Archive for the ‘Gus Bilirakis’ Category

Yesterday the U.S. House voted to abolish public financing for presidential campaigns.

Democrat Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) proposed an amendment to the bill saying “it would have safeguarded our security funds for local law enforcement.” She was referring to the security budget for the upcoming 2012 Republican convention in her city, Tampa, Florida. She went on to say:

“I’m waving some red flags here with the help of my hometown to say this is expensive and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to have it covered,” she told the Buzz. “We’re not going to have the local taxpayers foot that bill.”

Well, her amendment was quickly killed, the voting commenced, and abolished public financing.

Voting in favor of the bill was Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL). Well, later in the day, the following details came out concerning Rep. Bilirakis:

A spokesman for Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, notes that the lawmaker has been working with the governor’s office to get the convention designated as a National Special Security Event and obtain federal funding that way.

“Rep. Bilirakis is acutely aware of the security needs of the upcoming political conventions, especially in the aftermath of the Rep. (Gabrielle) Giffords shooting,” Creighton Welch said.

So Rep. Bilirakis gets to vote “against the cake” but eat it too.

Sounds like a big old slice of hypocrisy to me. But then Rep. Bilirakis is an old pro in that department. Just check his Twitter feed sometime for starters.


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Yesterday in the U. S. House, 234 members voted in favor of tax cuts for the middle class only, while 188 voted against middle class tax cuts because they didn’t include those with incomes of $250,000 or more.

Below is the breakdown of votes:


Democrats who voted against (Florida members in bold):


Rep. Brian Baird [D, WA-3]

Rep. Dan Boren [D, OK-2]

Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper [D, PA-3]

Rep. Artur Davis [D, AL-7]

Rep. Lloyd Doggett [D, TX-25]

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin [D, SD-0]

Rep. Ron Klein [D, FL-22]

Rep. Jim Matheson [D, UT-2]

Rep. Mike McIntyre [D, NC-7]

Rep. Michael McMahon [D, NY-13]

Rep. Jerry McNerney [D, CA-11]

Rep. Walter Minnick [D, ID-1]

Rep. Gwen Moore [D, WI-4]

Rep. James Moran [D, VA-8]

Rep. Collin Peterson [D, MN-7]

Rep. Earl Pomeroy [D, ND-0]

Rep. Robert Scott [D, VA-3]

Rep. Gene Taylor [D, MS-4]

Rep. Michael Thompson [D, CA-1]

Rep. Peter Visclosky [D, IN-1]

Republicans who voted against (Florida in bold):

Rep. Robert Aderholt [R, AL-4]

Rep. Todd Akin [R, MO-2]

Rep. Rodney Alexander [R, LA-5]

Rep. Steve Austria [R, OH-7]

Rep. Spencer Bachus [R, AL-6]

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6]

Rep. Joe Barton [R, TX-6]

Rep. Judy Biggert [R, IL-13]

Rep. Brian Bilbray [R, CA-50]

Rep. Gus Bilirakis [R, FL-9]

Rep. Rob Bishop [R, UT-1]

Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R, TN-7]

Rep. Roy Blunt [R, MO-7]

Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8]

Rep. Jo Bonner [R, AL-1]

Rep. Mary Bono Mack [R, CA-45]

Rep. John Boozman [R, AR-3]

Rep. Charles Boustany [R, LA-7]

Rep. Kevin Brady [R, TX-8]

Rep. Paul Broun [R, GA-10]

Rep. Henry Brown [R, SC-1]

Rep. Vern Buchanan [R, FL-13]

Rep. Michael Burgess [R, TX-26]

Rep. Dan Burton [R, IN-5]

Rep. Ken Calvert [R, CA-44]

Rep. David Camp [R, MI-4]

Rep. John Campbell [R, CA-48]

Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7]

Rep. Anh Cao [R, LA-2]

Rep. Shelley Capito [R, WV-2]

Rep. John Carter [R, TX-31]

Rep. Bill Cassidy [R, LA-6]

