Honolulu Civil Beat is an investigative news website that everyone in Hawai'i interested in politics reads. I doubt this headline by Nick Grube pleased Honolulu congressman Ed Case: US Rep. Ed Case Raked In Campaign Cash While Threatening Biden’s Agenda. The blurb below it probably stung worse: "The Hawaii congressman, a self-described fiscal conservative, was one of a handful of Democrats threatening the president’s $3.5 trillion 'Build Back Better' plan." Build Back Better is very popular in Hawaii-- and so is Biden. He beat Trump statewide 366,130 (63.7%) to 196,864 (34.3%).
Case is an elite, out of touch, wealthy conservative. He's more interested in his chairmanship of the Blue Dogs-- the 19 most right-wing Democrats in Congress-- than he is about his own constituents on O'ahu. "Case," wrote Grube, "raised more money for his campaign in the last three months than he has in any previous quarter since he was reelected in 2018. Case’s latest filings with the Federal Election Commission showed he raised more than $367,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30. That’s more than two times his next largest quarterly haul of $177,333, which was raised ahead of the 2018 Democratic primary in which he faced a field of seven other candidates, including former Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin and former state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim."
There's a reason why he's raking in so much money right now-- primarily from shady PACs "associated with defense contractors and other business interests, much of it from out of state, "including some who donated through the No Labels Problem Solvers PAC," which is a poisonous GOP-funded group inside the Democratic Party, with the sole purpose of undermining progressive ideas-- something that fits perfectly with Case's entire political career. No Labels is leading the fight against Biden's Build Back Better plan-- and Case was one of the first to sign up for their destructive strategy. Yep, he's one of the so-called "Unbreakable 9."
"Case is one of a handful of [conservatives; Grube calls them 'moderates'] in the House who has caused fits for Biden and his administration, arguing that the proposed budget package, which includes money to fight child poverty, address climate change and increase the availability of affordable housing, is too expensive. The congressman has said he would prefer Congress move forward with a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan that has already cleared the Senate with GOP support.
Case’s position on the $3.5 trillion spending plan-- which would be spread out over 10 years and would be paid for at least in part by increasing taxes on corporations and the rich-- has drawn both praise and criticism from outside the Aloha State.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and No Labels, a centrist political organization, have publicly lauded Case for standing up to his own party.
Our Hawaii Action, a new group founded by former state Rep. Kaniela Ing and Evan Weber, a principal organizer of the environmental Sunrise Movement, has also launched a six-figure ad campaign attacking Case for obstructing Biden’s plan, which they argue will create thousands of jobs in the islands.
The congressman’s recent actions have even prompted a political challenger to emerge ahead of next year’s election. Sergio Alcubilla, an attorney who used to work for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, has announced he will run against Case in the Democratic primary.
Alcubillia has not yet reported raising any money with the Federal Election Commission. [We should help Alcubilla with that by clicking here on the Primary A Blue Dog ActBlue page.]
Case’s campaign reported having more than $518,000 in cash on hand.
By way of comparison, Hawaii's other congressman, Kai Kahele, a solid progressive, reported around $72,000 in contributions and almost $364,000 in cash on hand. Kahale has no declared opponent for either the primary or general election and he is a supporter of Build Back Better. Alcubilla is also a backer of Build Back Better and he has been developing a powerful critique against Case's position. This morning he told me that "We must stop selling out our constituents to the highest bidder. Unlike our incumbent Rep. Ed Case, I will not accept money from corporate interests, especially the pharmaceutical drug industry. I believe public service should be about serving the best interests of the public, not large corporations and large businesses. We need to push harder to allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and other programs. Health care needs to be a universal right. There should be no reason people refuse medical help or don't have medication because they're worried they can't afford it. How many of us know of a senior who struggles to pay the costs of their medication, the person who refuses an ambulance because they can't afford the charge, and the person who hasn't seen a dentist in years because their insurance doesn't cover it? There is something fundamentally wrong when drug and insurance companies are heavily influencing the level of care we receive from our doctors. It's time we make this right; beginning with standing up to these drug companies and reducing out of pocket costs for medication."