UPDATED: Controversial Connolly ad hits Fimian for alleged bonus plan
Update 7:01 p.m.
A fuller version of the video clip of Fimian at George Mason University, which was viewed by Virginia Politics but is not available to post, makes it unclear whether his comment about congressional bonuses was really a "quip," as his campaign contends. Fimian does not smile or laugh during his statement, nor does anyone in the audience. Here's a fuller quote from his appearance:
Stop spending. I don't care what you've gotta do -- stop spending. You're not spending your money, okay, you're not spending my kids' money. You're spending my grandkids' money. So stop your spending. And look - I'm okay with this: Cut my salary in Congress to 50,000 bucks, 'till I balance the budget. But when I balance the budget, I want a $250,000 bonus. If every congressman had that incentive, what do you think would happen? What gets incented gets done. Let's change the paradigm. Let's break through the mess.
The Northern Virginia airwaves are getting more crowded -- and more controversial.
Rep. Gerald Connolly's (D) reelection campaign is up with a negative spot accusing his opponent, Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R), of advancing an odd new bonus system for members of Congress:
The ad opens with a clip of Fimian appearing at George Mason University in September, standing at a chalkboard saying: "Cut my salary in Congress 50,000 bucks, 'till I balance the budget. When I balance the budget, I want a $250,000 bonus."
Then the narrator takes over: "Keith Fimian's plan to balance the budget? Give himself and Congress a bonus, costing taxpayers $133 million. ... Gerry Connolly doesn't believe Congress should get a bonus for doing its job. He voted against congressional pay raises and said no to tax increases."
Does Fimian actually advocate such a bonus scheme? His campaign says the idea is ridiculous.
"It was a quip about how a businessman might go about providing an incentive for members of Congress to balance the budget," said Fimian campaign manager Tim Edson, adding that Fimian does advocate cutting lawmakers' pay until the budget is balanced but does not support bonuses.
Edson also fired back at Connolly, noting that the Democrat supported pay increases for himself when he was on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and voted for a federal budget with a huge deficit.
The blogosphere is divided over the ad. The liberal site Blue Virginia posted the spot approvingly, writing "I'm sure this idea will go over really well with voters in the 11th CD. Not." But another liberal blog, Not Larry Sabato, linked to it under the simple headline, "One of The Stupidist [sic] Political Ads I Have Ever Seen."
| October 7, 2010; 3:40 PM ET
Categories: Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian
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