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Constituents Call on Comstock to Take a Stand on Trump’s Paris Climate Accord Withdrawal

Last week, Donald J. Trump announced that he made the decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord (PCA) in order to preserve America’s “sovereignty.” This move generally caused applause on the right and outrage on the left. However, many have been quiet since Trump’s decision.

Trump ain't a believer

One of the quietest has been Congresswoman Barbara Comstock. Though she took the time to announce that she “stands with” the UK after the London Bridge attack, and congratulated participants in a local fun run, and posted photos of her campaign team working to get fellow republicans elected to office, she had no words on the impending withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.

Staffers in Comstock’s office are quick to point out that she was one of a handful of signatories on a one-page, unfunded, nonbinding resolution introduced in the House last March, “committing to work constructively” toward “economically viable” solutions “to study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates.”

Does Ms. Comstock consider the Paris Climate Accord to fit the bill? No one yet knows, as she has so far refused to make a statement.

Why is it important that Barbara Comstock denounce Trump’s decision to withdraw from the PCA? As the Working Families Party explains, “Working families and everyday people across America and the world will suffer dire consequences if we do not take immediate action on climate change. Inaction on climate will hurt our economy, our health, and future generations.” As one of the world’s biggest polluter, second only to China, it is paramount that the United States play an important lead role in solving this problem.

This is theoretically in-line with the Resolution Comstock signed, which states that “there is increasing recognition that we can and must take meaningful and responsible action now to address this issue.” However, the language comes with an important loop-hole: that said efforts “should not constrain the United States economy, especially in regards to global competitiveness.”

…And therein lies the rub. Does Barbara Comstock believe Trump’s assertion that the PCA would cost millions of American jobs? As the Washington Post explains, parties to the Paris Climate Accord have the sovereignty to adjust their individual requirements, noting that, “The U.S. can unilaterally change its emissions target under the agreement — it doesn’t have to ‘renegotiate’ it — and financial contributions are voluntary.”

In his speech, Trump claimed that, even if the U.S. remained within the agreement, the climate would only see an improvement of only “two-tenths of one degree” over the next ten years. Whereas, according to the Washington Post, scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology predict that it would “reduce the planet’s warming by the year 2100 down from 4.2 degrees Celsius (7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to 3.3 degrees Celsius (5.9 degrees Fahrenheit), or nearly a full degree Celsius.”

So, the Paris Climate Accord is voluntary, can be adjusted to meet the United States’ economic needs, and is predicted to have a significant effect on slowing climate change. Add to that Ms. Comstock’s willingness to support efforts to mitigate climate change, and it seems like it would be a no-brainer that she would support our continued participation in this world-wide effort.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple for Ms. Comstock. Money plays a significant factor in this vulnerable Representative’s circumstances. Barbara Comstock has received thousands of dollars from multiple GOP leadership political action committees (PACs) to fill her coffers in anticipation of a toss-up race to keep her seat in 2018.

Many of our nation’s top Republican leaders have signed a pledge promulgated by anti-environmental titans and “Dark Money” purveyors, the Koch brothers. This pledge, called the “No Climate Tax Pledge,” was started by the Americans for Prosperity Group, a super PAC established and funded by the Koch brothers.

no climate tax pledge

The New York Times describes the Kochs as “Kansas-based billionaires who run a chain of refineries (which can process 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day) as well as a subsidiary that owns or operates 4,000 miles of pipelines that move crude oil.” The pledge states, ““I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” Although Rep. Comstock is not listed as having signed this pledge, herself, records show that many of her major benefactors have signed, or have a direct interest in it.

More than two-thirds of Comstock’s recent donations are from deep-pocketed PACs, mainly run by the GOP leadership. To name just a few, in her first quarter FEC filing for 2017, Ms. Comstock listed $5,000 from New Pioneers, $1,000 from Liberty & Prosperity, $2,000 from In the Arena, $5,000 from Eye of the Tiger, $5,000 from Jobs, Economy & the Future, $5,000 from Gregg PAC, $2,000 from the Jackie PAC. This is NOT an exhaustive list. Comstock reportedly raised over half a million dollars in the first quarter, and the majority of that came from PACs funded by anti-Paris Climate Accord GOP leadership:

 

Top donors are PACs
Courtesy of Guy Potucek, Indivisible District 10

 

Despite Barbara Comstock’s documented reluctance to go on record with an opinion on anything remotely controversial, and despite the many thousands of dollars she has received from “no-tax pledge” supporting PACs, constituents from District 10 still plan to rally outside her Sterling office on Tuesday, to call on our Representative to make a statement condemning Trump’s anti-environment, pro-Koch brothers decision to pull out of the PCC.

