published Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Chuck Fleischmann letter seeks contributions

by Chris Carroll

In the same letter calling his political opponents “hired guns,” U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann asked supporters for campaign money so he’ll be “prepared to fight back.”

The letter surfaced on the heels of an outdoor protest against the freshman Republican and shows the campaign is thinking about re-election — something Fleischmann’s staff said it wasn’t doing over the summer.

Fleischmann’s main fundraising organization emailed the letter to an undisclosed list of supporters. The Times Free Press obtained a copy.

In the first paragraph, Fleischmann mentions his recent series of 16 town hall meetings in Southeast Tennessee’s 3rd District, including eight in the Chattanooga area. He describes his critics as “far left” and predicts future opposition and protests.

“That’s why I need your help now,” the letter states. “Please make an immediate online contribution to my re-election campaign.”

In a statement, Jordan Powell, Fleischmann’s spokesman, sidestepped the question of whether the congressman was actually focused on his re-election over the summer despite saying he wasn’t.

“As we’ve already said, Chuck’s No. 1 goal continues to be getting our fiscal house in order and cleaning up the mess created by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid,” Powell said in an email “His response to false attacks by pro-Obama, union groups is just a part of the overall process.”

The letter juxtaposes two unrelated events, saying members of Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Service Employees International Union went to his town hall meetings “to shout and wave signs and act more like children than responsible adults.”

A photograph with the letter shows an unidentified protester dressed in a business suit and horror mask, but the photograph was plucked from an Aug. 24 anti-Fleischmann event sponsored by Chattanooga Organized for Action, the group that also is behind recall efforts against Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Chattanooga Organized for Action members attended three town halls, but no one wore a costume. Some handed out flyers criticizing Fleischmann’s voting record. There was no shouting.

Joda Thongnopnua, a spokesman for Chattanooga Organized for Action, characterized Fleischmann’s letter as “a cynical attempt to fill his campaign war chest.”

Federal Election Commission records show Fleischmann has $261,470 on hand for 2012.

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chrisbrooks said...

Chuck (NOT) on the Job: COA Stands Behind Working Families

You don’t need to tell Chattanooga’s working families that times are desperate. The very facts of their lives are all the evidence they’ll ever need.

As our Chattanooga’s poor and working families continue to struggle with the fallout from the Great Recession and the most severe job loss in the United States since World War II, many of us are left wondering if there is any light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the news seems grim.

The lack of payroll employment combined with the number of jobs needed to keep up with the growth in the working age population has resulted in a shortfall of 11 million jobs and a market in which the number of unemployed far outstrips the number of available jobs by the thousands, hundreds of thousands and, in some industries, the millions - a situation that has resulted in the longest spells of unemployment on record.

The desperation of unemployment is no stranger here in our city. In Chattanooga alone, over 23,000 people are unemployed - which is more than the amount of people living in the entire city of East Ridge and more than twice the population of the city of Red Bank.

If the pain and sacrifices of the Great Recession were shared equally between working families and the rich, that would be one thing, but this hasn’t been the case. The people that caused the Great Recession, Corporate America, are currently posting the greatest profits in the history of the world. In fact, 88% of the economic recovery has gone to corporate profits while only 1% - one out every hundred dollars - has gone to the wages and salaries of the families who need it the most.

With the rising surge of profits for Corporate America, you would think that Working America would stand to benefit, too. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The share of income going to the majority of households, the bottom 99.5%, has dropped dramatically since the 1970s, while income gains to the top 1% have rapidly accelerated. Today, the share of total income going to the top 1% of annual income earners is skyrocketing.

The evidence is in. These are desperate times for many people.We at Chattanooga Organized for Action believe that poor and working families deserve justice. Unfortunately, it seems that  our District Representative to the United States House of Representatives, Congressmen Chuck Fleischmann, doesn’t seem to know that we live in desperate times.

What’s worse, Chuck isn’t on the job for working families.

September 8, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
chrisbrooks said...

While Chuck Fleischman claims to be on the job for Chattanooga’s unemployed and poor people, we know better. Representative Flesichmann held sixteen town hall meetings last week. He called for voters in his district to come and voice their concerns. Volunteers with Chattanooga Organized for Action answered that call and pressed their Congressman on his anti-job and anti-worker voting record.

Among those dedicated citizens were the elderly, members of the clergy, college students, and the unemployed who made painstaking efforts to take time out of their day to confront Fleischmann on his actions and their terrible consequences.

Instead of answering his constituents concerns, Fleischman had other plans. Over the Labor Day weekend Chuck wrote an email blast to people across the entire nation attacking his own constiutients in an effort to raise money for his re-election campaign. Instead of meeting the needs of Chattanooga’s unemployed and poor people, Chuck Fleischman is cynically using their pleas for help for his own personal gain.  In his e-mail blast, Fleischman called the everyday, grassroots people who demanded accountability out of their Congressperson “hired guns”. What’s more, Fleischman claims that COA volunteers shouted and disrupted his town hall meetings, a claim that just isn’t true.

“I was, however, disappointed in the efforts of the Unions to disrupt these meetings. At almost every turn, hired guns working for Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were there to shout and wave signs and act more like children than responsible adults who wanted to participate in a dialogue.” - Chuck Fleischmann

Chattanooga’s working families need their Congressman to be on the job. Unfortunately for them, Chuck Fleischmann is more concerned with calling his own constituents “childish” and “hired guns” than he is in helping working families.

While you don’t need to tell Chattanooga’s working families that we live in desperate times, it seems like someone should tell Representative Fleischmann. When working families and the unemployed let their Congressman know about their struggles, he turned their pleas for help into cynical attacks in an opportunistic attempt to bankroll his campaign for re-election.

Maybe Chucky doesn’t know that we live in desperate times. Maybe he just doesn’t care.

September 8, 2011 at 8:47 a.m.
librul said...

Ol' Chuck doesn't want to talk to "the people". Ol' Chuck doesn't want to take off his corporate blinders and see the reality of life for the vast majority of his "constituents". Because Chuck Fleischmann is a hired gun for the corporatist special interests that are sucking the life out of American democracy. He has a hill to climb. It's gonna be steep. It's called an election. Get some good boots, Chuck.

And every time I'm forced to look at that mug, I keep asking "Where the heck are Curly and Larry".

September 9, 2011 at 8:15 a.m.
ibshame said...

If there were only two names on the ballot in Nov. 2012, one was Fleischmann and the other Sponge Bob Squarepants. I would vote for Sponge Bob. The way I see it, the people in this district would get just as much comedic action on job growth from Sponge Bob as they have gotten from Fleischmann.

September 14, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
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