his first political contribution in nearly a decade.
The new complaint means that Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita both have ethics complaints filed against each other in the last month alone. Another complaint was recently filed against Congressman Rokita over claims by several official staffers that they were compelled to do “volunteer” political work, a potential misuse of taxpayer resources.
INDIANAPOLIS – Rep. Mike Braun’s eye-catching $1 million dollar third quarter has thrown an already “vicious” GOP primary into even more chaos today and established him as another leading candidate.
Rep. Braun, who had repeatedly hinted that he’d be willing to self-fund his campaign, announced today that he’d donated $800,000 to his own campaign for the GOP’s senate nomination. Notably, Rep. Braun also raised $200,000 since declaring for the race in August, bringing his total to an even $1 million for the quarter.
The announcement adds another dimension to a primary that has already been called “the nastiest race in politics.” Rep. Braun has stated before that he believes Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s constant infighting gives him a path to victory, a belief he confirmed with the injection of his own money. “The tone of the race, as exhibited by the two of them — and I think especially Todd Rokita, who I think has been throwing most of the punches,” is concerning for Republicans, Rep. Braun told the AP. “I think that general disappointment with the way discourse unfurls is out there.”
The fundraising announcement makes clear that not only is Rep. Braun a serious contender for the race, he also might quickly catch up with the two previous GOP front-runners. Congressman Rokita and Congressman Messer had early starts due to their House of Representatives campaign war chests that predate their official Senate candidacies, but Rep. Braun’s third quarter is roughly the same amount Congressman Rokita raised in the previous quarter, and nearly twice as much as Congressman Messer’s haul.
“The nastiest race in politics just got a little nastier,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Hoosiers are likely to be as unimpressed by Rep. Braun as they are by out-of-touch and extreme Washington Republicans like Congressmen Messer and Rokita. But Rep. Braun’s statement of intent today makes it even more clear that the GOP’s primary will be long, brutal, and permanently damaging to their ultimate nominee.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly 100,000 Hoosier children are set to have their healthcare taken away from them in the coming months after Republicans in Washington like Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita let the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expire.
CHIP is a popular program that provides health insurance for nine million children nationwide, and is responsible for the uninsured rate of American children falling to 4.5% by 2015—a nearly 10% drop since the bill’s 1997 passage. The program was routinely reauthorized with bipartisan majorities until it expired on September 30.
Now that Republican majorities in Congress have failed to make an effort to renew the program before it expired, however, CHIP funding for many states is poised to run out in the coming months. States will either have to pay for the program themselves or let many kids go without health insurance. In Indiana alone, roughly 99,000 children relied on CHIP for their insurance by the end of 2016, a number that has increased dramatically over the last several years.
“If action is not taken soon to restore the funding, the effects will become obvious in schools across the country,” the Washington Post wrote, “with many of the children in the program unable to see a doctor for routine checkups, immunizations, visits when sick and other services.”
Despite the program’s importance, Congressman Rokita, Congressman Messer and their Republican colleagues were apparently too consumed by their relentless and failed efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act to keep CHIP going past Saturday. The GOP failed to even attempt to keep the program alive before the deadline, starting the clock on states’ dwindling funding pools.
“Congressman Rokita and Congressman Messer have been so concerned with dismantling our nation’s health care system for partisan gain that they didn’t even blink before allowing health insurance for 100,000 of the youngest and most vulnerable Hoosiers to start expiring,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Are Republicans too irresponsible to understand that having majorities in Congress means they have the duty to govern and protect vital programs like CHIP? Or is it that they’re too heartless to care?”
Congressman Messer still silent on U.S. Senate frontrunner’s hateful actions
INDIANAPOLIS – Despite trying to mimic Roy Moore’s extremist campaign in Indiana, Congressman Rokita is now attempting to have it both ways, trying to excuse himself by saying that he doesn’t know Moore after writing a lengthy memo praising his campaign.
Congressman Rokita’s campaign brought the Alabama Senate race to Indiana Wednesday after publishing a memo claiming that his race was in the mold of Moore’s own successful primary run. “The outsider candidate in Alabama tapped into the same… dynamic,” the memo claimed, that “is going to be alive and well among Indiana’s Republican primary electorate.”
But when asked about Moore, Congressman Rokita furiously backpedaled, telling a Roll Call reporter that he wouldn’t comment on Moore’s message the same day his campaign wrote a memo praising it:
Rokita wouldn’t comment Wednesday on how or whether he would identify with Moore and his message.
