HA Exclusive: Leaked audio reveals how Reichert cynically takes environmentalists “out of the game”

Rep. Dave Reichert’s “conscience-driven independent streak” was on display once again last week in a closed-door meeting with 8th Congressional District Republican PCO’s, where the three-term congressman attempted to defend the strategy behind his handful of pro-environmental votes. But before speaking frankly, he had to make sure that he was amongst friends:

Now, first of all, are there any reporters in the room? Does anybody recognize … are there any people in here that you recognize as strangers? So we know that all of us in here are family, right?

Well, apparently not, hence the leak of this secretly recorded audio from the meeting, which I now provide to you, totally unedited:

Aren’t full-featured smart phones wonderful?

Rep. Reichert goes on to explain the “certain moves, chess pieces, strategies” he must employ to hold his “50/50 district,” even if it means breaking with his party, and his conscience, to occasionally cast a vote in favor of the environment.

Uh, I just wanted to be honest with you. You know Jennifer Dunn was an environmentalist, uh, in her votes, too. Uh, she was also pro-choice. I don’t know if most of you remember that now. But, but, if you want to hold on to this district, there are certain, there are certain things that you must, uh, do. This is a 50/50 district.

Notice how Reichert distinguishes between being an environmentalist, and being an environmentalist in one’s votes. That’s kinda the whole theme here.

Now if you look at Senator Brown’s race, uh, he took, in order for him to win that race in Massachusetts, it took 60 percent of the independent votes to win. Now you may not get, if you watch Senator Brown’s votes now over the next six years you might say, “What the heck… why did we vote for him?” you know, Massachusetts people. But he’s going to be maybe 70/30, maybe he’s going to be an 80/20, but at least you don’t have a 99 percent/one. You know 99 D, one percent R. Uh, you have a 70/30, 80/20. You have got to pick your battles.

Hear that? You gotta pick your battles. And while Reichert loves to regale his audiences with tales of being shot at, and staring the Green River Killer straight in the eyes (indeed, at almost six and a half minutes, this may be the longest I’ve ever heard Reichert go without mentioning his stint as sheriff), hell if he’s gonna take on those scary, hemp-wearing, granola-crunching, tree-hugging environmentalists.

Uh, if you look at the Pombo race in California – all of you remember Mr. Pombo? – he was a 20 percent. He had 20 percent victory in California. He was a huge roadblock to the environmentalists. They came in – was it two years ago we lost? – two or four years ago he lost. The environmental groups came in with millions of dollars and flipped that 20 percent, 20 points, they flipped that district. He lost.

And Reichert…?

I only have two to three percent to play with, every two years, and I have to raise three to four million dollars to stay in, to do it. I am a 90/10. 90 to 10, if you look at my votes. All the TARP votes are no, all the stimulus package votes are no, the health care I’ve been no all three times.

Let’s be clear: Reichert is no environmental leader, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be perceived as one, at least not behind closed Republican doors. He votes 90% with his Republican leadership, and that other 10%…? Well, that’s just what he needs to do in order to keep those big, bad environmentalists from kneecapping him the same way they did poor Rep. Pombo.

Wild Sky was a done deal. It was already in its process. It had been worked on for eight years before I even came to Congress. Jennifer Dunn endorsed Wild Sky, and I followed in her footsteps per her advice.

[…] So, uh, you know, it, it, it, was it was a good vote. It was a good move on my part to do that.  … Because I’ve only, I’ve, supported Wild Sky, I’ve supported Alpine Lakes, because of the reasons that I just laid out to you. They are – what I’ve done is taken out I’ve taken them out of the game in this district. They’re out.

Hear that, Washington Conservation Voters and other environmental groups? Reichert has taken you “out of the game” in his district. You’re out.  So… how’s it feel to be played by Dave Reichert?

And it’s not like we all didn’t have a heads up, for this isn’t the first time Reichert has publicly said a little more than he probably should’ve about his brand of pragmatic politics… for example this 2006 speech before the Mainstream Republicans in which he insists on detailing the obvious:

And so when the leadership comes to me and says, “Dave we need you to take a vote over here, because we want to protect you and keep this majority,” I do it.

Of course, less surprising than Reichert’s repeated admission that he blatantly panders to environmentalists in order to maintain his 90% Republican voting record in his 50/50 district, is that the Seattle Times rewarded him for it by outrageously lauding him as a “conscience-driven independent.”

