by Frank Holmes, reporter
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has allowed dozens of Democrats to refuse to show up for their jobs but continue receiving their salaries…and helping her enact the Democrats’ left-wing agenda.
In May 2020, at the height of the COVID hysteria, Pelosi let congressmen vote by proxy to reduce the chance of transmission—then looked the other way while members abused the institution to stay home.
What are they doing instead of voting? Traveling, campaigning, fundraising—even attending ritzy weddings in foreign countries.
One of the worst offenders is the radical left-wing Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who helped found the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party before getting elected to Congress from Chicago.
Rush has cast 90 percent of his votes by proxy since Pelosi instituted the practice. But at the same time, he’s spent $49,600 on travel during that time… so he’s not staying at home. Campaign records show sometimes he booked a flight for the same day, or the day after, he swore by letter he was “unable” to vote in person.
Rush travels in style: Campaign records show he stayed at the four-star Hyatt Regency during his proxy votes.
Steve Boulton, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, called Rush’s actions “classic Chicago corruption.”
It’s one thing for his political opponents to call him corrupt, but ethics watchdogs agree. “The House rules only authorize the use of proxy voting due to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19, and that is why a member who votes by proxy must file a statement to the clerk stating that reason for it,” Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, told The Daily Caller. “When we see members regularly voting by proxy but also attending public campaign events at the same time, it is clearly contrary to the authorized purpose of the rule and it is plainly wrong.”
He’s a long way from alone. As The Horn told you in April, Rep. Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele (D-Hawaii) skipped almost all votes this year—while moonlighting as an airline pilot.
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Pelosi knows about her party’s abuses but ignores them, critics say, because they help her win close votes. Two Republican researchers, Stephen Jackson and Kyle Chance, broke down the numbers. They found that, in about one-third of the proxy votes they studied, the bill passed or failed “by a margin smaller than the net number of Democrat-cast proxy votes. In other words, Democratic proxy voting swung the results nearly a third of the time.”
Some of these looked like excused absences. For instance, Congressmen Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., voted by proxy while in declining health, until they died. Congressmen Colin Allred ,D-Texas, and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., voted by proxy while having babies.
But a lot of the time, the members were campaigning or fundraising instead of doing the people’s work.
Democratic socialist Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., cited COVID for a week of proxy votes last July … but he actually partied down in France at the wedding of HBO star Issa Rae.
“Members are lying to their constituents when they submit proxy statements saying that it is the pandemic … that keeps them from conducting their sworn duty on the House floor,” said Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin.
Also, Republicans seem to feel guilty when they vote by proxy. Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., cast 12 votes by proxy while he attended the annual conservative meeting CPAC after the schedule was changed at the last minute. To atone, Budd donated his salary to low-wage workers in his state, and he introduced the “No Pay for Proxy Voting Act,” which would withhold the daily pay of any representative who votes by proxy.
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After all, proxy votes don’t just let congressmen skip committee hearings, where the real work of Congress is done: It also means the constituents who voted for them, and pay their salaries, can’t meet them.
The GOP is vowing to put an end to this relic of the pandemic lockdowns if they win the 2022 midterm elections. “When Republicans take back the House, they must end this charade and require all members to be present in Washington to do the work that the American people sent us here to do,” said Rep. Gallagher.
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”