President Trump’s pace car lap around the Daytona 500 track might as well have been a victory lap. What a month he is having. The good news for Trump continues as the impeachment trial backfired on the Democrats, his rallies have long lines with boisterous overflow crowds, the Iowa Caucus being a disaster for the Democrats, the economy continues to roar and his job approval numbers are at all-time highs.
Embedded establishment Republicans who may have not immediately warmed to candidate Trump now have adopted him as though they supported him all along. Good politicians know how to stick their fingers in the air and judge the prevailing winds, and teaming with Trump and this economy is a winning strategy for them.
These “swamp” Republicans have even figured out a way to hide their terrible voting records and associations with questionable lobbyists in plain sight. Trump is so popular their disastrous conservative voting records readily can be overcome simply by advertising their photo ops with the president at every opportunity.
Case in point: my Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
Brady, who did not endorse Trump during the 2016 primary, has served 24 years in the House of Represenatives from one of the most conservative districts in the nation (Texas Congressional District 8). Yet, despite having an “F” Liberty Score with Conservative Review, he has used his powerful campaign war chest, lobbying connections, and deceptive conservative credentials to wrangle over $3.7 million in compensation from taxpayers during his tenure in the House. Challengers to Brady are few and far between—largely because Brady will browbeat them with his campaign largesse and because he is effective at using his newfound best friend, President Trump as cover.
The presumption is that President Trump awarded Brady his recent endorsement for reelection for carrying water for him on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Brady’s loyalty to former Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan, and his ability to stay the course for the swamp Republicans (especially against the Tea Party) were rewarded with this chairmanship from Ryan before Trump was elected. Brady gleefully gloats in his campaign material about how instrumental he was in getting this legislation passed, however he makes no mention of why he never proposed the similar legislation during the previous 22 years he was in the House before Trump arrived.
Brady also touts this legislation as “tax reform” even though there were no reforms of the tax code itself or any curbs to IRS corruption and abuse. One could competently argue that adjustments to marginal tax rates is not “reform,” because the rates are not permanent and might easily be undone by a new administration. Under his watch as the chief tax architect, fraudulent EITC tax credits continued to flow to illegal aliens for dependents who didn’t exist or never stepped foot in the United States.
Brady’s claims on credit for Trump’s tax cuts is something akin to Babe Ruth’s batboy asking to be recognized for the Bambino’s career home run record.
Like most swamp Republicans, Brady touts his right-to-life and pro-Second Amendment bona fides, even though Brady has accepted $17,700 in this election cycle from a lobbyist (Paul Weiss, et al) connected to a law firm where former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch is a partner. That same firm has financially supported pro-abortion candidates, sued gun manufacturers, and battled the Trump Administration over illegal immigration issues. Worse, the lobby firm has accepted over $1 million from disgraced Nissan Motors CEO Carlos Ghosn, a fugitive from Interpol who was indicted by the Japanese government for embezzlement, jumped bail, and fled to Lebanon—whose government has refused to extradite him back to Japan.
The only plausible explanation for why Trump, the NRA, and various right-to-life groups continue to endorse swamp Republicans like Brady likely is the fact he is the devil they know and in some ways is easily led by the nose.
The NRA, for example, has always claimed it will endorse any incumbent whose voting record on the Second Amendment has been favorable, no matter their stance on any other issues. They seem to have forgotten that as a Texas state legislator, Brady was one of only two Republicans in 1995 who voted against concealed-carry.
Like other swamp Republicans, Brady never met a spending bill he didn’t like—voting for any continuing resolution or omnibus that kicks the can down the road, swells the debt and deficit, while continuing to fund abortions and choke funds for Trump’s border wall.
Yet Brady has found his safe space, hiding in plain sight on the Trump bandwagon and unfortunately, it’s highly likely his constituents won’t see past the façade to upset Brady’s reelection against his current Tea Party-backed primary opponent, Kirk Osborn.
To date, there has been no public statement from the Brady campaign about returning the $17,700 in campaign contributions that would seem directly to contradict Brady’s claim to any right-to-life or Second Amendment credentials or, for that matter, has there been any indication of shame about accepting funds that originated from a wanted fugitive of the law.
As it is with his fellow swamp Republicans, follow the dirty money—it’s all hidden in plain sight.