Interested in participating? Click HERE.

Can’t attend but want to add your voice? CONTACT Barbara Comstock’s office and tell her how you feel about Trump’s decision, and how she can best represent you and your future generations.

Comstock, Staff, Family Descend on District with Flurry of Events on Memorial Day

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“There is no one who is more ever present in the district” than Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, said her publicist, Jeff Marschner to Loudon Now, just last month. He was responding on Comstock’s behalf to the vociferous clamor from constituents and media, who called on her to hold a Town Hall in her district during the Congressional spring break week in April. As Marschner explained it, there was no need for a Town Hall, given that she’s always out there, “listening to, learning from and meeting with her constituents.” (Actually, she was in Egypt at the time, but let us not digress).

Just this past Memorial Day weekend, Virginia’s Tenth Congressional District was treated to an all-out phalanx of event attendance by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, her staff, and family.

By her own account, Ms. Comstock personally attended no fewer than four remembrance events on Monday, ranging from Sterling, to Manassas, to Leesburg and Berryville. She deployed her staff to Ashburn, Purcellville and Springfield, and enlisted her family members to attend events in Great Falls and McLean. All in one day.

She posted the photo-ops to social media throughout the day and later preened in an email that showcased each and every ceremony. Is this what Mr. Marschner meant? This “frantic travel schedule,” as the Loudon Tribune described it, back in February?

This type of behavior – namely – attending as many ceremonies as possible, even attending some just by proxy, cheapens these events. This “frantic” pace followed by preening posts. It’s all so nakedly ambitious. While families and friends of the fallen are solemnly memorializing the sacrifice of their loved ones, Barbara Comstock is there to get a photo and a handshake, before she jets off to the next event, 30 miles away. Love to stay and chat, but gotta’ run! Pose for the camera real quick, and tweet it from the car.

With Memorial Day over, the rest of the week is a recess for the House. This is a critical period for Representatives to connect with their constituents about some very significant issues, for example: the new CBO score released for the AHCA; Trump’s planned announcement for whether he will withdraw the nation from the Paris Accord on Climate Change; whether Jared Kushner’s security clearance should be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation into reports that he may have colluded with Russia during the presidential transition; whether Planned Parenthood will be de-funded… the list is long.

No fewer than 30 Town Halls are being held by Members of Congress this week to discuss those issues, Democrat and Republican, alike. Barbara Comstock is not one of those Members. In fact, she’s been relatively quiet since the end of her Memorial Day photo-op blitz.

This week it was reported that she quietly blocked a constituent activist group, Dump Comstock, on Twitter. Though the group has clearly been an annoyance for her, with their crowd-funded billboard in Winchester and their citizen-run booths at events that Comstock herself also attends, it is unclear why she took this extreme action. A review of the group’s tweets shows they seek to fact-check her tweets, not abuse her, or violate Twitter’s terms of service.

By keeping her schedule private until after the fact, avoiding Town Halls, and blocking citizen gadflies on Twitter, Barbara Comstock appears to be curating her Congressional experience to resemble that of a rarefied, honorary Miss Virginia. The events she picks and chooses to attend or eschew suggest a woman who wishes never to face any people who have tough questions for her to answer.

Ducking, weaving and glad-handing aside, there is one day that she cannot avoid answering to each of her constituents, individually. That day is November 6, 2018. Election Day.

Comstock: Independent Commission on Trump-Russia a Democrat Ploy

 

making my name
Barbara Comstock, after winning reelection with a slim margin. CQ Roll Call/Bill Clark

 

Constituents who called Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s offices this week to express their support for H.R. 356 (“Protecting Our Democracy Act”) were dismayed to hear from staff that the she plans to vote “no” on this important piece of legislation.

