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As a result of gerrymandering by the state legislature, San Diego’s congressional incumbents don’t have much to fear in their quest for reelection this fall. Democrats Susan Davis and Bob Filner, along with Republicans Brian Bilbray and Darrell Issa, are all assured an easy, almost certain path to victory. And the only seat being vacated this year belongs to the GOP’s retiring Duncan L. Hunter, whose son, conveniently named Duncan D. Hunter, is running to replace him and appears to be a similar shoo-in. But the delegation hasn’t stopped raising and spending a lot of campaign money on some eye-catching items, including payments to family members.

Take the case of Brian Bilbray, who through the middle of this year had already spent $534,869 on a variety of goods and services. They included $1978 for a “political retreat” run by the Congressional Institute; a $3600 tab at the French Gourmet for a fund-raiser; fees of $12,500 paid to San Diego lawyer David King; $8647 for air fare on United; and $5243 to the White House Historical Association for “gifts to contributors.” Of course, what would a good campaign be without some down-home self-dealing? Twelve thousand twenty-eight dollars was paid to the family-owned Bilbray Tax Service.

For his part, Democrat Filner spent a total of $806,079, including $36,173 for catering at the unionized Mission Bay Hilton and $1081 at the National Democratic Club in Washington. And, like his across-the-aisle colleague Bilbray, Filner is famous for helping out the family.

Back in December 2005, the Union-Tribune bashed Filner for paying consulting company Campaign Resources, owned by his wife, Jane Merrill, $505,000 for fund-raising over the previous decade. The story emerged after Juan Vargas, a fellow Democrat who was running against Filner, discovered the arrangement. Six months later, Vargas lost his 2006 primary challenge to the incumbent. Following that, the U-T apparently lost interest in the story and never wrote another word about it, but Merrill’s outfit is still pulling down some sizable cash. From January to July of this year, the Filner camp paid Campaign Resources a total of $28,000, about $4000 a month, except for March when the firm collected just $1000 and February when it got $3000.

Fellow Democrat Susan Davis, occupying arguably the safest-of-the-safest Democratic seats, still managed to spend $340,823. Twenty thousand dollars went to Grove Insight, run by Lisa Grove, a colorful Democratic pollster from Portland, Oregon, who sports a big question mark tattooed onto her left shoulder and has worked for everyone from big labor to Al Gore in 1988 to liberal ex–Colombian president César Gaviria.

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Comments

a2zresource Sept. 18, 2008 @ 12:45 p.m.

It is refreshing to see that many incumbents practice charity beginning at home as a family value.

That doesn't mean that I'll actually vote for any of 'em...

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realnews Sept. 23, 2008 @ 11:01 a.m.

A word to incumbents about the bailout.

The jig is up. We know you've helped flip our country from government supporting its people to people supporting what only poses as their government.

That said we can no longer afford to listen to Bush's "experts" for the latest bailout.

Using 9/11 as an example; after local police, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA all had information detailing we would be attacked, or at the very least; suspected we would be attacked; these government workers all failed to act appropriately and share this information to prevent the attack.

Ultimately, it was government workers who failed to protect innocent Americans and other taxpayers, who relied on them to do their job.

So while thousands of taxpayers, paying for government officials to do their job lost their lives; no one in government lost their job.

Worse, government officials who didn't perform in the first place, decided what the country needed, was not to Fire anyone who failed to perform; but to Create; more government. Enter, Homeland Security.

Government's solution never varies. It's always more government.

We are now at the brink of a déjà vu situation, this time in the financial markets.

President Bush is now quoting financial "experts" when asking the same Congress who failed to address Bush's deliberate misinformation on Iraq, is again being asked to trust the "Experts" and create more government.

Just say, "No."

Members of Congress who only seem to find time for lobbyists, rather than constituents, (somehow voters seldom become "special interest groups") a Congress which recently put children at further risk in passing HR 6048, is again being asked to create another agency.

Just say, "No."

Our country has flipped from government supporting its people to people supporting what only poses as their government.

This is not only major league, nuts. It's also unconscionable.

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jerome Sept. 23, 2008 @ 4:52 p.m.

comment to real news:

that isn't exactly FRONT PAGE news but REAL for sure. i mentioned to some one about the corruption in our gov't and as a democrat pointed some fingers at the republicans, only to get the indignant reply that many of the so called republicans are really quite liberal........ so people whats up with you? can you stand up for what is ethical and vote for integrity no matter what the party affiliation,i wonder when i see so many so called socially concious, publically paid "social workers" defending their lack of concious thought because they need to survive in this corrupt mess they themselves have created; not some mystical powers, that be in charge.....of our childrens future and our survival.we must take charge and "blow the whistle"

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