Tom Feeney

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This is a profile of a U.S. Representative who, due to election loss or retirement, will not return for the 111th Congress. (See the Florida portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Tom Feeney is a former member of Congress.

Thomas Charles Feeney III,, a Republican, represented the 24th Congressional District of Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives between 2003-2009. Feeney lost to Suzanne Kosmas (D) in the November 2008 general election.

Contents

Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 96 - 24/25 not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 0 - 0/20 5 - 1/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 70 - 14/20 not avail.


Iraq War

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Federal investigation into Abramoff ties

According to the DCCC, Feeney took $1,000 from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted on charges related to the defrauding of American Indian tribes and corruption of public officials. [1]

Feeney is one of three Republican House members to have gone on a Scotland golf trip with Abramoff in 2003, thus linking him to the Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal (the others were convicted former Rep. Bob Ney and indicted former Rep. Tom DeLay). Feeney stated that he believed the National Center for Public Policy Research was paying for the trip, not Abramoff.[2]

In January 2007, the House announced that Feeney had violated chamber rules by letting Abramoff pay for the trip.[3][4]

In September 2005, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Feeney one of the thirteen most corrupt members of Congress because of his ties to Abramoff. [5]

On April 23, 2007, the Department of Justice submitted a document in court naming Rep. Feeney as "Representative #3" in the criminal investigation of Mark Zachares, a former congressional aide to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and lobbyist who, in April 2007, pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In April 2007, the FBI asked Feeney for information about his dealings with Jack Abramoff as part of its ongoing investigation into the lobbyist convicted of defrauding clients.[6][7]

Feeney stated that “These questions have been asked and answered 100 times...The Scooter Libby case showed that you must be careful when dealing with the Department of Justice (DoJ). We’re giving them everything they need and more...There’s no relationship (to the Abramoff scandal).” [8]

In late June 2007, Feeney established a legal defense fund to cover expenses relating to the FBI's investigation his ties to Abramoff. On June 20, he filed documents with the House stating he "has incurred legal expenses in connection with his official duties and position in Congress, and matters bearing on his reputation or fitness for office." The congressman still denied any relationship with the convicted lobbyist, but stated he was voluntarily cooperating with the federal investigation.[9] The FBI also contacted the newspaper Florida Today, asking for a video from an interview in September 2006 regarding Feeney's relationship with Abramoff. In the video, Feeney denied any connection to the lobbyist. In particular, the FBI was interested in the congressman's public statements regarding his ties to Abramoff and the golfing trip to Scotland he made with him. Feeney described the trip as a "legitimate business trip," and the FBI is checking whether or not he was aware how it was funded.[10]

Main article: Members of Congress under investigation

Florida redistricting

Florida gained two congressional districts after the 2000 census. According to the Associated Press (in USA Today), the 24th district "was tailor-made for Feeney by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, covering parts of four central Florida counties with 156,292 registered Republicans compared to 126,976 Democrats." It was an open secret that Feeney drew this district for himself [1], since it included virtually all of his state House district. (The other new district, the 25th, was drawn for fellow state representative Mario Diaz-Balart). He was handily elected in 2002 and was unopposed in 2004.

Clint Curtis and vote fraud

Alex Babcock at the Seminole Chronicle reported that former Yang Enterprises computer programmer Clint Curtis made sworn testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee in December 2004. Curtis testified that in September of 2000, Tom Feeney asked him to write software that could alter vote totals on touch-screen voting machines. The Judicial Committee was "investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 presidential election involving touch-screen voting in Ohio." and was not looking into issues of Florida vote fraud. [2]

Feeney and Yang Enterprises deny Curtis' testimony. Babcock wrote, "Michael O'Quinn, an attorney for Yang Enterprises, said Curtis' claims are outrageous and that Feeney never discussed such a program with the company. He said Feeney's only relationship with the company was as its legal counsel. Feeney worked at the law firm with O'Quinn until 2002, when he resigned after being elected to Congress." Feeney is also accused of helping Yang Enterprises secure government contracts. [3]

In March 2005, Curtis passed a polygraph test regarding his tesimony, though there has been no serious investigation into the matter. Curtis' charges are largely treated as baseless consipracy theory by the St. Petersburg Times and mainstream media. [4]

As of April 2006, the issue is still unsettled, but Curtis is running against Feeney in the fall election largely on a platform of non-corruption. The Republican-leaning Curtis states,

"I believe our district is currently represented by one of the most corrupt politicians in history. I have attended closed-door meetings where Congressman Tom Feeney spoke candidly about altering election results. Feeney is deeply involved with individuals like super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and has been an active participant in this unprecedented decade of corruption."[5]

Threats to local newspaper

After the Seminole Chronicle published Alex Babcock's article on Clint Curtis' testimony (above), Feeney's lawyers threatened the paper, according to a blog that has followed the story closely, BradBlog.com.[6]

"The letter from John P. Horan of "Foley and Lardner, attorneys at law", was faxed to Babcock at the Seminole Chronicle office earlier this week. It alleges the newspaper's report "constitute[d] a serious departure from accepted journalism standards and a breach of the Chronicle's fair reporting privilege."

Horan goes on to accuse Babcock of reporting "in a sensational, reckless and unfair manner," and claims that "This conduct exceeds all known bounds of bias and constitutes a reckless disregard for the truth."

According to the letter, Horan's charges on behalf of Feeney, stem from his claim that "These assertions were fully investigated by the State of Florida Commission on Ethics which found that 'there was no probable cause' to believe the assertions and dismissed each complaint."

The Chronicle responded on 12/23 in an noon-bylined editorial: "In reporting on the charges made by Clint Curtis against Feeney, our goal was to inform you, our readers, of serious charges made in a public forum before members of Congress investigating voting irregularities...