“I just called. and Comstock will vote no on HR 356. She believes it is a political tactic by the Democrats that she will not support,” said one dismayed constituent on social media, yesterday.

The Resolution, which seeks to form an independent Commission to investigate alleged Russian collusion with the Trump administration, has over 200 co-sponsors from both parties. Signatures are currently being collected for a petition to discharge it from Committee in order to put it up for a House vote.

Many people wonder, however, if the independent Commission would be necessary, given that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been appointed, and that several Congressional investigations are underway.

The answer is, without a doubt, yes.

Reuters has just reported that the Trump administration is “exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation.” Writes Reuters,

Within hours of Mueller’s appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring. An executive order signed by Trump in January extended that period to two years.

The news site concludes that, based on Mueller’s former work at Wilmer Hale, he would therefore be prevented from investigating firm client and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as former campaign advisor, Paul Manafort, who resigned under a cloud of suspicion due to his unreported work for the Russian government.

“What is needed,” writes The Economist, “is either an independent commission, along the lines of the one set up to inquire into the events leading up to September 11, 2001, or a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Russia allegations. Neither would have prosecutorial powers, but they could have substantial investigatory resources and be able to subpoena witnesses.”

Others are concerned that too many concurrent investigations could cause jurisdictional overlap and conflicts. However, the The Washington Post counters, “during the administration of Democratic president Bill Clinton, there were no fewer than seven investigations, led by independent counsels, looking into the behavior of his administration and its top officials.”

At the time, Barbara Comstock was chief Investigative counsel for the chairman of the House oversight committee. “We did investigations separate from what the Justice Department was doing, and often, we found documents before they did,” she explained, adding, “The purpose of the congressional investigations is the public’s right to know, and I think the two can be done concurrently.”

That brings us to the last and most cynical concern. That H. R. 356 is nothing but “a political tactic by the Democrats.”

That partisan attack strikes us as particularly cheap, coming from Barbara Comstock, who made her name digging up dirt on the Clintons, while working for Congress in the 1990s. Nearly two decades ago, Politico wrote, “Comstock’s legal training prepared her to burrow through mounds of government documents, spotting patterns in discrete facts that eluded others. She deposed countless high-level White House officials and allies, including John Podesta and George Stephanopoulos. When Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung appeared before the committee in 1999, Comstock did the grilling.

Speaking on the Benghazi investigation, Politico quoted Comstock from an interview on “The John Fredericks Show, saying, “Previously, when I was on Capitol Hill in the ’90s, I served as chief counsel on the House Government Reform Committee, and we had similar investigations where we were just blocked at every turn, we had people take the Fifth Amendment, we had the administration refuse to turn over documents,” “And you just have to really go at it. We wrote contempt reports, we insisted on getting documents and then finally we were to break open these cases.”

Are we to understand, then, that this self-same Barbara Comstock, with the intense legal training and zeal to investigate possible wrong-doing at all hours of the day and night, feels that it shouldn’t be done now? Because the subject of the investigation is Trump and the Russians, or perhaps because the subject is not a Clinton? Or because the Democrats have joined with Republicans in calling for the independent commission?

Regardless of her reasoning, it appears her obstructionism is nothing more than a partisan ploy of her own: party before country. It’s past time that she be called out for it.

Former Clinton-Investigating Rep. Barbara Comstock Moves to Limit Congressional Inquiries into Trump Administration

 

investigate trump demo
Constituents demonstrate outside Comstock’s Sterling, VA office/J. Cuasay

 

“Last week I called for an independent investigation that the American people can trust,” said Congresswoman Barbara Comstock in a statement to her constituents, last night. “With Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel, the American people can have confidence in a fair and thorough investigation as well as confidence in the eventual outcome.”

Ms. Comstock was referring to the terse statement she made last week in response to the firing of FBI Director, James Comey, in which she opined, “There must be an independent investigation that the American people can trust.”

She tweeted out her statement to her followers at approximately 8 PM:

What many constituents in Virginia’s 10th Congressional district may not know is that, just 90 minutes before she released that statement, she voted on the House floor to block an appeal by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) to reconsider H. Res. 186, which calls on the House to request Mr. Trump’s tax returns.

