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Dirty tricks come to Hawai`i: Nixon’s man funnels cash & lies from Wall Street to Waikiki

Fred Malek was one of the original – and worst – Dirty Tricksters of the Nixon era:

He worked in the Nixon administration to root out civil servants and replace them with Nixon supporters. He was specifically tasked with politicizing departments of the government and handing out illegal political patronage. He claimed that a “Jewish cabal” was undermining Nixon at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and hunted them down by looking for people with “Jewish-sounding names” and driving them out of their jobs.

Malek slithered away from the Nixon Administration, parlayed his connections to high positions in corporate America and is now worth half a billion dollars. He served as John McCain’s finance director in the 2008 presidential campaign. Most recently, he founded a Wall Street- and Pharma-funded Republican SuperPAC, the American Action Network, which spent $8 million in the 2012 elections and has spread around about $5 million so far this cycle.

Malek and AAN have just dumped $300,000 into Hawai`i’s First Congressional District – where Barack Obama was born and raised – in support of former Republican Congressman Charles Djou. Djou is facing Democrat Mark Takai in the race to fill the vacant seat. Djou briefly held the seat when he won a three-way, winner-take-all race four years ago.

Ironically, Djou has spent most of the campaign railing against “outside spending” because Takai has benefitted from a VoteVets endorsement.

Djou recently said:  “This increased influence by third-party mainland money is unhealthy for our democracy, and I think corrodes the overall integrity and trust in our elections, and I think has been a negative consequence of modern politics.” A recent Djou commercial urges campaigns to “keep it clean” and “stick to the facts.” Just last week, he decried SuperPACs’ involvement in the race: “Whether it is VoteVets or any of these other mainland organizations with dark money — it’s bad for our democracy, and it’s bad for our community.”

Further irony (though no surprise): Malek & Co. are doing anything but “keeping it clean.” Ads by the AAN SuperPAC are notorious for being all negative all the time and being fast and loose with the facts.

Republicans would love to win this seat not just to increase their House majority, but also to embarrass Democrats in Hawai`i, arguably the most progressive state. Not only is HI-01 Obama’s birthplace, Hawai`i is his strongest state. He won here with 70 percent of the vote in both 2008 and ’12.

Djou was in Congress just long off to show his true colors, including by voting against Wall Street reform. He’s now claiming to be a moderate, but is actually running on a Grover Norquist-approved platform, pledging to never raise any taxes, backing an economically disastrous Balanced Budget Amendment and supporting all forms of “free trade.”

Meanwhile, Takai is mounting an increasingly progressive campaign, as he’s been endorsed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC and is getting active support from U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz.

Early voting in Hawai`i started today, and Takai could use help with getting out the vote, as recent polling shows a tight race.

Aloha and mahalo.


The local Dems’ coordinated campaign, which is led by Hirono, issued a related press release this morning:


Honolulu – American Action Network (AAN) makes $300,000 ad buy in Hawaii’s First Congressional District for Republican Charles Djou.

AAN, a group with ties to Karl Rove and part of a mainland Republican coalition, is currently spending $23 million to buy Congressional elections across the country. This PAC ranked second only to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC on nonprofits pushing the IRS limits to influence elections.

AAN opposes raising the minimum wage, opposes Wall Street accountability while supporting more tax cuts for big corporations. AAN founder and chair supported privatizing Social Security.

“It’s clear that this mainland group has found an ally in Republican Charles Djou,” said Carolyn Tanaka, Communications Director for the 2014 Democratic Coordinated Campaign. “Voters need to ask themselves if Djou will stand up for the people of Hawaii, or advance a right wing agenda designed to serve special interests.”  

 “Djou has a choice to make. Will he stand with the founders of AAN who fight to cut taxes for the largest corporations while opposing raising the minimum wage for middle class families? Will he stand with AAN as they fight to privatize Social Security and end responsible regulations on Wall Street?”

 AAN receives significant funding from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and the American Petroleum Institute. A full list of donors may be viewed here.


Local Dems continue to fight, issuing another press release today:


Republican Charles Djou:“It comes down to a question of trust”

New video ensures Hawaii voters know the full truth about Djou’s record


Honolulu — In a new video Charles Djou’s voting record in Congress is laid bare for all of Hawaii to see.  And, for the second time in three days, we agree with you Charles, it does come down to a matter of trust.


“On nearly every single issue that matters to our families from education funding to unemployment benefits to women’s healthcare, Charles Djou has sided with his special interest allies,” said Democratic Coordinated Campaign spokesperson Carolyn Tanaka.  “This video is an effort to make sure that Djou is honest about his record.”


The video highlights Charles Djou’s September 30th, 2010 vote to shut down the  federal government, which would have cost Hawaii’s economy millions of dollars.   It also highlights his vote against common sense protections for the American people after runaway Wall Street greed caused the most devastating recession of our generation.  The very next day, on July 1st, 2010, Djou voted to deny unemployment benefits for struggling families hit hardest by the same Wall Street greed he refused to address.   


“The election on November 4th presents a clear choice: Democrat Mark Takai who will fight for middle class families every time, or Republican Charles Djou who turned his back on our families to support his special interest allies,” added Tanaka.

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