It is this role that all news organizations should play, to keep a watchful eye over the government that serves us. It's your business as voters to know what your elected representatives are doing, and what they have been accused of doing."[7]

Defense of Tom Delay

Feeney has taken $10,000 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC and voted with DeLay 94% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005. Feeney also voted to allow Tom DeLay to continue serving as Leader even if he is indicted and contributed $5000 to DeLay's legal defense fund.[8]

Ethics complaints

"Democrats filed ethics complaints that accused Feeney of using his legislative office staff to work on his congressional campaign and his influence as speaker to shield a client from an investigation. Feeney denied the allegations, but in the face of a lawsuit by three newspapers released state cell phone records that, according to a review by The Palm Beach Post, showed a legislative staffer made 150 personal and political calls. The staffer by then had left her state job and gone to work in Feeney's campaign."[9]

Failure to report real estate property

In 2003, Feeney and a long-time acquaintance, James Fowler, purchased a condo propoerty together in Cape Canaveral, Florida for $175,000. Despite the fact that the condo was purchased 50-50, Feeney did not report the property in 2003. Rather, he waited until 2005. It is a violation of House rules to omit ownership of a asset such as this. In July 2006, a spokesman for Feeney argued that the congressman did not report the purchase because his name was not on the deed and was only recently added to the trust agreement. [10]

Principally as a result of these scandals, Feeney was named in 2006 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of the twenty most corrupt US legislators. [11]

National security and foreign policy

On June 15, 2007, Feeney was one of two representatives to vote against the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2008, which makes spending decisions for some Defense Department medical and construction expenses, VA construction, administration and medical programs and spending for a few related national and international agencies.

Main article: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2008

Biography

Feeney was born on May 21, 1958 in Abington, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. He graduated from Penn State University in 1980 with a B.A. in political science and obtained a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1983. Soon after, he moved to Oviedo, Florida, a suburb of Orlando where he still lives, and opened a private law practice. In 1990, he began two terms in the Florida State legislature and ran for lieutenant governor as Jeb Bush's running mate in 1994. Bush and Feeney were narrowly defeated.

In 1994 Feeney joined the board of directors of the James Madison Institute[12], a conservative free-market think tank where he ultimately became the director.[13] The James Madison Institute, best known for its promotion of school vouchers in Florida, is a member of the State Policy Network[14] and has received funding from ExxonMobil[15].

Feeney returned to the Florida House in 1996 in a special election, and was chosen as Speaker in 2000. He first came to national prominence when he led efforts to certify the state's Republican presidential electors even when it was still unclear whether George W. Bush or Al Gore had won the state's electoral votes. When Gore finally conceeded the election, Feeney called him a "loser" and describe his speech as "evil."[16]

Feeney was one of the most conservative members of the Florida legislature, and has been no less conservative in Congress. He drafted a "Principles Card" soon after becoming Speaker of the Florida House that allowed his fellow Republicans to check if legislation was consistent with conservative principles. He modified this card when he came to Congress, calling it the "Conservative Check Card." The six principles are less government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, individual freedom, stronger "traditional American" families, and domestic tranquility and national defense.

People for the American Way report that "As a state legislator, Feeney received awards from the American Legislative Exchange Council, the James Madison Institute and several from the Christian Coalition, as well as a 100% legislative rating for his support of parental notification bills and the creation of "Choose Life" license plates. He received the endorsement of the Campaign for Working Families and the Eagle Forum.[17]

Feeney was a founding member of Washington Waste Watchers, a "working group formed to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in federal government."[18]

2006 elections

In 2006, the Democrats nominated Clint Curtis to face Feeney in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [19] Feeney retained his seat.

Money in Politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for Tom Feeney
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals


Committees and Affiliations

Committees

Committees

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Boards and other Affiliations

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Tom Feeney. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Contact

DC Office:
323 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0924
Phone: 202-225-2706
Fax: 202-226-6299
Web Email
Website

District Office- Orlando:
12424 Research Parkway, Suite 135
Orlando, FL 32826
Phone: 407-208-1106
Fax: 407-208-1108

District Office- Port Orange:
1000 City Center Circle
2nd Floor
Port Orange, FL 32129
Phone: 386-756-9798
Fax: 386-756-9903

District Office- Titusville:
400 South Street, Suite 4-A
Titusville, FL 32780
Phone: 321-264-6113
Fax: 321-264-6227

Articles and resources

Resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

Articles

Articles by Feeney

References

  1. DCCC: Tom Feeney
  2. Tamara Lytle and Mark K. Matthews, "Tamara Lytle and Mark K. Matthews," Orlando Sentinel, April 27, 2007.
  3. Susan Crabtree and Jonathan E. Kaplan, "Feeney: FBI?probe of his ties to Abramoff is unthreatening," The Hill, April 25, 2007.
  4. Anita Kumar, "FBI asking Tom Feeney about trip with Abramoff," St. Petersburg Times, April 24, 2007.
  5. CREW list of most corrupt members of Congress
  6. Susan Crabtree and Jonathan E. Kaplan, "Feeney: FBI?probe of his ties to Abramoff is unthreatening," The Hill, April 25, 2007.
  7. Anita Kumar, "FBI asking Tom Feeney about trip with Abramoff," St. Petersburg Times, April 24, 2007.
  8. "Feeney: FBI probe of his ties to Abramoff is unthreatening," CREW, aPRIL 25, 2007.
  9. Susan Crabtree, "Feeney forms legal defense fund," The Hill, June 22, 2007.
  10. Paul Kiel, "Feds Seek Vid of Feeney Statement," TPM Muckraker, June 28, 2007.

In the Wikipedia


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