Rep. Pascrell addressed the House yesterday evening for several compelling minutes, where he spoke of the importance of having access to Trump’s tax returns as part of the investigation into possible financial entanglements with Russia, and potential conflicts of interest for Mr. Trump in changing the tax code, and in privatizing publicly-held lands for commercial purposes. The Resolution, which has nearly 100 co-sponsors, is careful to task the House Ways and Means Committee review Trump’s taxes in a closed, Executive Session.

It should be considered a privileged Resolution under Rule IX of the House, argued Pascrell, because “There is nothing more threatening to the integrity of this House than ignoring our duty to provide a check and balance to the executive branch.” At the podium, he held up a print-out of yesterday’s article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Russian State- Run Bank Financed the Deal Involving Trump Hotel Partner” which reports that “U.S. investigators are looking into any ties between Russian financial institutions, Mr. Trump and anyone in his orbit.”

Moscow Bank Aided Trump Partner

The Speaker of the House refused to consider the Resolution under the Privilege Rule. When Pascrell appealed, Barbara Comstock and most of her Republican colleagues voted to table it. Thus, it remains on the back burner.

Meanwhile, Rep. Comstock has continued to remain silent on House Bill 356, the “Protecting our Democracy Act,” which seeks to form an independent Commission to investigate Russian collusion with the Trump administration. With 200 co-sponsors, and more expected to sign on (most recently two Republican Representatives), the bill has languished in Committee since it was introduced last in January.

In order to get it to the full House floor for consideration, Representatives are signing a “discharge petition,” a maneuver the New York Times says has only been successful on two other occasions in the recent past. (Spoiler Alert: Comstock has not signed the petition)

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Ca.), one of the original sponsors of the Bill, released this statement after it was announced that Mueller would be appointed as Special Prosecutor:

Note how much farther it goes than Barbara Comstock’s statement.

With the scandals swirling, every Representative is issuing a statement on the matter, ranging from calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, to calling for “less drama from the White House.” Many Republicans and Democrats are calling for an investigation that the American People can trust.

Recent statements and actions show that we can’t trust Barbara Comstock to play any type of role in an investigation into the matter. Except for maybe the role of impediment.

Feeling nostalgic about the years Ms. Comstock spent investigating the Clintons? Watch this clip:

Comstock Fires up the Clinton Hate-Machine, Again

Last week, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock sent out a fundraising request to a section of her base whom she must have listed in a database called, “Clinton-haters.” It is this kind of divisive message that turns the stomachs of most independent voters. According to recent statistics, there are a lot of independents in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. Even worse for Ms. Comstock, a recent analysis shows that she would not have won reelection without the thousands of voters who voted for her, along with Hillary Clinton for president. Comstock Risks 2018 Reelection by Alienating Key “Split Voters” with Trump Agenda

Read the missive, below, and see whether you agree with the edits, courtesy of District 10 resident, Alyssa Brown:

comstock for congress letterhead

missive 1

missive 2

Read the original letter, here.

Wondering what fundraising she’s doing tomorrow night? She’ll be attending an event on Capitol Hill:

A Night on Capitol Hill

Interested in welcoming Barbara Comstock at this event? Visit this page for more details.

“Moderate” Comstock Attempts to Hold On to Independent Voters with Mild Statement on Comey Firing

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Vulnerable second-term Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock released a statement just after midnight to her constituents today, saying she “can’t explain or defend the timing or the firing” of FBI Director James Comey by the Trump administration. She went on to say that “there must be an independent investigation that the American people can trust.”

However, she stopped short of saying exactly what that investigation would look like, and whether or not she thinks the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation would suffice

Nevertheless, she was lumped in by The Hill with another Republican Rep., Justin Amash (Mich.), who is also viewed as vulnerable in mid-term elections. Mr. Amash was much more direct in his statement, asserting, “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia,” and calling Trump’s firing of Comey, “Bizarre.”

It’s not just her words that are lacking – it’s also her lack of action. Comstock has consistently voted against all Resolutions in the House that have called for Trump to release his tax returns. Those who follow Ms. Comstock’s weak legislative record and compare them to her released statements have little hope that she would be involved in the leadership to establish an independent investigation.

