STAR-BULLETIN / APRIL 2006
U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case, shown at a special session of the Legislature, recently have clashed over the content of Akaka's campaign ads.
Case alleges Akaka distorted vote record
The U.S. representative takes issue with statements regarding environmental support
U.S. Rep. Ed Case is accusing U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka of purposefully misrepresenting his voting record in a series of campaign statements and ads.
Case, in an interview in Honolulu last week, said Akaka is attacking his voting record on environmental issues "to distract the voters to show strength in areas where he is weak."
In campaign material, Akaka said: "Case has suspect record on renewable energy ... opposes Democrat attempts to limit the petroleum reserve, opposes office of environmental justice and votes to slash energy and environmental programs."
In response, Case pointed to a major piece of energy legislation that he voted against and Akaka supported.
Case said he considered the Bush national energy policy bill to be "the single most important energy vote in probably 25 years."
Said Dan Akaka campaign manager Andy Winer about an Ed Case vote: "It is inconceivable that someone who espouses moderation and a moderate position would think it is a good idea to eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcast."
Said Case: "(Akaka) voted for (the Bush national energy policy bill) and I voted against it. The vote 'yes' was for big oil, pro-fossil fuel-anti-renewable energy, anti-reasonable energy policy."
"He voted for it and I voted against it," Case said. "The vote 'yes' was for big oil, pro-fossil fuel-anti-renewable energy, anti- reasonable energy policy."
Akaka was in Washington last week and unavailable for comment, but Andy Winer, Akaka's campaign manager, said by the
time the energy bill passed Congress last year, it had become a bipartisan bill and that Akaka was on the conference committee that drafted the compromises for the legislation.
The energy bill, Winer said, also added $8 million for research into hydrogen as alternative resource and extra funds for ethanol as an alternative fuel, with both appropriations to be spent in Hawaii.
Environmental organizations that rate congressional votes give Case a slightly higher rating, according to a comparison tallied by the nonpartisan Vote-Smart.org.
For instance, the League of Conservation Voters says Case voted for legislation it favors 89 percent of the time, while Akaka has a score of 75.
The American Wilderness Coalition gave Case 100 percent, while Akaka got 50 percent.
Akaka's radio ads also attack Case for his vote on the Hensarling-Republican Study Committee substitute budget resolution, saying that if adopted it would have cut funding to federal programs ranging from public television to family and the Legal Services Corporation.
"The Republican Study Committee is a coalition of the conservative religious right ... and that vote was an endorsement of what is extreme right-wing budgetary thinking," Winer said.
The resolution called for cutting spending and forcing limits or caps on spending increases and required Congress to vote on specific budget increases.
"This is a perfect example of how a bill can have good provisions and not so good provisions," Case said. "But you still have to vote on it, either up or down."
In his four years in Congress, Case said he has become convinced that the federal government is spending too much and not putting in place ways to hold back spending increases. The Hensarling resolution afforded him a chance to vote for budget cuts.
"There were about 10 reforms that I believe are absolutely indispensable and that I have previously introduced with fellow Democrats, but we couldn't get a vote on them," Case said.
So Case voted for the resolution, which eventually failed, even though he was the only Democrat in Congress to do so.
"I decided I was going to make a statement and I am going to say, 'We need to go in a different direction,'" he said. "When budget reform is offered, I am going to support it.
"I knew I was exposed when I took the vote."
Case added that he knew the bill would not pass and that if the measure had a real chance of becoming law "with those incredible cuts ... I don't know what I would have done."
Speaking for Akaka, Winer said Case's vote "was an eye-opener."
"It is inconceivable that someone who espouses moderation and a moderate position would think it is a good idea to eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcast -- there is no explanation for that sort of tradeoff," Winer said.
Case, however, says that Akaka is pulling portions of his votes out of context, noting that interest groups such as the Arts in America Action Fund rated him at 96 percent support for issues such as support of public broadcasting.
In response to the Akaka commercial, Case said: "If Sen. Akaka is going to pick on this one, I am going to say that Sen. Akaka doesn't support budgetary reform.
"My answer is Sen. Akaka does not support the reforms necessary to truly advance a balanced budget."
In response, Winer said that members of Congress must look at bills with many different sections and "understand you have to say what are the important things."
"It is fair game for discussion. ... I don't think there is a problem with pointing out votes as long as you point out all the things that are in it," Winer said.