Archive for November 19th, 2009

Congressman Castle made the following statement in response to inaccurate reporting of stimulus funds on Recovery.gov

“After reviewing the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board’s website, Recovery.gov, I was very surprised to see that Delaware was shown to have 6 Congressional Districts. While I am sure this is simply a result of human errors, it brings to question what other mistakes are being overlooked with this nearly $800 billion program. While these mistakes may be corrected, the bigger concern is the legitimacy of the transparency effort at the White House for the expenditure and benefit of this federal spending. I fear this Administration continues to miss the mark on incentivizing small businesses to expand and lacks a serious focus on long term job growth.”

A CBS 3 report can be found here. It includes some tongue-in-cheek comments by Delaware’s lone Congressman, Mike Castle. It also says that the Federal site is updated by those who actually receive the money, but I thought that this was all flowing through and approved by the Lt. Governor. If this is not the case, then how is the money flowing? I previously blogged on a WBOC news report regarding the lack of updating to Delaware’s own “Recovery” site. Looks like the problems are flowing up to the Federal site. And these guys want to run healthcare???


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There has been quite a stir created by an update to the breast cancer screening guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force a few days ago. According to the actual report (which can be found here), since the last revision to the guidelines, “1 new trial and updated data from an older study have been published that specifically address screening in women in the younger age group…” and “[o]nly 1 study provided data on women older than 70 years.”

These trials were grouped into the previous trials and according to the Wall Street Journal (whose editorial can be found here – subscription may be required), “the panel—which includes no oncologists and radiologists, who best know the medical literature—did decide to re-analyze the data with health-care spending as a core concern.” [emphasis original]

The new requirements as a result of the spending review? From the report:

A decision analysis performed for the USPSTF projected that biennial screening produced 70% to 99% of the benefit of annual screening, with a significant reduction in the number of mammograms required and therefore a decreased risk for harms. Screening between the ages of 50 and 69 years produced a projected 17% (range, 15% to 23%) reduction in mortality (compared with no screening), whereas extending the age range produced only minor improvements (additional 3% reduction from starting at age 40 years and 7% from extending to age 79 years)

So, biennial screening might only provide 70% of the benefit — or 30% of those who might have benefitted will not benefit. Extending the range beyond 75 years only the report says “women of this age are at much greater risk of dying of other conditions that would not be affected by breast cancer screening.” So there is only a 7% benefit for this service.

So, for the up to 30% of those who lost the benefit of annual screening or for those over 75 who aren’t going to die anyway, the panel just decided for you.

No wonder Christiana Care’s Helen Graham Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic and other leading cancer care practitioners including the American Cancer Society have come out against these recommendations. Fortunately for all of us, this panel doesn’t have the force of law — as it would under the Pelosi bill.

Health insurance needs to be reformed, but handing the power to an appointed bureaucracy is a bad idea, and we’ve just had a taste.

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WDEL is reporting that US Congress candidate Scott Spencer is planning to donate 10% of his campaign fundraising to the Food Bank of Delaware.  He is calling on all other statewide candidates to designate a “Campaign Charity” and give 10% of their funds away.

This is silly.    Campaign donors want their money spent wisely.  They want to hear about how you are buying signs, direct mailings and radio time.   They can donate to charity on their own.   Plus they lose their tax deduction on their personal return by funneling it through a political campaign.

Hopefully the other candidates ignore this.  Every campaign buys tickets to charitable events (or advertising in their program, etc), but a blanket 10% flat donation seems inappropriate.    If you want to promote a charity, have an event where people write a check to your campaign and a separate check to the charity.

For Delaware candidates (I’m not sure about the FEC rules for congressional candidates), this is how you can spend your campaign money:

§ 8020. Authorized campaign expenditures.

No political committee may make any expenditure except for the following purposes:

(1) Wages of full-time or part-time campaign staff (but no salary nor wage for a candidate or a candidate’s spouse);

(2) Travel expenses of the candidate and campaign staff;

(3) Payment of fees or charges for placing the name of the candidate on the ballot, and for collecting the returns of the election;

(4) Costs of telephone and other communications services;

(5) Costs of postage and other delivery services;

(6) Printing and stationery;

(7) Food, refreshments and related supplies;

(8) Purchase and preparation of lists of voters;

(9) Taking polls and making canvasses of voters;

(10) Payment for election watchers;

(11) Rental of office and rental and purchase of equipment;

(12) Advertising and publicity;

(13) In the case of a candidate committee, purchase of tickets to permit the candidate’s attendance at civic or political events; and in the case of a political action committee, contributions within authorized limits, to any other political committee;

(14) Holding, promoting and furnishing meetings, demonstrations, conventions, and paying musicians and others rendering services thereto;

(15) Employing attorneys, accountants and other professional advisors;

(16) In the case of a candidate committee, contributions, within the limits set forth in § 8010(a) of this title, to another candidate committee, or as otherwise provided in § 8022 of this title;

(17) In the case of a political party or a political action committee, contributions, within authorized limits, to a candidate committee;

(18) In the case of any political action committee, in addition to any other expenditure authorized by this chapter, contributions to a political party within the limits set forth in § 8011 of this title.

59 Del. Laws, c. 580, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 1.;

When you close out a campaign account it is perfectly legal to donate the remaining balance to charity:

§ 8022. Leftover funds.

 Any funds remaining in any political committee which has completed its activities and paid all its creditors shall be paid to a successor committee or committees without being subject to the contribution limits set forth in this chapter or shall be donated to any religious, charitable, educational or scientific organization exempt from Delaware income tax under § 1902(b)(2) of Title 30 or to any volunteer fire company, and to no other person, except that an amount not in excess of the amount listed in § 8011 of this title may be given to the political party eligible to be listed on any general election ballot under § 3001 of this title. For purposes of this section, the term “successor committee” shall include any political committee, or committees, as that term is defined by § 8002(13) of this title; provided, however, that where the successor committee is one other than a candidate committee formed to promote the election of the same candidate to a different office than that for which the candidate’s original candidate committee was formed, the contribution limits set forth in this chapter shall apply.

67 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 1.;


From WDEL.com:

VIDEO: Candidate: Campaign $$$ for charity
By: Mellany Armstrong

A candidate for Congress says he wants all political candidates to start a new tradition with their campaign contributions.

Scott Spencer, a Democrat from Wilmington who’s running for the seat being vacated by Congressman Mike Castle, is calling on candidates to set aside 10 percent of their campaign fundraising to support a charity.Video Here

Spencer says he came up with the idea after seeing the need as he campaigned around the state.

Spencer has chosen the Food Bank of Delaware as the recipient of his donation. The Food Bank does not endorse political candidates. Spencer says non-presidential campaigns raised more than $2 billion in 2008. In addition to getting money under his proposal, he says charities would get more exposure. Spencer’s Democratic opponent, John Carney, and declared Republican candidate Fred Cullis, have not returned phone calls seeking comment.

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