Rep. Michael Castle [R, DE-0]

Rep. Jason Chaffetz [R, UT-3]

Rep. Howard Coble [R, NC-6]

Rep. Mike Coffman [R, CO-6]

Rep. Tom Cole [R, OK-4]

Rep. Michael Conaway [R, TX-11]

Rep. Ander Crenshaw [R, FL-4]

Rep. John Culberson [R, TX-7]

Rep. Geoff Davis [R, KY-4]

Rep. Charles Dent [R, PA-15]

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart [R, FL-21]

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart [R, FL-25]

Rep. Charles Djou [R, HI-1]

Rep. David Dreier [R, CA-26]

Rep. Vernon Ehlers [R, MI-3]

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson [R, MO-8]

Rep. Jeff Flake [R, AZ-6]

Rep. John Fleming [R, LA-4]

Rep. Randy Forbes [R, VA-4]

Rep. Jeffrey Fortenberry [R, NE-1]

Rep. Virginia Foxx [R, NC-5]

Rep. Trent Franks [R, AZ-2]

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R, NJ-11]

Rep. Elton Gallegly [R, CA-24]

Rep. Scott Garrett [R, NJ-5]

Rep. Jim Gerlach [R, PA-6]

Rep. John Gingrey [R, GA-11]

Rep. Louis Gohmert [R, TX-1]

Rep. Robert Goodlatte [R, VA-6]

Rep. Kay Granger [R, TX-12]

Rep. Samuel Graves [R, MO-6]

Rep. Tom Graves [R, GA-9]

Rep. Parker Griffith [R, AL-5]

Rep. Brett Guthrie [R, KY-2]

Rep. Ralph Hall [R, TX-4]

Rep. Gregg Harper [R, MS-3]

Rep. Doc Hastings [R, WA-4]

Rep. Dean Heller [R, NV-2]

Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R, TX-5]

Rep. Walter Herger [R, CA-2]

Rep. Peter Hoekstra [R, MI-2]

Rep. Duncan Hunter [R, CA-52]

Rep. Bob Inglis [R, SC-4]

Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49]

Rep. Lynn Jenkins [R, KS-2]

Rep. Samuel Johnson [R, TX-3]

Rep. Timothy Johnson [R, IL-15]

Rep. Jim Jordan [R, OH-4]

Rep. Steve King [R, IA-5]

Rep. Peter King [R, NY-3]

Rep. Jack Kingston [R, GA-1]

Rep. John Kline [R, MN-2]

Rep. Doug Lamborn [R, CO-5]

Rep. Leonard Lance [R, NJ-7]

Rep. Thomas Latham [R, IA-4]

Rep. Steven LaTourette [R, OH-14]

Rep. Robert Latta [R, OH-5]

Rep. Christopher Lee [R, NY-26]

Rep. Jerry Lewis [R, CA-41]

Rep. John Linder [R, GA-7]

Rep. Frank LoBiondo [R, NJ-2]

Rep. Frank Lucas [R, OK-3]

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer [R, MO-9]

Rep. Cynthia Lummis [R, WY-0]

Rep. Daniel Lungren [R, CA-3]

Rep. Connie Mack [R, FL-14]

Rep. Donald Manzullo [R, IL-16]

Rep. Kevin McCarthy [R, CA-22]

Rep. Michael McCaul [R, TX-10]

Rep. Tom McClintock [R, CA-4]

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [R, MI-11]

Rep. Patrick McHenry [R, NC-10]

Rep. Howard McKeon [R, CA-25]

Rep. John Mica [R, FL-7]

Rep. Jeff Miller [R, FL-1]

Rep. Candice Miller [R, MI-10]

Rep. Gary Miller [R, CA-42]

Rep. Jerry Moran [R, KS-1]

Rep. Tim Murphy [R, PA-18]

Rep. Sue Myrick [R, NC-9]

Rep. Randy Neugebauer [R, TX-19]

Rep. Devin Nunes [R, CA-21]

Rep. Pete Olson [R, TX-22]