How embarrassing. And not just for the Times. For while environmental leaders may feel like they’ve scored a strategic victory by strong-arming Reichert into compliance, their narrow focus on their own legislative agenda ends up hurting the broader agenda of the progressive community as a whole. WA-08 is a 50/50 district with a congressman who votes 90/10, at least partially because environmental groups have failed to hold Reichert responsible for his hypocrisy.

Were he representing a more conservative district, that might be acceptable, but we could do much better than that in WA-08… if only environmental voters in his district would take Reichert at his word, rather than his vote.

Comments

  1. 1

    Zotz spews:

    WOW! Well done, Goldy!

    Couldn’t agree more about our local enviros, and I am one. In their defense, I have observed that there are a lot of older “good” Rs that fund the larger orgs (who always struggle financially) and they walk a tight rope…

    Hope this bombshell gets lots of eyeballs.

    Again, way to go!

  2. 2

    Dr. Dre spews:

    eh…..Reichert just proves he is like every other politician….just a bunch of whores trying to stay in power…

  3. 3

    rat fink spews:

    What?!?! A Politician is playing politics. Shocking!!!

    This is the best you have? I mean it’s not like he lied about being in Vietnam or majoring in Economics.

    If anything, this just goes to show how dim Marcy Burner was/is.

  4. 5

    proud leftist spews:

    What a coup. Who would have thunk it, DimDavey has no principles? All he cares about is getting elected so that he can follow the directions of John Boehner. You folks in the 8th sure have some fine representation there.

  5. 6

    spews:

    I don’t know. One of those 50 percents regards Dave as a favorite son of sorts and the rest are at least partially related by blood to the first.

    So that appears to be enough to put Dim Dave over the top every time.

    It’d be nice if this tape has legs but I sense it won’t faze all that many in the 8th.

  6. 9

    YellowPup spews:

    @2-3: Politics is only politics when it’s your guy, I guess. Yet, the ST and its ilk take all these environmental votes at face value.

    BTW, Reichert is franking again. I got two Reichert campaign mailings recently, paid for by US taxpayers.

  7. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    You would think, at this point, that Reichart would know better than to presume that his words weren’t being recorded. He’s relying on the audience to point out any reporters? And he doesn’t even consider that there’s probably quite a few people in the audience who aren’t reporters, but might be a source for one?

    It’s nice to get another inside into the world of eastside Republicanism, where they talk among themself about how good it feels to do as little as humanly possible for the environment, and apologize for the little that they are compelled to do.

  8. 11

    Michael spews:

    LOL…

    Like someone was going to pop and say, “don’t say anything that might embarrassing, I’m doing opposition research here.”

    What a git.

  9. 12

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Nice grab Goldy, but the headline…

    How about this…

    Local Sack of Shit Lying Republican, Reichert, Caught On Audio

    What do our teabagging friends in WA 8th Congressional think about this revelation?

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Gee whiz … Rubberstamp Reichert is a cynical, calculating, manipulative politician who votes the poll numbers, not his conscience, just like all the rest of ‘em … who wudda thunk?!

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 “I mean it’s not like he lied about being in Vietnam”

    Like Dan Quayle did. Quayle, who served in a stateside National Guard journalism unit, sported a “Vietnam Veteran” bumper sticker on his briefcase until a group of real veterans made him take it off.

    “or majoring in Economics”

    Which refers to who? Not Darcy Burner, who has a degree in economics in Harvard. A Harvard dean said so, and he’s more of an authority on Harvard degrees than you are.

    Show me a wingnut and I’ll show you someone who’s full of shit.

  12. 16

    spews:

    What do our teabagging friends in WA 8th Congressional think about this revelation?

    NOTHING. It means nothing to them. Dave votes against Obama and the Dems (90 percent even) – teabaggers LOVE Dave.

  13. 17

    J. Whorfin spews:

    An elected representative voting for items just to get votes? Uh, where have you been for the last 200+ years?

    Again, you can hammer Reichert all day long, but it won’t make a whit of difference if the Democrats field weak candidates, which they have done in this district. Given the elections of 2006 & 2008, the Democrats should have easily won the 8th. Apologies to the Burner fans out there, but facts are facts.

  14. 18

    spews:

    Roger – hope you’re doing well. Good to see you back.

    There’s a lot of bigoted, ignorant, insane wingnut ass to kick.

  15. 21

    correctnotright spews:

    Tea party, Tea baggers – there is no difference. They are ignorant fools and racists.

    And Reichert is a liar. A flat-out liar. He votes moderate on a couple of issues and the Seattle Times proclaims him to be an environmentalist and moderate.