For example, there are 198 co-sponsors  of House Resolution 356, introduced by Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA), entitled, the “Protecting Our Democracy Act,” which purports to “[establish] in the legislative branch the National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election to examine any attempts or activities by the Russian government or other governments, persons or entities associated with such governments, or persons or entities within Russia to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in elections for public office held in the United States in 2016.

Out of all the near 200 co-sponsors of this bill, not a single member is named “Barbara Comstock.”

Ms. Comstock’s statement can best be described as “mild,” in this situation, compared to many other Republicans who offered up more candid descriptions of the hole the Trump administration has dug for itself this time:

“To move beyond this in a way that gives the American people faith and Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate faith in future efforts is going to be a really tough and narrow path for them to follow.” –Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

“An interruption in any of the access we have to the documents or the personnel would be harmful to our investigation.” -Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)

With her mild words and her non-existent actions, it is clear that yet another opportunity for Comstock to help her district (and the entire country) are passing by. Once again, constituents are left wondering why Barbara Comstock can’t step up to the plate and show real leadership during these troubled times.

Constituents Write Open Letter to Barbara Comstock Asking for Leadership

Comstock-Ryan photo

May 5, 2017

Dear Representative Comstock,

Your vote on May 4 against the American Health Care Act sent a new and encouraging signal that months of citizen protests have not gone unnoticed. For that, we thank you. Yet, like the Republican leadership’s celebration with President Trump in the White House Rose Garden, a broader expression of celebration would be premature and lacking intellectual integrity. 

Since early January, citizens from your district have been calling and visiting your offices, writing you letters and emails, and demonstrating at a variety of venues to demand that you protect access to affordable healthcare. We have asked you, as our representative in Congress, to work to fix, not repeal, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Your January vote for the budget resolution to repeal the ACA without a replacement plan was an early signal that you are willing to vote party over principle, even on something as critical as healthcare. We voiced our outrage and demanded to know details of your replacement plan.

Your only response was a vague claim that a forthcoming plan would preserve core attributes of the ACA that you agree are critically important. When that plan finally emerged, it became clear it would cost more, insure less, and put all of your constituents at risk of losing coverage if they get sick. We again called, and wrote, and visited with your staff, but most of our direct questions have remained unanswered.

Your voice has been so critically absent in this debate that we cannot help but question if your most recent vote was based on a political calculus rather than a policy conviction. 

Nonetheless, your “no” vote is worthy of our recognition and a call to action for citizens at large to continue to express their views, including “thank yous” when your votes reflect their values. We appreciate your public statement that supports “coverage for pre-existing conditions without lifetime limits.”  The next step for you is to follow up your public statements with demonstrable action by sponsoring legislation that allows for affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions and prohibits insurance carriers from applying lifetime limits to insurance coverage.

Our groups will continue to urge you to speak with your constituents in public forums that allow you to explain your true convictions and suggested policy solutions related to health care and other critical issues. Your constituents deserve and thus demand more than scripted statements and staged photos. We expect you to rise above partisanship, engage in constructive dialogue, and act in a way that answers the urgency of this tenuous time in our nation’s history. 

Respectfully,

Lisa Holliday, Guy Potucek, and Kristen Swanson,

Founders of Indivisible District 10 Facebook Groups

Comstock Aides Assist Her in Dodging Constituents with Opposing Views

 

article headliner health fair
Comstock stands near the door, ready to make a speedy exit

 

Local attendees of a Health & Wellness Fair witnessed a surprising incident involving Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, this past weekend. Our readers are well-aware that Comstock refuses to hold a Town Hall. So, it’s no surprise that some residents came out to the Fair specifically to see Comstock, once they heard she was there.

(From The Loudon Times editorial board to Comstock: Hold the Town Hall)

In a Congressional district where it is nigh impossible to meet with one’s Representative, people have to work extra hard to get face-time, especially since constituents who make appointments and make the trek to her office often find that they are only permitted to meet with staff – very rarely with the Congresswoman, herself.

Hearing that Comstock was at the event, local Indivisible member and district resident, Guy Potucek, showed up to greet her, with the hope that he may be able to speak with her about certain pieces of legislation.

Mr. Potucek says he came to speak to Comstock about her views on the ever-changing proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and to find out why the staffers who answer phones for her never seem to know what Comstock’s votes will be, on any given issue.