“That’s all I have to say,” Rokita said when asked about Moore. “I don’t know either of those gentlemen, so I can’t really comment on it.”
If Congressman Rokita truly doesn’t know who Moore is, he should be made aware of the Alabaman’s history of extremism that long predates his Senate candidacy. And he should know that it’s impossible to separate Moore the candidate from Moore the judge, who gained notoriety among Alabama Republicans – and was forced to take the outsider lane – primarily because of his bigoted and hateful remarks.
Notable actions by Moore include:
- Claiming that America was partially responsible for everything from the September 11 attacks to the Sandy Hook massacre because “we’ve distanced ourselves” from God;
- Stating that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal, and even failing to say that being LGBT should not be punishable by death;
- Directing judges under him to ignore the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage;
- And saying that his “personal belief” was that President Obama wasn’t born in America.
Moore has also claimed that Muslim representatives like Congressman Andre Carson, Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s own colleague in the Indiana House Delegation, should not be seated in Congress because of their religion. The comment directly contradicts the professed beliefs of Congressmen Messer and Rokita, who said just a few weeks ago that someone’s religious beliefs should have no correlation to their fitness for public service.
Congressman Messer hasn’t commented on Moore or Congressman Rokita’s memo, Roll Call reported. When asked, his campaign visibly ignored the topic, discussing Congressman Messer’s support for Trump in a statement instead. He has not been pressed further.
“Congressman Rokita is now trying to have his disgusting, bigoted cake and eat it too,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “He can’t be so short-sighted to think he can position himself as Roy Moore’s Indiana heir apparent while claiming to know nothing about him or the extremist positions that led to his rise. If Congressman Rokita believes Hoosier voters are foolish enough to believe him when he tries to talk out of both sides of his mouth, he’s in for a rude awakening.”
INDIANAPOLIS – The nine-month Republican crusade to kill off the Affordable Care Act may be ending this weekend for the foreseeable future, but throughout the process, Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s efforts to do brutal harm to Hoosiers has been very real.
Republicans in Washington have made multiple efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by party-line vote before this weekend, when their window to use reconciliation and pass a health care overhaul with only 50 Senate votes will close. Congressman Messer and Rokita have supported every partisan attempt in both the House and Senate that Republicans have tried this year, including voting to pass the American Health Care Act out of the House in May.
Their proposals may not have become law, but all of the bills that Congressmen Messer and Rokita have supported would have thrown America’s health care system into chaos. Had the two men gotten their way, more than $800 billion would have been cut from Medicaid, gutting HIP 2.0, which covers 400,000 Hoosiers. Medicaid also provides funding for everything from helping children with developmental disabilities, to helping fight the scourge of opioid abuse, to long-term care for seniors.
Under the plans supported by Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita, premiums for the average Hoosier would have increased by over $1,000 every year. And because of an “age tax” that allowed insurers to charge older Hoosiers up to five times the average rate, premiums for adults getting ready to retire would have shot up several times more.
Insurers also would have been able to discriminate against Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions, potentially preventing coverage for the very ailments for which it’s needed or causing premiums to skyrocket for conditions that affect 30% of Hoosiers, including cancer and asthma. 365,000 Hoosiers would have been stripped of their health care over 10 years should the AHCA become law. Their proposal may even have weakened employer-based health care plans, which half of all Americans use.
The GOP’s efforts may have failed momentarily, but Congressmen Messer and Rokita now seem like they’d prefer to sabotage insurance markets in order to position themselves for later attempts to dismantle the health care system. While a group of bipartisan senators, including Joe Donnelly, has tried to work together to improve the Affordable Care Act and stabilize the markets, Congressmen Rokita and Messer have not supported the efforts. If nothing is done, insurers in future years could raise rates for Hoosiers by as much as 40%, reports in June stated.
“Hoosiers are breathing sighs of relief as the window for Republicans’ current opportunity to dismantle the health care system closes for now. But they’re not resting easy, and they haven’t forgotten what Republicans like Congressmen Rokita and Messer have tried to do,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz. “After they worked to destroy HIP 2.0 and give insurers the right to discriminate against Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions, voters won’t give Congressmen Messer and Rokita more opportunities to affect their health care the next time they’re up on the ballot.”