"If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Sen. Kyl suggests, please let me know," wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. For good measure, he attached a three-page addendum listing each of the Arizona projects paid for by the $521 million the state is getting.
Brewer knew she'd been thrown a high, hard one.
"The governor is hopeful that these federal Cabinet officials are not threatening to deny Arizona citizens the portion of federal stimulus funds to which they are entitled," her spokesman said in a statement. "She believes that would be a tremendous mistake by the administration. And the governor is grateful for the strong leadership and representation that Arizonans enjoy in the United States Senate."
In addition to Chicago crony Transportation Secretary LaHood, Emanuel enlisted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to write similar nasty-grams all sent out on the day after Senator Kyl criticized the failed stimulus law. Obama's goons at the Democratic National Committee touted the intimidation campaign to put other Republicans on notice: Speak ill of the stimulus and you will pay.
Congressman Issa, for one, refused to play. "At what point do you believe your practice of Chicago-style politics violates a public official's right to speak out in favor of alternative policies," he asked in a letter to Emanuel. "I can assure you that any attempt to intimidate me or silence my criticism of the stimulus through such Chicago-style tactics will be futile." Business leaders raised their voices, too. Glenn Hamer, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, blasted the vendetta in an open letter to the White House titled: "Mr. President: Don't bully Arizona." It was one thing to "joust with [Senator] Kyl over his position," Hamer wrote, "but it is an entirely different matter for cabinet secretaries to write letters to the chief executive of a state and threaten funding if support isn't provided. Once a law is passed, it needs to be fairly and impartially administered."
But fairness and impartiality are not part of the Chicago political vocabulary.
The administration strong-armed Chrysler creditors and strong-armed Chrysler dealers using politicized tactics that united both House Democrats and Republicans, who passed a congressional amendment reversing President Obama on the closure of nearly 800 Chrysler car dealerships and more than 2,000 GMdealerships.On Detroit-based Frank Beckmann's WJR morning talk show, bankruptcy lawyer Tom Lauria blew the whistle on the administration's heavy-handed threats against bondholder firms that objected to the United Auto Worker giveaway structured into the automakers' bankruptcy deal: "One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That's how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence," Lauria decried.