Rep. Erik Paulsen [R, MN-3]

Rep. Mike Pence [R, IN-6]

Rep. Thomas Petri [R, WI-6]

Rep. Joseph Pitts [R, PA-16]

Rep. Todd Platts [R, PA-19]

Rep. Ted Poe [R, TX-2]

Rep. Bill Posey [R, FL-15]

Rep. Tom Price [R, GA-6]

Rep. George Radanovich [R, CA-19]

Rep. Tom Reed [R, NY-29]

Rep. Dennis Rehberg [R, MT-0]

Rep. Dave Reichert [R, WA-8]

Rep. Phil Roe [R, TN-1]

Rep. Michael Rogers [R, AL-3]

Rep. Michael Rogers [R, MI-8]

Rep. Harold Rogers [R, KY-5]

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46]

Rep. Thomas Rooney [R, FL-16]

Rep. Peter Roskam [R, IL-6]

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-18]

Rep. Edward Royce [R, CA-40]

Rep. Paul Ryan [R, WI-1]

Rep. Steve Scalise [R, LA-1]

Rep. Jean Schmidt [R, OH-2]

Rep. Aaron Schock [R, IL-18]

Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]

Rep. Peter Sessions [R, TX-32]

Rep. John Shadegg [R, AZ-3]

Rep. John Shimkus [R, IL-19]

Rep. William Shuster [R, PA-9]

Rep. Michael Simpson [R, ID-2]

Rep. Adrian Smith [R, NE-3]

Rep. Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]

Rep. Christopher Smith [R, NJ-4]

Rep. Clifford Stearns [R, FL-6]

Rep. Marlin Stutzman [R, IN-3]

Rep. John Sullivan [R, OK-1]

Rep. Lee Terry [R, NE-2]

Rep. Glenn Thompson [R, PA-5]

Rep. William Thornberry [R, TX-13]

Rep. Todd Tiahrt [R, KS-4]

Rep. Patrick Tiberi [R, OH-12]

Rep. Michael Turner [R, OH-3]

Rep. Frederick Upton [R, MI-6]

Rep. Greg Walden [R, OR-2]

Rep. Zach Wamp [R, TN-3]

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland [R, GA-3]

Rep. Edward Whitfield [R, KY-1]

Rep. Addison Wilson [R, SC-2]

Rep. Rob Wittman [R, VA-1]

Rep. Frank Wolf [R, VA-10]

Rep. Donald Young [R, AK-0]

Rep. Bill Young [R, FL-10]

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More hypocrisy from the Tea Party who run on cutting government spending. The Tea Party Caucus in the 111th Congress have requested $1 billion in earmarks. From a report based on research from Citizens Against Government Waste, among those Tea Baggers are three Republican Congressmen from Florida:

  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis             $13,600,000
  • Rep. Ander Crenshaw     $54,424,000
  • Rep. Cliff Stearns               $15,472,000

As for Rep. Bilirakis, he’s been vocal about those tax cuts for the rich, which will be voted on this afternoon. He, along with other members of the party have been using misinformation to claim this is really raising taxes and killing jobs. Of course, as we all know, this is absolutely untrue. The tax cuts they want extended are for those making $250,000 or more along with those for the middle class. They won’t allow middle class tax cuts to be extended unless those for the rich are as well.

I guess “fiscal responsibility” all depends on your perspective.

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It’s increasingly evident that Republicans in Congress do little more than obstruct when they actually show up for “work” in Washington. It doesn’t take much energy, and they only seem to be able to say about three words: “NO” and “TAX CUTS.”

Basically, the GOP have a lot of time on their hands these days. The only time you hear from them is when they whine or complaint either through sound bytes on television or sending out angry Twitters about imaginary blunders they want you to believe that anyone but they are responsible for.

I saw a couple of those “bitter-Twitters” today and thought I would share them here and do a little fact check.

