Rep. Diana DeGette did not attend Tuesday’s speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as her staff previously stated, because she “had a long-standing scheduling commitment that morning to address a clinical research group about her 21st Century Cures initiative.”
The Boulder Jewish News further reported that address was closed to the public.
As is our first, second, and third nature, we were skeptical, so we did a little digging into this event and issue that meant so much to DeGette yesterday, she had to miss the speech – not boycott it, as did dozens of her Democratic colleagues.
The group she was scheduled to “address,” the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, had nothing on their website about any events or speeches, with or without DeGette yesterday. The association’s Twitter feed and Facebook page discussed many things, DeGette or her issue was not one of them.
Nor were there any hearings or meetings scheduled for the relevant House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Turning to DeGette’s Web page, no mention of this phantom “address” she was supposed to deliver. However, emblazoned across the page was a huge section devoted to her newly important cause, 21st Century Cures, featuring a video of DeGette and Michigan Rep. Fred Upton announcing their initiative.
Of course, the video was actually posted to YouTube on April 30, 2014, but just click on the link and LOOK at the list below of all the work that was done on the issue – last year.
The association to which DeGette was delivering this phantom “address” represents companies that serve the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and device industries.
Ironically, Pharmaceuticals and health products was her number one donor category in the 2014 campaign with almost $113,000 in contributions. Health professionals were the second largest donor category kicking in another $100,000.
By comparison, her pro-Israel contributions amounted to a paltry $15,000, just enough money to cover her tab at the Sonnenalp. Note to Norm Brownstein, you might want to ask for your $2,000 back.
DeGette’s 2014 campaign cost her more than $1 million. Learning that she only has $20,000 left in the bank, DeGette’s priorities begin to make financial cents. After all, the health industry must continue to keep her in the lifestyle to which she has grown accustomed — $10,000 for her tab at the Palm and Johnny’s Half Shell, plus $12,350 for the Four Seasons Hotel.
In hindsight, DeGette decided she could have her cake and eat it too, and posted on her Facebook page last night (also one of the first things you will now see on her Web page), boasting of a meeting with Colorado’s AIPAC chapter, that were presumably in D.C. for Netanyahu’s speech DeGette could not attend because of her
financial pervious commitment.
DeGette also issued a statement giving her reaction to the speech she
“Prime Minister Netanyahu voiced well-known concerns about the Iranian nuclear program, and his comments on a potential negotiated deal to curtail that program deserve scrutiny. I will be looking to ensure the pending deal prevents nuclear proliferation, curtails regional tensions, and protects the Israeli state and people.
“As a longtime supporter of Israel and its special relationship with the United States, I am disappointed that the planning and timing of this speech have created a political storm and have obscured the greater issues at play. We should have serious discussions and pointed, respectful debate about the best way to achieve our national interests and further the American-Israeli relationship.”
Well, at least she’s disappointed in the political storm she helped create.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner attended his grandfather’s funeral on Monday, but managed his schedule in order to attend the speech:
“Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an incredibly important address to the United States Congress today,” Gardner said. “He emphasized the threat that a nuclear Iran would pose to Israel and America, and made it clear that any deal that gives the Iranian regime a path to nuclear weapons is unacceptable. His clear-headed analysis of Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terror dedicated to the destruction of Israel and America provides crucial context for ongoing negotiations. The United States must make the safety and security of our ally Israel a top priority of our foreign policy. We cannot allow the tentacles of terror the appearance of an opportunity to do harm to America and its allies.”
DeGette’s decision to snub the prime minister has offended her influential Jewish constituency, and rightly so.
More than likely, her phantom “address” was a 15-minute sitdown in her office with the
donors group, just like the thousands that are scheduled throughout Capitol Hill congressional offices every day. The only difference, is the rest of the Colorado delegation thought the address was important enough to adjust their schedule.