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Chris Collins: Excellence

1 Jun

1. Good luck finding Collins’ campaign website. Searches on Google for “Collins for Congress“, “Collins for Congress 2012“, or “Chris Collins for Congress” reveal no relevant hits on the first page of results. 

2. Collins released a “Small Business Bill of Rights”, a set of talking points masquerading as policy proposals, wrapped up in a faux parchment wrapper.  He released it on Wednesday, and a glaring error – uncaught through Eagle eyes or Six Sigma process review – remains evident there today. 

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3. David Bellavia, who is running in a Republican primary against Collins, called this out as blatant plagiarism.  He noted that former NY-26 Congressman Chris Lee was a co-sponsor of a “Small Business Bill of Rights” in 2010, which also included provisions for tax and regulatory relief, limiting union influence, health care costs, and intellectual property protection.  Lee also released a “Manufacturing for Tomorrow” plan with the aim of strengthening manufacturing in the Buffalo area. It also called for tax relief, tort reform, and IP protections. Collins’ calls for China to not be an authoritarian pseudo-Maoist brute crony capitalist bad actor in international trade is cribbed – at least in part – from former Congressman Tom Reynolds, who co-sponsored a bill to address China’s currency manipulation. As Bellavia points out, it’s ironic to call for IP protections while cribbing others’ work without attribution, and the rest of the “Bill of Rights” is just a generic Republican recitation of typical platform positions, with a smidge of Obamaphobia mixed in. 

4. Collins’ media geniuses at Greener and Hook posted this to Twitter yesterday: 

5. Collins’ people don’t know how to spell. Not only is there the error on the Bill of Rights, which has been out since Wednesday, but even silly “forget the market – the government must manipulate gas prices” pieces have glaring errors. Of course, that’s before you get to the fact that Collins (a) doesn’t rebut the fact that domestic oil production is at an all-time high; (b) merely calls for more drilling on federal lands; (c) demands that an oil pipeline be built; (d) and otherwise completely ignores the fact that the world has been jerking from oil crisis to oil crisis since 1973, with no end in sight, and that it might be time to switch to renewable sources of energy, or more efficient engines such as biodiesel. It couldn’t be a stupider piece of writing, directed at a fundamentally ignorant audience. He thinks you’re just stupid. Must be why he won’t go meet with or listen to your genuine concerns as a middle-class suburban or rural New Yorker, and instead just regurgitates what he reads in the memos he gets from his handlers and pollsters.

6. Collins refuses to debate Bellavia; refuses to negotiate for any debates. 

7. Collins refuses to release his tax information. He figures he can wait it out until after the primary, during which he can simply out-spend Bellavia on direct mail and TV ads, and deal with it in the Fall. The problem is that, like Mitt Romney, it’s quite likely that there’s some juicy stuff in Collins’ returns that he doesn’t want to reveal. Does he pay less than 20% on his multi-million dollar income? Has he taken advantage of federal amnesty provisions for offshore tax avoidance accounts? No one knows. Bellavia made his returns available several weeks ago, but Collins directly refuses to do the same. I thought wealth wasn’t something to be ashamed of?  

Collins appeared before a Niagara County audience, and directly told them that he’ll never reveal his tax returns because, “his business partners’ income would be exposed and his competitors would pounce on the information to somehow kill jobs in western New York.” This ignores the fact that any such confidential material not relevant to the tax Collins pays is easily redacted, but Collins claimed that, for tax year 2011, he paid 44% of his income in taxes, including “my state income tax, my property tax and my federal tax last year.”

 So, math geniuses, how much is that? Collins’ property and school taxes are close to a whopping $24,000 per year. What is he hiding or ashamed of? 

8.  Collins got caught backtracking and blaming aides (never his fault) for his membership in a Bloomberg-sponsored anti-illegal-gun group. Being for gun control is acceptable for New York City Republicans, but not for Republicans here in WNY. 

On the bright side, so far, Collins has refrained from making any sexist or vaguely anti-Semitic remarks about donors or other political figures, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.