They came from Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Tea Bagger-FOX-GOPTV-FL). One was about something the GOP is calling “You Cut” which I guess is another gimmick like their last attempt called “America Speaking Out.” That one didn’t get very far because they ignored the memo where Americans had already spoken out when we elected President Obama.

This was something “new” I guess, where you submit ideas about where you think government spending cuts should be made. And just like “America Speaking Out” they conveniently already had the cuts outlined for you on the page to pick from.

I don’t know about you, but I would say a good “You Cut” idea would be to cut the salary of every Republican in Congress until they start actually DOING something. After all, paying them to do nothing is a good chunk of Government waste in my opinion.

Well, Bilirakis wasn’t finished complaining and he sent out another one:

So I clicked on that address in the message and it brought me to a page from GOP.gov called “Conference Call,” and was entitled the same as above. Well, those “BIG IDEAS” were three little items, a quote today from VIce President Joe Biden about the stimulus. (Sadly, not a BFD, just a big one.) Then there was “The Idea” which of course, was the stimulus. The third thing was “The Result” which was the unemployment rate.

Now sure, unemployment is bad right now, no one disputes that. But problems with unemployment began long before Obama was in office, and that’s gone into that imaginary GOP amnesia hole, and Bilirakis, like his obstructionist colleagues would love for you to believe that it’s all Obama’s doing. He wants to distract you from the facts. Well, sorry “Gus” but facts are facts. Facts like these:

Those are the numbers of jobs created in the State of Florida due to that “BIG IDEA,” the stimulus. 40,576. Of course, Bilirakis didn’t mention that part. No, Bilirakis has some “BIG IDEAS” of his own about job creation. He has them right there on his website, and I’ll bet you have a good idea how he wants to create those jobs:

“The best way to encourage economic growth is to allow American taxpayers to keep more of their own money to spend. We should be enacting fast acting tax relief which would create jobs and lower the tax burden on working families and small businesses.

Yes indeed, tax cuts. But not for working families.

Here’s another idea Bilirakis has for families, but not a big one. You see, when he had the chance to vote on the recent jobs bill that would have saved 300,000 for teachers, emergency responders and others, he voted “NO.”

Tax cuts for the rich. But when it comes to working families, saving jobs is just wasteful spending.

Those are Gus Bilirakis’ “BIG IDEAS.”

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A report from the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center shows that the United States is now ranked 12th internationally in the number of college graduates. Canada is ranked number one. We’re actually outranked by South Korea.

Florida is ranked 47th in average graduation rates for public high schools, and 32 in the estimated rate of high school graduates entering college.

Republicans in Congress, including those from Florida, apparently think those numbers are just fine. They consider passing a bill to save jobs for teachers a “bailout.” They say there’s no money and that we can’t afford to “spend, spend, spend” for things like education. Never mind that they bailed out Wall Street without batting an eye, and for good reason. Sizable contributions to the GOP from Wall Street are growing every day. But Republicans blame THAT bailout on the “people over-spending on homes they couldn’t afford,” NOT the banks. People like, oh I don’t know, maybe teachers or emergency workers who’ve lost their jobs? Maybe even you or someone you know?

One explains the Republican logic this way:

“Spending another $10 billion we do not have will not improve public education or protect the very best teachers.”

While you’re scratching your head over that one, remember Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)? He’s the guy who apologized to poor old BP when President Obama’s proposed cleanup bill got in the way of their perfectly good oil disaster that threatens Florida’s economy along with several other states. Before he voted against the bill he apologized yet again for more ungrateful victims:

“I’m sorry that we have to be here today to spend money that the taxpayers don’t have and Congress can’t afford for an economic stimulus program that doesn’t work.”

Barton and his colleagues could solve some of the problem by putting people back to work right away. They could use a little economics tutoring. Maybe hiring an acting coach while they’re at it? To pass this bill, they say we’re spending another $10 billion the taxpayer doesn’t have!

They’re lying.

They think you’ll believe all this just because they say so, loudly in front of cameras from C-Span (Watch here for some of the highlights, from Media Matters.) They think you’re stupid. They voted against you AND that bill, perhaps hoping to keep it that way: Stupid.

