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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Rep. Capito (R) of West Virginia: "I see this as another issue where I've got to weigh what's best for my constituents and how they want and then consider what I think is good policy and what the president wants. You'd hope they'd be along the same lines, but that doesn't happen all the time ... There is a problem, and I do think personal savings accounts is something we should look [at]. Unfortunately it's become so politicized and there's been so many lines in the sand drawn, I'm not sure what kind of life it's going to have."

What's best for the constituents versus what the president wants. Interesting way to put it.

See excerpts from this radio interview today.

(ed.note: Note of thanks to TPM Reader AK.)

Campaign for America's Future goes to bat against Rep. McCrery (R) of Louisiana and hits a triple. Picked up in the Times, the Hill and the Times-Picayune.

See CAF's ad about where McCrery gets his money and who he works for, here.

Rep. McCrery, you'll remember, is the new chairman of the House Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee who was a down-the-line phase-out man, then hopped into the Conscience Caucus for a few days, then recanted after a self-criticism session at the White House.

I think we know who this fellow works for ...

I was not aware of this. But apparently Georgia Republicans are gearing up for a double-dip, mid-decade redistricting a la Texas 2003. Only they don't even have the fig leaf excuse Tom DeLay had.

Georgia Republicans, making Tom DeLay look good.

Deep-dyed Georgian Ed Kilgore has more.

Courtesy of TPM Reader ECK, here's the full text of Administrative Law Judge Steven T. Kessel's ruling upholding the half million dollar fine against United Seniors Association, aka USANext, for sending deceptive mailings intended to fool seniors into believing they were official correspondence from the Social Security Administration.

One of many choice quotes, this one on USANext's persistence as a scofflaw: "[T]he SSA I.G.'s enforcement efforts in this case did not spring fully formed from a blank background. There was a long history of discussion between the SSA I.G. and Respondent [i.e., USANext] in which the SSA I.G. struggled vainly to convince Respondent to curb its practices of sending potentially deceptive mailings to senior citizens. Respondent had been warned on several occasions by the SSA I.G. that its conduct verged on violating or violated the Act. It chose to ignore these warnings."

TPM Readers report in from the field <$NoAd$> on Suite 300 ...

Well, since I work near to 3900 Jermantown Rd I decided to walk over there, in the snow, to check it out.

The directory on the first floor does have "United Seniors Association, Inc" as suite 450. And "O'Neill Marketing Company" as suite 300. Neither address bar seemed to be newer than the rest really.

A quick trip to the 3rd floor found that, in fact, suite 300 is just a large suite with many different companies in it. There's a central reception area and hall ways leading to doors with the names of the businesses on them.

The 4th floor had a door labeled "United Seniors Association Inc Suite 450". That's it. I assume that any sort of suite 450A would have had to been inside suite 450, as I did not see any lettered suites while I was in the building.

My best guess is that they split off some time ago and they were slow to update their website.

BP

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I work near O'Neill marketing, so I took my lunch hour to go check them out. I would call it a case of a mouse roaring. 3900 Germantown Rd is a little four story building near Fairfax City. In the lobby, on the orientation board, O'Neill is listed as occupying suite 300, as are about 25 other organizations. The building didn't look that big from the outside, so I trooped upstairs to check out suite 300. Turns out 300 is an incubator. You know the type: start-ups go there, lease some space, share the cost of paying a receptionist, share the copier, share the coffee machine. I am not demeaning organizations that occupy such places. My former company started at one and is now doing quite well... good way of keeping down overhead. A nice person in the elevator told me that 300 is a kind of "mish-mash" of things; people come and go all the time. USA is indeed listed in 450, but, how can I put this? They aren't welcoming visitors.

DM


The small print on our "Privatize This!" t-shirts reads: "Eyes and Ears on Loan to Talkingpointsmemo.com". So we'll be sending one to both BP and DM.

So who's holding Social Security meetings in their district?

Well, in New York state apparently no one with an 'R' after their name.

In This Together is a pro-Social Security coalition in New York (here's a list of the organizations in the group). Alex Navarro is the group's communications director; and he tells me that as near as they have been able to ascertain not one Republican in New York state is holding a meeting this week.

Democrats, lotsa meetings. Republicans, no meetings. Hard to imagine.

One of the things that makes it hard to find out precisely is that Republicans who are holding meetings don't seem too eager to publicize them. And Navarro makes clear that this was what they could figure out "from a round of calls to their offices at the end of last week."

So, if anyone knows different, do let us know. But until we hear otherwise, New York may be the Empire state. But it ain't got no Republican gladiators.

Did they pay up or slip the noose?

This from an August 2003 bulletin from the Social Security Administration ...

Penalty Upheld Against United Seniors Association, Inc. [aka USANext] for Misleading Advertising

Judge Denies Appeal of $554,196 Civil Monetary Penalty

On August 8, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Appeals Board Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a ruling upholding the imposition of a $554,196 civil monetary penalty against the United Seniors Association, Inc. (USA Inc.). The ALJ found that USA Inc. violated Section 1140 of the Social Security Act, which protects Social Security program words and symbols from being used in a misleading manner. Over the course of several years, USA Inc. mailed solicitations to senior citizens in envelopes that appeared to be from, approved, endorsed or authorized by SSA. USA Inc. targeted these solicitations to senior citizens with envelopes that included such terminology as “SOCIAL SECURITY ALERT” in prominent, red type. USA Inc. consistently refused to cooperate with OIG’s compliance efforts over the course of 5 years. Therefore, OCIG proposed the penalty, and the parties had a full evidentiary hearing in April 2003. The ALJ’s August 8th ruling found that: USA, Inc. had “deliberately contravened the law,” the $554,196 penalty was reasonable, and USA’s envelopes created a “serious threat to the ability of the Social Security Administration to communicate freely with the public.” USA Inc. has the right to appeal the ALJ’s decision to the full HHS Departmental Appeals Board.


First-class outfit that Charlie Jarvis is running<$NoAd$>.

(ed.note: Thanks to TPM Reader XM.)

Chris Matthews and Charlie <$NoAd$> Jarvis last night on Hardball ...

MATTHEWS: Who is O‘Neill Marketing?

JARVIS: O‘Neill Marketing is a list company, a list rental company.

MATTHEWS: And where are they located?

JARVIS: They‘re located in Fairfax.

MATTHEWS: Where are you located?

JARVIS: In the building where we are, yes.

MATTHEWS: How close is their office to your office?

JARVIS: Three floors.

MATTHEWS: Three floors?

JARVIS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And what is your connection?

JARVIS: No connection at all now. When I first came in, 2001, USA, then known as United Seniors Association, did own...

MATTHEWS: And what is O‘Neill known for, advertising firm?

JARVIS: Basically just direct mail list rentals. That‘s it. They‘re not an advertising firm.


And as long as we're on the subject of USANext, apparently a couple years ago the Social Security Administration had to get a judge to issue a cease and desist order to stop Jarvis's outfit from sending out direct mail intended to "mislead the public into believing the mail is officially sent or approved by the Social Security Administration." That's quite a badge of honor. Are they still under that court order?

Here's the question I'm curious about. In this week's congressional recess, who's holding meetings and who's not?

We note that Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's (R) spokesperson says the congressman is spending the break "catching up on paperwork."

Say what you will about Sen. Santorum (R), Archduke of Privatization, but he ain't hiding. He may be getting his head handed to him this week in Pennsylvania. But he's out there making his case to some pretty unfriendly crowds.

But which representatives and senators have simply gone into hiding? And I'd define that as either holding no public forums or holding ones with access restricted to supporters.

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