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Campaign News

Dec. 29, 2019

Ami Bera’s 10 Worst Political Moves of Decade

In California’s 7th Congressional District, the last decade has been all Rep. Ami Bera. He first ran in 2010 and is now in his 4th sleepy term in Congress. With any luck, 2020 will mark Bera’s last campaign, and our now solidly Democratic district can replace him with a principled, true blue Democrat like Jeff Burdick who is interested in actively representing us – and only us.

In the spirit of those popular end-of-the-decade lists, we give this nostalgic look back at Bera’s 10 worst political moves of the 2010s. (And click here for the 10 Exciting Facts about Burdick for Congress.

  1. Father’s 2016 campaign conviction. If Ami Bera is the Poster Child for the need for campaign finance reform, then his father was the Wanted Poster. In 2010 and 2012, Ami’s father illegally laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars through friends and family to his son’s campaigns. Ami claimed ignorance and went to Congress, and his 83-year-old father went to jail.

  2. Taking nearly $50,000 in opioid donations. At the height of a half million Americans dying in the last decade from opioids, did Bera stand by and do nothing? No, he did worse. In 2016, he voted for a bill that kneecapped DEA enforcement power over Big Pharma. He’s also taken nearly $50,000 from the largest makers and distributors of opioids in the nation – each of whom Sacramento County has sued.

  3. Nearly blowing the 2016 election to Sheriff Jones. This was a Battle of Ethically Tarnished Titans for the ages. Though Hillary Clinton won Bera’s now solidly Democratic district by an 11-point landslide over Donald Trump, Bera limped to a 2½-point win over Scott Jones. Thus, Republicans only had a chance to win the district because of Bera. 

  4. Opposing Obamacare and staying safest Democratic vote against universal healthcare. As Bera proudly reminds most of his town halls, he opposed Obamacare. Since 2014, he’s also taken more than $1 million from Big Pharma, Big insurance and the corporatized medical industry. In return, he claims to support a “pathway” to universal coverage but opposes most efforts to go down that path, including Medicare for All. His belief: free markets are the best way to manage corporate monopolies and to ration healthcare to Americans.

  5. 2015 vote against Syrian refugees (and later blaming the Obama Administration). In 2015, Bera sided with GOP terrorist fear-mongering to block resettlement of war refugees. Adding to this Portrait in Lack of Courage, Bera later told a 2019 Florin town hall he regrets this vote, but blamed an Obama staffer for mischaracterizing the 400-word bill to him.

  6. Raising 80% of his nearly $20 million in career donations from outside the district. Nothing says “drown out the voice of your constituents” better than selling off access and influence to a flood of rich outside donors, corporations and special interests. In his career, Bera has even raised more from Chicago ($292,000) than Yolo County ($287,000). 

  7. 2019 vote for GOP’s southern border detention bill (and blaming Nancy Pelosi). Have you noticed a pattern of Bera blaming others for his bad moves? He did it again when conservative Democrats in the Problem Solvers Coalition that he co-founded backed the GOP version of a bill that lacked strong accountability and oversight of the deplorable conditions in Trump’s detention camps. But a month later at a Gold River town hall, the good doctor ducked responsibility by at first blaming Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  8. Green New Deal double talk. Despite the world and California being on fire from climate change, Bera confounded most of his 2019 town halls by regularly saying, “I support the aspirations of the Green New Deal, but because it’s only an aspirational document, I cannot endorse it.” As vice-chair of the House Space, Science & Technology Subcommittee, Bera also undermined his talk of climate urgency by never introducing a single climate-related bill.

  9. Flip-flopping on impeachment. For most 2019, Bera preached to his constituents the need to prioritize political calculation (Democrats might lose at the ballot box) over taking a stand for bedrock Constitutional principles. He also rationalized that impeachment made no sense if GOP Senators would not vote to remove. He would later ignore all his own preaching and vote for impeachment, again leaving his underlying principles foggy.

  10. Refunding 2010 Muslim donation. Bera sat for a second Portrait in Lack of Courage when he caved – not for the last time – to Republican terrorist fear-mongering and returned a donation from a local Muslim rights advocate. Without flinching, Bera takes donations from opioid makers and distributors, PG&E, Wall Street, Big Pharma and the health insurance industry, but this was the only donation he saw fit to publicly return.

  11. Caught plagiarizing special-interest talking points. I know. I promised just 10, but couldn’t pick what to leave off. In 2015, Bera not only betrayed his local Labor supporters by voting for fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but did so in a newspaper opinion piece laced with passages “borrowed” (i.e., plagiarized) from pro-business lobbyists. Bera paradoxically would say, “I take full responsibility for this oversight and will be dealing with the responsible staff internally.” In other words, blame others.

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