On Tuesday, House Democrats passed the bill that will save over 300,000 jobs for teachers and emergency workers. A bill that will bring more than $700 million to Florida to prevent cuts in Medicaid and will save 9,200 teaching jobs. A bill that is paid for by closing tax loopholes for multinational corporations. No wonder Joe Barton is so indignant!

The bill passed by a vote of 247-161 and split on party lines. Republicans from Florida naturally joined the rest of their party and voted no. Four of the Republicans didn’t even bother to show up to vote.

No to those “bailouts” for teachers and their students. The GOP now defines education as a “special interest.” Unfortunately that’s one “special interest” that just can’t compete with Wall Street.

Republicans ARE however in favor of extending those Bush tax cuts for incomes of $250,000 or more a year. The ones that add a hefty chunk to the deficit and aren’t paid for. Not to worry though. They plan to let the middle class foot the bill, problem solved! Now there’s a bailout they can get behind!

Try to see it from a Republican millionaire’s point of view: any money that comes out of his/her pocket from those tax cuts they so desperately want to keep, and instead goes to funding things like health care, police departments, fire departments, emergency first responders, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, social security before age 70, just to name a few, well that’s just simply unaffordable! Even the smallest fraction taken from the paycheck of, say a GOP House member who can’t even bother to show up and physically vote against a bill to do so. Any amount of that expired tax cut that could put a teacher back to work, a student back in school five days a week instead of four, or maybe just give us a shot of catching up to college graduates in South Korea. In a perfect GOP world money spent on education would be a terrible thing to waste!

In Florida all “yes” votes for the bill came from Democrats. All Republicans listed below voted “no” or didn’t bother to vote, period. Maybe we should be asking THEM why anyone in Florida should bother to vote for them next time around?

Voted No:

Not Voting:

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I’m beyond wondering what it’s going to take to wake up the GOP in Florida to the fact that there’s an O-I-L “S-P-I-L-L” in the Gulf. It’s been a month now, and it’s not a tough concept to grasp. If aliens decided to invade Florida say, tomorrow, as they were landing they would take one look and say “Look at those idiots! There’s an oil slick down there. Never mind, keep flying.” and they would move on.

Seriously. Look at just the most recent examples and see if you’re not banging your head against a wall when you finish reading them….Go ahead, I’ll catch up with you at the end.

First, just a couple of the news items from Today In Oil:

A Coast Guard admiral told members of Florida’s congressional delegation Wednesday that the presence of oil in the loop current will make the Deepwater Horizon spill a bigger disaster than it has been so far.

“What has been a relatively confined expansive slick will now grow exponentially,” said Rear Adm. Paul F. Zukunft.

….tar balls are likely to wash ashore somewhere in the Keys — or several somewheres — in eight to 10 days.

Charlie Crist (I-FL) has toyed around with the idea of a special session over a constitutional ban on oil drilling. How’s that going?

Gov. Charlie Crist, speaking to Sun Sentinel reporters and editors today, said he “probably” lacks the votes to pass a constitutional ban on oil drilling in the conservative Florida House, which voted in 2009 to open state waters to energy exploration.

The Florida House has 76 Republicans and 44 Democrats. It takes a three-fifths vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, which equals 74 votes in the House.

Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, has labeled a special session on drilling “a political ploy” intended to benefit Crist’s U.S. Senate campaign, and his successor, Rep. Dean Cannon of Winter Park, was pushing a bill to legalize drilling within 10 miles of the Florida coast before the spill occurred. Cannon now says a special sesison isn’t necessary because there are statutory prohibitions against drilling close to shore.

The drilling ban would have much better odds in the Senate, which is headed by drilling opponent President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach.

“I think the Senate is much more amenable to that at present than the House,” Crist said. “I think it’s important to give the people of Florida a chance to impose a ban. And that’s all the special session would do. I don’t think anybody ought to be afraid of that.”

