United States Cuba Policy & Business Blog

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Washington Perception Games – The Wasserman-Schultz Letter

As if seeking to take the wind out of the sails of the movement to pass the Cuba Travel Freedom legislation for all Americans, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who represents Florida’s 20th Congressional District, cleverly arranged a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, signed by 53 Democratic House Members to say they are opposed to any changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba including the lifting of the travel ban.
It was reported in the Miami Herald at
and a copy of the letter is below for you to read for yourself. It is an interesting piece of prose drafted by the embargo crowd. I am surprised that the reporter covering this story did not do a thorough job in the story because of what was left out from the story. And this is substantial -- all but three signatories received campaign contributions from the embargo PAC. And to my knowledge none of those members except for one, has even traveled to Cuba! And the sole Representative who had been to Cuba left the island as a boy.
Henry Kissinger once reflected on reality and perception, “The real distinction is between those who adapt their purposes to reality and those who seek to mold reality in the light of their purposes.” The American people are not that stupid, and the reality is the majority of Americans, Cuban-Americans, and Cubans all want travel restrictions lifted [in both countries] and the embargo ended. That is reality.
Now what you see here in the letter is the undue influence campaign donations will get you in Washington DC. This is not illegal but explains why the distortion that a small group of embargo supporters use the power of the wallet to hold this issue hostage to the detriment of all the people and the country. What would happen to this issue if campaign finance laws were changed to limit donations to any politician in an amount like $110 per candidate? Americans would be flying to Cuba already. - TM
Democratic Representatives who signed the letter and received donations from the hard line US-Cuba Democratcy PAC [2008 cycle, + = 2010 cycle to date,* = to "affiliate PAC"]
Ackerman, Gary (D-NY) $1,000+$1,000
Adler, John H (D-NJ) $2,500+$2,000
Altmire, Jason (D-PA) $8,000+$1,000
Andrews, Robert E (D-NJ)$7,000
Arcuri, Michael (D-NY) $5,000+$2,000
Baca, Joe (D-CA) $9,000+$2,500
Barrow, John (D-GA) $9,500+$1,000
Bean, Melissa (D-IL) $10,000+$1,000 *$2,500
Berkley, Shelley (D-NV) $5,000+$2,500
Boccieri, John A (D-OH) $2,000+$2,000
Boyd, Allen (D-FL) $1,000+$2,000 *$3,500
Braley, Bruce (D-IA) $8,000+$2,500
Carney, Chris (D-PA) $7,000
Chandler, Ben (D-KY) $5,000
Connolly, Gerry (D-VA) +$2,000
Cuellar, Henry (D-TX) $8,000
Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) $3,000+$1,000
Engel, Eliot L (D-NY) $7,500+$5,000
Foster, Bill (D-IL) $4,000+$1,000
Giffords, Gabrielle(D-AZ)$5,000+$1,000
Hare, Phil (D-IL) $9,000+$1,000 *$1,000
Hastings, Alcee L (D-FL)$4,000+$1,000
Higgins, Brian M (D-NY) $3,000
Hodes, Paul W (D-NH) $8,000
Kennedy, Patrick J(D-RI)$7,000
Kissell, Larry (D-NC) +$1,000
Klein, Ron (D-FL) $10,000
Kosmas, Suzanne (D-FL) +$4,000
Kratovil, Frank M (D-MD)+$1,000
Lipinski, Daniel (D-IL) +$1,000
Maffei, Dan (D-NY) $2,000+$1,000
Marshall, Jim (D-GA) $9,500
McIntyre, Mike (D-NC) $5,000
McMahon, Michael (D-NY) +$2,000
Meek, Kendrick B (D-FL) $5,000 *$4,000
Melancon, Charles (D-LA)$4,000
Miller, Brad (D-NC) $7,000+$1,000
Murphy, Patrick (D-PA) $10,000+$1,000
Murphy, Scott (D-NY)+ $1,000
Pallone, Frank (D-NJ) $4,500
Pascrell, Bill Jr (D-NJ)$2,000
Perlmutter, Edwin (D-CO)$3,000+$1,000
Rothman, Steven R (D-NJ)$1,000
Salazar, John (D-CO) $8,500
Schultz, Debbie W.(D-FL)$10,000*$10,000
Shuler, Heath (D-NC) $7,000Sires,
Albio (D-NJ) $10,000+$5,000
Skelton, Ike (D-MO) $2,000
Space, Zachary T (D-OH) $8,000+$1,000
Wexler, Robert (D-FL) $6,000
Wu, David (D-OR) $6,000+$1,000
Note: key organizer of the letter Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz "in the past two election cycles...received $22,000 from the committee, and members of the PAC's board of directors gave her another $29,000 in individual contributions, for a total of $51,000."
Democratic Representatives who signed the letter but did not receive PAC donations:
Grayson, Alan (D-FL)
Pierluisi, Pedro R. (Puerto Rico, non-voting)
Quigley, Mike (D-IL)
[source: uscubanormalization.blogspot.com]
To see the document and to download:
Anti Travel Letter to Speaker Pelosi - Cuba