    They are willing fools to the lying Reichert. Here was Reichert actually speaking honestly and admitting he lies to the people in his district in order to be elected.

    He should resign now.

  16. 23

    spews:

    $18

    In Hebrew the charcters for 18 also spell “Hai” ..Life. We give gifts of $18 to celebrate lives … sort of like say “long live the ____” or “Viva –”

    So, in honor of this very cool new, BRS and I just donated $18 to HA.


    Long Live Goldy!

  17. 25

    righton spews:

    He’s a bit liberal for my tastes (not at all a fiscal conservative) but given the #1 objective should be to block Obamanism…he’s just fine.

    We just need a Dixie Lee Ray or Scott Brown to fire up the independent streak here

  18. 27

    proud leftist spews:

    righton
    Dixie Lee Ray? Seriously? Tell me exactly what she accomplished as governor of this state. She was a disaster. She wore a D behind her name, but she was just . . . Dixie. John Spellman, who wore an R after his name, was better than Dixie. Do you know how much it pains me to say that?

  19. 28

    righton spews:

    yeah, but she was human; not some droid politician; unafraid to say whatever she wanted to. man i wish we had more of those. now all we have are people more afraid of losing their cushy gig than doing the hard jobs.

    so we end up w/ insane deficits, fed, and local because pols are too wimpy to do their jobs. if you want trillion dollar spend (or whatever it is) tax to pay for it, get us all to revolt, then drop the spending dwon. this deficit stuff is the tool of the wimps

  20. 31

    rhp6033 spews:

    I saw some footage of Dixy Lee Ray this past week, in connection with the anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. She was making some unfortunate comments to the effect that she was looking forward to some lava flow. I’m sure she regretted those comments after the big bang.

    There was lots of litigation between homeowners and their insurance companies (and between insurance companies themselves) after Mt. St. Helens. Something about whether a lahar (the thick liquidy combination of ash and mud which came sweeping down the mountains) was “flood” or “earth movement”. Given the consistency of that goo, a case could be made in either direction. Like they said about the Mississippi River: “To thick to drink, too thin to plow”.

  21. 33

    Dr. Dre spews:

    I need some help here(since we are talking about slimy politicians and lying)…

    I never got a chance to watch those health care debates on CSPAN…did anybody TIVO them?

    anyone? anyone? Bueller?

  22. 37

    spews:

    Oh, wow, what a scoop! Heard this already. Not news. Would you have said anything if Adam Smith, Rick Larsen or McDermidiot did something similar on an issue that lefties cared about but they voted against? Very doubtful. We all know Reichert is a pretty empty suit but what is even more hilarious are the microsoftie females the Dems keep tossing at him. Had you not screwed Alex Alben for Dave Ross a few years back, the Dems would have that seat. Karma’s a bitch, ain’ it?

  23. 38

    PugetSound spews:

    Isn’t there a law in this state about taping people without their knowledge or consent?

    Or, does it boil down to a public forum vs a private conversation like a phone call?

    Not sure, just asking.

    PS

  24. 39

    Dr. Dre spews:

    @38…maybe we can ask Baghdad Jim McDermott that question…he seems to be the expert at taping conversations and phone calls…

    Jim’s another crook who should be rotting in federal prison..

  25. 40

    spews:

    I guess “horse’s ass” must refer to the posters here. Looks like HuffPost rejects. Bunch of “Stranger” patrons. Hilarious.

    I thought you all moved to Canada after the 2004 presidential election?

  26. 41

    spews:

    Puget Sound @38,

    Yes, apparently there is a state law against recording a private conversation without permission: RCW 9.73.030. Whether this legally qualifies as either “private” or a “conversation,” I don’t know.

    Rep. Reichert is free to press charges if he thinks he’s been wronged. I understand he knows some folks in law enforcement who could probably help him out. That said, I would refuse to reveal my source, as is my obligation as a journalist.

  27. 42

    proud leftist spews:

    38 and 41
    Our state’s law against recording private conversations,

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/def.....e=9.73.030,

    as Goldy cites, is quite onerous. You can’t record your own conversation with, say, a spouse with whom you’re having a child custody battle in this state without either his or her permission or judicial warrant. It is a misdemeanor to do so. I think that is a good thing; other states don’t draw the same line. There is no way that the statute would apply to someone recording a Congress Critter’s talk to a group of constituents. Not a chance.

  28. 43

    cwolf spews:

    From his appearance, I’d he spends more time at the hairdresser’s than attending to the people’s affairs.