You see? It’s all just politics. Oh Charlie, really? I don’t think our Republican controlled Legislature is afraid of giving the people of Florida the chance to impose a ban on drilling. They don’t have reason to be afraid, they’re in charge! It isn’t fear, they just don’t care!

Not that there isn’t SOME concern from the Florida GOP. There is:

Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist this afternoon with some pointed questions about the $25 million BP promised the state to spend on a national advertising campaign to promote the state’s clean beaches.

In other words: “Show me the money!”

Meanwhile, back in the denial zone, or the “I don’t pay attention to the news” bubble (whatever), we have this nugget of wisdom from another one of our “politics is the family business” institutions, who most recently hosted another GOP circus act, Michele Bachmann:

Republicans said they were not prepared to embrace calls for a ban. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, said there should be a pause and maybe the boundaries pushed farther out.

“But I think we’re going to have to drill as long as it’s safe,” he said after the meeting.

OK “Bili” here’s the thing:

1. One big problem among many that we have with this particular “spill” is that the boundaries are too far out already, and

2. From exactly which dictionary did you get your definition of the word “safe”? Pardon my pointing out the small stuff here, but IT’S NOT SAFE. REALLY. Read a paper, turn on the news (GOP-TV FOX doesn’t count, not even because you appear on it and pretend otherwise), look at the pictures!

And if that’s not enough smarts to dazzle you with, here’s some more. Because he’s gone the Palin route when it comes to slinging mud and keeping every moment of his social calendar updated via Twitter, Marco Rubio apparently found his way out of the local IKEA store and is back on his hunter-gatherer-of-campaign-cash tour.

In case his bots don’t read much, he’s adding visual aids. (Ooh, pictures!) See him looking very concerned in goggles and things, and standing next to boats. He’s doing lots of “meet and greets” (his words) in restaurants up along the Gulf Coast (funny, no pictures of him actually EATING FISH though. Curious.) and hanging out with fishermen. Of course, fish can’t vote or finance a campaign, and because most of them will be turning up dead soon anyway, the small business people he’s a-meetin’ and a-greetin’ with won’t be able to afford to donate any longer. Ah, but they can vote, so Rubio went with plan B. Government: BAD!

Had a good meeting with Charter Boat fishermen in Destin. Fed Govt has made life miserable for them.

Funny. I was in many of those very same towns a couple of weeks ago too and I talked to a lot of the local business people up there, and that’s not exactly the sentiment I heard. Far from it. (Unless you count the previous Administration that is.) Sounds to me like Rubio thinks those people are stupid, and believe me, they are anything but. They know what’s going on. Rubio’s time would be better spent if he borrowed a couple of those bendy straws from the Tea Bag Queen and headed back home, because that oil is heading towards his territory in South Florida.

See? When it comes to the GOP in Florida, denial is merely second nature. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist! That will change soon enough though. Unfortunately for all of us, by then it will be too late.

Aspirin anyone?

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U.S. Rep. and well-known loony Republican Michele Bachmann will be coming to Florida at the end of the month. She’ll be headlining a rally and fundraiser for Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor).

She also comes cheap. Only $2o.10 for a ticket! Now I know some might think the amount of $20.10 is for the election year 2010. That may be the case, but I doubt many would pay top dollar to see Rep. Bachmann i other circumstances. In fact, I don’t know anyone at all who would fork over $20.10 either. It will be interesting to see how many do.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota will be headlining a rally and fundraiser for Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, on March 31.

For $20.10, his campaign site says, people can attend see the Republicans at Bayanihan Arts Center, 14301 Nine Eagles Drive, in Tampa.

Bilirakis has $337,485 on hand and so far faces little known challenger Arthur Richardson III, a Republican, who unsuccessfully campaigned for mayor of Tampa when Pam Iorio skated to re-election in 2007.

The Bilirakis family have had a pretty good hold on that seat for years. Makes you wonder if there’s something we don’t know about that would make Bilirakis desperate enough to need Bachmann to raise funds for him?

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