According to eyewitness accounts, when Comstock’s staff saw Potucek coming, “Her staff informed Comstock via text that he showed up, and suggested to her that she go to another area of the event where he could not physically see her. He proceeded to talk to her staff,” instead.

The staffer that he spoke with works for the Congresswoman, as an aide for Constituent Services. That makes what happened next particularly ironic. The aide told Potucek that Comstock had already left the event. Mr. Potucek decided to mention his legislative concerns and asked a few questions of the staff, finishing with an attempted joke that he was “probably on some ‘watch list.’”

According to several bystanders, after Potucek left, two staff members trashed his views and spent copious amounts of time “muttering under their breath about Town Halls.” After overhearing these remarks, one witness confirmed what had only been meant as a joke: “Essentially, they said yes, [he is] on their watch list.”

(From the Loudon Tribune editorial on Comstock: We Think the Swamp is Not Draining)

Comstock was spotted at the event, after this constituent was gone. We can only assume that she waited for a text from her staff, letting her know it was “safe” to come back. Face-to-face encounter, averted.

“How can we make progress if Ms. Comstock refuses to even be within sight of someone who disagrees with her positions, much less talk to that person? I just came from a public event where this happened, and her staff was in on it,” remarked one bystander, after the incident.

Indeed, how? This is instructive for District 10 voters. These are the lengths to which Barbara Comstock will go, in order to avoid people with conflicting views.

This is the situation in which Virginia’s District 10 finds itself, after narrowly voting Comstock in for another term. Constituents are learning that Comstock’s staffers attempt to discredit constituents in the media, advise Comstock that these residents aren’t authentic or spontaneous, and encourage her to avoid them, physically.

Ultimately, the message is clear: If Comstock is unwilling to meet with a single person, then there’s no way on Earth that she will ever consent to holding a Town Hall.

Finally, it makes one wonder: who else is on the staff’s Watch List?

Top Comstock Staffer Acts Like He Still Works With Breitbart

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Press coverage of Congresswoman Barbara Comstock reached a fevered pitch last week, as constituents across the district came out in force to demonstrate their desire for her to hold a Town Hall, and rally to spread awareness of Comstock’s ultra-conservative voting record. This included the unveiling of a crowd-funded billboard placed in Winchester, and daily demonstrations outside and inside the Congresswoman’s office in Sterling.

“We get that we might never agree, we might never change your mind,” said  district resident and local Indivisible member, Jan Hyland. “But this is still a huge part of your job, and the less you engage with us, the more distrust there is.” Hyland was there to raise awareness of Comstock’s continued refusal to hold a Town Hall and to highlight her 100% Trump-aligned voting record.

News media who sought comments from the beleaguered Congresswoman’s office received a canned statement from her spokesman and Deputy Chief of Staff, Jeff Marschner, who responded, “The congresswoman has held two telephone town halls where she reached approximately 9,000 constituents and will hold more. She and her staff have also met with hundreds of constituents at small group and individual meetings in our offices in Sterling, Winchester and on Capitol Hill.”

Marschner went on to single out Ms. Hyland, personally, by noting “Hyland, who works in public relations, was deputy press secretary for former Lt. Governor, U.S. Ambassador and current Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA-8)’s campaign for governor in 1997.”

This comment left many residents scratching their heads. Why would Comstock’s spokesman attempt to publicly discredit a long-time constituent, by pointing out her former career as a campaign staffer? (As so many of the residents are, in this area).

Really, who is Jeff Marschner, and how much sway does he have over Comstock?

Jeff Marschner held an interesting job prior to working for Congress. From 2010 to 2014, he was the Communications Director for the ultra-right wing PAC, Citizens United. (Yes, the same Citizens United responsible for loosening the McCain-Feingold Act that prevented corporations and unions from paying for political ads made independently on behalf of political candidate campaigns.) They won their Supreme Court case right as Marschner was coming aboard the organization as their spokesman.

As communications director, Marschner was responsible for providing statements to the media on behalf of Citizens United, particularly for the movies they produce. One movie they produced, along with Breitbart, (yes, Breitbart), was called “Occupy Unmasked,” in which they sought to portray Occupy Movement demonstrators as “not a spontaneous event that sprouted up in downtown Manhattan, but a methodically planned uprising carefully organized by unions, left-wing activists and even members of the mainstream media.”

