Congresswoman Comstock seems to recognize that she will face an uphill battle in the midterm elections in 2018. Take a look at a special plea she sent out to select constituents, seeking funds to help her campaign:
In typical fashion, she places the blame squarely on Pelosi and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as opposed to the disgruntled constituents and disaffected supporters who have become activated and angry by the Trump administration and the recent legislation coming out of Congress.
What she also fails to mention, is that she’s not just courting individual constituents for modest donation sums of $100. She’s been quietly conducting a fundraising campaign geared toward her large corporate donors, as well.
Her vote for S. J. Res. 34 yesterday, which allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell her constituents’ private data – including social security numbers – to big data marketing firms, was a big thank you to the telecom industry which gave her $228,229 to help her keep her seat in 2016. The telecom industry stands to gain billions of dollars in profits off the private browsing data, app usage, and search history of people who will not have a choice to opt out.
Ms. Comstock is also shrewdly laying the groundwork for receiving another large campaign donation from Northrop Grumman, who donated $22,000 to last year’s re-election bid. Just last night, she highlighted the corporation in a photo-op fluff piece she posted on social media designed to make herself and Northrop as being pro-women in the workplace, which is a signature plank in Comstock’s campaign platform.
In 2016, she received $3,000 from a company called Orbital ATK, the last payment was received in November. In January, she posted a photo-op event of her stopping by Orbital’s headquarters for a STEM event. In February, it was reported that she attempted to intervene on their behalf, when they asked her to halt a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project that would have been a competitor with Orbital’s robotic servicing of geosynchronous satellites. Orbital ATK is suing the Pentagon to prevent DARPA from awarding the contract to a Canadian-based firm, Space Systems Loral (SSL), and from “competing with the private sector.”
This month, it was reported that at least one Orbital employee was fired after it was discovered he illegally downloaded SSL’s proprietary information and shared it with at least 6 co-workers. It is unclear if Ms. Comstock plans any further intervention for this company.
Ms. Comstock is right to be fundraising this early. She has been targeted by both Democrats and Republicans as occupying one of the most vulnerable seats in Congress.
She is wrong to use her political position to benefit her large, corporate donors, however. In a representative democracy like ours, that’s the worst kind of fundraising one can do.
Comstock’s vote to repeal the consumer protection/internet privacy Rule yesterday was the clearest sign yet how much $228,229 will buy you in influence.
On the other hand, $200 won’t buy you anything at all – not even a real Town Hall.