Sen. Brownback says he wants to crusade against pornography. But a 2005 report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington pointed out that Brownback gets campaign contributions from porn profiteers. From the report:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) accepted $17,000 in contributions from corporations and executives who profit from pornography. As chair of the Senate Commerce Committee's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee, Sen. Brownback held a hearing on pornography addiction in November, 2004. After hearing testimony from experts about how porn affects the brain, Sen. Brownback said, "[i]t is the crack cocaine of sexual addiction" and "its pervasiveness affects our families." In early 2005, Sen. Brownback praised U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales when he announced he would appeal the dismissal of federal criminal indictments against a California pornography producer, stating "[t]he Justice Department's decision indicates a renewed effort to go against purveyors of pornography, whose products are so damaging to our culture, our families, and our nation."
Sam Brownback is trying to be the moral candidate in the race, but it doesn't look too good that he took thousands in dirty cash from crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In fact, Brownback was one of the top twelve recipients of Abramoff's largess. Reported the Wichita Eagle on 1/6/2006:
Sen. Sam Brownback received $44,500 in campaign contributions linked to the disgraced Washington lobbyist, according to federal records. Abramoff this week pleaded guilty in two federal fraud cases, one of which involved conspiracy to bribe members of Congress.
Brownback is among the top dozen recipients of donations from Abramoff, his partners and the tribes he represented. . . .
. . .
Brownback met Abramoff once at a breakfast, said Brian Hart, Brownback's chief spokesman. The two never met formally, nor was Brownback directly involved with any tribes Abramoff represented, he said.
Hart said it's not clear why Brownback got more money than most lawmakers. Of the $44,500 Brownback received, $43,000 came from four tribes. Tribal representatives have said Abramoff suggested donation amounts, but "Senator Brownback was never asked to do anything for or anything by Mr. Abramoff, his colleagues or his clients," Hart said.
Janet Neff incident
In a particularly startling abuse of senatorial power, Sam Brownback actually put a hold on the nomination of a federal judge because she presided at a same-sex commitment ceremony. The National Journal summed up the story on 10/6/2006:
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is holding up a Michigan judge's nomination to the federal bench because she reportedly helped lead a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple in Massachusetts four years ago, the Associated Press reported. Brownback, an opponent of gay marriage who has presidential aspirations, said today he wants to know whether there was anything illegal or improper about the ceremony. . . . Brownback said Republican activists in Michigan expressed concerns about Neff after seeing her name in a September 2002 New York Times "Weddings/Celebrations" announcement.
Brownback was forced to back down after even conservatives derided his position. The editorial page of the Waterloo Courier in Iowa put it well: "The assumption that a jurist should be denied approval because of an innocent personal friendship is disconcerting; for a legislator to impose restrictions on what cases that jurist could hear raises questions whether Brownback understands the separation of powers."
"Miserable" on Illegal Immigration
Brownback is hoping to capture the right wing of his party, positioning himself as the conservative's conservative. But he gets low marks from conservatives on what many of them see as the biggest issue around: immigration. NewsMax.com had the story on 3/2/206:
Illegal immigration crusader Rep. Tom Tancredo is blasting 2008 presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback for having what he charged was a "miserable record" on illegal immigration.
In quotes picked up by Knight Ridder on Tuesday, the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus ripped the Kansas Republican as "an extreme opponent of getting tough on illegal immigration."
Adding fuel to the fire, a Tancredo spokesman later blasted Brownback as someone who is "as left as they come on this issue."
Tancredo's ire was raised by Brownback's support for the Kennedy-McCain immigration reform bill, which would grant illegals defacto amnesty and allow them to earn citizenship in a few short years.