Steve Bannon, the director of “Occupy Unmasked,” told Fox News “Whenever we screened this, the people’s reaction was the same. They had no idea what was behind this movement. This was not done spontaneously. This was community organized.” [emphasis added]

Well, then. This is the attitude Mr. Marschner brought with him when he went to work for Barbara Comstock. Now he’s her Deputy Chief of Staff, and spokesman. Now it’s his job to discredit community members for organizing to inform their fellow residents about Comstock’s decidedly draconian, right-wing voting record. Community organized = inauthentic and spontaneous, and is therefore unworthy of respect.

The attack-dog style against the Occupy Movement may have suited Steve Bannon’s needs, but it will most assuredly backfire if used on the citizens of the 10th District of Virginia. Marschner should be careful not to make his and Comstock’s politics personal against individual district constituents.

Jan Hyland, for her part, is proud to have worked for Rep. Beyer, twenty years ago. She responded, “My experience working for someone like Don Beyer showed me how much effort most elected officials put into communicating with constituents.”

As for Marschner’s work history and his attempt to discredit her, Hyland believes it’s a cautionary tale. “We now have insight into why she stonewalls constituents,” she observes. “And we have many more questions about who [Comstock] listens to, and who she is really serving.

Fourth Day of Rallies Show Extent of Constituents’ Discontent with Comstock/Trump

Hyland PP demo pic

Today marked the 4th consecutive day of constituent demonstrations outside Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s Sterling office. Small groups of residents also took turns meeting with office staff members to enumerate their concerns about the current threat to women’s health posed by GOP-led efforts to repeal the ACA and defund Planned Parenthood.

This collaborative effort between Indivisible, Planned Parenthood, Working Families Party and SEIU couldn’t be better timed, given that Trump today signed a bill allowing states to refuse to disburse federal grant monies to any health centers that happen to provide abortions in addition to other health services.

This bill started in the House, where Barbara Comstock unapologetically voted for it. For years, now, she has made it clear that she wants to defund Planned Parenthood. In fact, she goes farther than that: She wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. That position is ultra-conservative. By no definition can she be called a “moderate,” or “centrist.” Don’t forget that, when she asks for your vote. If you want a moderate, then you don’t want Barbara Comstock.

The VA-10 district and Barbara Comstock are an unhappy match. The district is purple, and voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. They very much rejected the Trump/Ryan agenda, and continue to vociferously #RESIST. Watch residents demonstrating outside Comstock”s office to save Planned Parenthood:

The constituents participating in this week’s rallies, held at a time when Comstock chose to flee the district for an overseas trip, explain:

We’re out here today because Rep. Comstock has failed, time and again, to represent us in Washington, D.C. She ran as a moderate, but she’s voted lockstep with the Trump agenda. Even worse, she won’t face her constituents and refuses to hold an in-person town hall. So, we’re demanding that she resist the Trump agenda and hold a town hall while she’s here in the district.

She’s voted with Trump on 100% of bills that have reached the floor for a vote. Her last-minute announcement that she would vote against Trump’s disastrous health care bill was cold comfort. She voted to let Comcast and Verizon sell our personal information, and to let big corporations pollute our streams.

It’s not too late to participate in the #ReclaimRecess project. Friday will cap the week’s protests with constituents delivering Easter eggs to the Comstock’s office – with messages written on each one. Come and deliver a message!

Join your neighbors to keep the attention where it belongs: on the dangerous Trump agenda, and Barbara Comstock’s complicity in it. Stop by the Sterling office any day this week between 8-10 AM, or 3-5 PM. Click here for more information, and to register. If you can’t make it to an event, but still want your voice heard, contact Comstock’s office and let them know how you feel about the Trump agenda! Phone calls matter. Watch the Live Stream each day from 8-10 AM and 3-5 PM

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Comstock’s staff refuse to allow constituents to record meetings inside the office. This policy perpetuates a disconnect between district residents – how can we know what each other is saying, and what staff is answering, if we can’t record and broadcast? Watch the recording, here, to get an idea what the meetings are like, and to hear your fellow residents’ concerns about the ACA:

I stand with PP video tag
Click here to view