John Faso, a lobbyist swamp rat

John Faso, our Congressman, doesn’t stand for the average working family.  Just the opposite.  He’s one of the “Swamp Rats”  — a long-time lobbyist for companies fleecing the average working family. He’s one of dozens of legislators now in the Trump administration who are drowning in conflicts of interest.

Faso had a 40-year career as a political insider in the NY State legislature and as a lobbyist, much of it protecting the corrupt culture of pork barrel spending.  Here are a few markers of that career:

  • From 1996-2002, Faso spent more than a whopping $1.8 million of taxpayer dollars on extravagant expenses as state assemblyman, receiving a stipend, state vehicle, and travel reimbursements.
  • In 1992, as a member of the NY State Assembly Banking Committee, Faso accepted $14,000 and a trip to Florida from the banking industry, admitting “I spoke at their meeting, went to their events. And yes, I went to their dinners.” So who do you think he cares more about, you or his banker buddies?
  • In 2007, Faso helped out his friends’ political campaigns using State Police helicopters to travel to fundraisers.
  • He became a lobbyist months after leaving the state legislature, said he was “proud” of his lobbying career in Washington, DC and Albany, and wouldn’t apologize for it.
  • He claimed to be offended at the notion that there was corruption in Albany, said the idea “that somehow there’s corruption permeating the legislature is wrong”.
  • He opposed efforts to investigate corruption in government and efforts to audit the state legislature and limit lobbyist-funded perks, saying he “agrees with lobbyists” that it would make “unreasonable demands.”
  • In February 2003, he became a lobbyist in Albany and Washington, D.C. for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, whose clients included Wall Street firms and large corporations.
  • In 2007, he lobbied the NY governor’s office and state assembly for the energy and pipeline company El Paso Corporation. He worked on legislative issues dealing with gas transmission, while claiming that he had never lobbied for a fracking company—despite the fact that El Paso Corporation was the largest natural gas pipeline operator in the country. Even worse, El Paso was the company that applied for permits from NY State for emitting poisonous sulfur dioxide and discharging waste water into the Hudson River.

Faso brags about his career as a lobbyist.  He asserted to the Times Union in 2001, “I have a lot of built-in political and governmental experience that will help me be a good watchdog for the taxpayers.”  That’s not the way it looks to us tax-paying voters you’re supposedly representing, Mr. Faso.

Stand Up For Working Families

As Americans – and working families – we all share fundamental values, and our elected representatives should, too.  Among these are:

  • Good Jobs – for everyone capable of working, and those jobs should come with health benefits and safe working conditions.
  • Respect for All People – regardless of color, religion, sexual orientation, or country of origin.
  • A Good Education – Available to people of all ages, regardless of zip code.
  • Universal, affordable health care for all – this includes prohibitions against insurance companies denying care for pre-existing conditions.
  • Women’s Rights – including equal pay for equal work, protection from sexual harassment, and reproductive rights.
  • Voting Rights – every adult has a constitutional right to vote, and no law should interfere with that right.
  • Clean Water to Drink and Clean Air to Breathe – We are retreating from policies Richard Nixon created, and we are changing the climate and endangering the planet by doing so.

Headed in the Wrong Direction

Congressman John Faso has voted against working families’ access to affordable health care and worker safety protections, and his party’s leadership opposes civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights, public education, and environmental protections.

Isn’t it time we had a government that held the same values as its working families?  Isn’t it time we had a Congressman who held the same values as we do?  Fire Faso and elect someone who values working families instead of corporations and the wealthy.

Whose Side Is He On?

Don’t listen to what a man says.  Watch what he does.

Congressman Faso is around the District a lot.  He attends dinners and events all over the area; he appears at Chamber breakfasts and summer barbeques.  He sounds nice and looks nice.

And he wants us to think he’s on our side. But is he?

Let’s take a look at a few of Congressman Faso’s votes:

  • He voted to take away affordable, accessible health insurance from millions of people, cutting funding for those with pre-existing conditions and those in nursing homes … maybe your father/mother, grandparents … by repealing the Affordable Health Care Act. 1.13.17
  • He voted to repeal stream protection laws that benefited our fisherman and outdoorsmen, not to mention protection of our clean water sources. 2.1.17
  • He voted to endanger workers’ lives by allowing federal contractors to avoid reporting labor violations. 2.2.17
  • He voted to reduce school accountability of your taxpayer dollars. 2.7.17
  • He voted to weaken worker protections by repealing rules regarding work-related injuries. 3.1.17
  • He voted to deny states the right to create (and therefore the right of workers to join) new local retirement plans. 2.15.17
  • He voted to repeal consumer protections to help you when buying a home, taking out a loan, or being assured your bank was solvent. 6.8.17
  • He voted to deny individuals the right to go to court with their grievances against certain financial institutions. 7.25.17
  • He voted to allow Medicare cost increases by eliminating an independent board whose function was to control Medicare costs. 11.2.17
  • He voted against the tax bill, but failed to lower your income taxes, because he failed to keep the full deduction for state and local taxes. 12.16.17; 12.19.17; and 12.20.17.

With Congressman Faso old habits – and friendships – die hard.  His votes consistently favor the big boys, the type of wealthy people and corporations he used to lobby for – before he decided to run for Congress.

In not one case did his votes reflect the interests of workers and families in his own district.

Congressman Faso talks a good line, but his votes tell you where he stands.

A Congressman who speaks out of both sides of his mouth, should lose his voice.

This November, vote to Fire Faso.

The Lobbying Scandals John Faso Doesn’t Want Voters To Know About

In a new ad released online, John Faso is laughably trying to re-write history by covering up his scandal-ridden career as an Albany lobbyist.

Who is Faso fooling? Faso’s career as a lobbyist, which stretched over a decade from 2003 to 2015, was full of pay-to-play scandals and investigations into his conduct. Here are just a few examples:

Example 1) In 2010, Faso was at the center of a pay-to-play scandal that cost his lobbying firm $550,000 and a 5-year lobbying ban.

The scandal prompted the New York Attorney General to specifically subpoena Faso in what was described as a “probe of a massive pay-to-play pension fund scandal” related to his lobbying firm.

In the end, Faso’s firm quickly settled with the Attorney General’s office, paying the state $550,000 and agreeing to a 5-year ban on lobbying any state pension funds.

Example 2) Faso was involved in another scandal involving a “Ponzi-like” scheme in which he was named as an “Albany politician” who accepted $18,750 from a financial firm that ripped off investors to pay for “lavish” expenses and had “burned ‘moms and pops.’”

Example 3) Recently, Faso lobbied on behalf of payday lending industry as it pushed for less regulation on high-interest loans.

Example 4) As an Albany lobbyist, Faso worked for the Constitution Pipeline company as it tried to build a natural gas pipeline across New York state. Faso directly represented the company, which used eminent domain to force landowners in Pennsylvania to allow the pipeline across their property. Faso himself was supportive of eminent domain [AP, 3/01/06].

Faso’s response to all of this? DodgeDenyDisown.

Faso’s lobbying baggage is so heavy, even the chairman of the Columbia County Conservative Party called Faso “unfit” during his run for governor. [AP, 2/07/06]

“Only an Albany insider lobbyist like John Faso would try to get away with covering up his past pay-to-play scandals and investigations,” said Bryan Lesswing at the DCCC. “Between Albany pay-to-play pension investigations, ponzi-like scandals, and siding with his corporate backers, John Faso has always sided with special interests over the Hudson Valley.”