Special Investigative Report: Bill Hughes, Jr.’s attack against Congressman Frank LoBiondo
On Friday, September 26, 2014, on the "Hurley in the Morning" program, United States Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Jr. made an incendiary, block-buster attack against United States Congressman Frank LoBiondo, directly accusing him of executing a political shell game at the expense of sick children.
The accusation by Hughes was that LoBiondo had appropriated $ 1 million for a research study regarding children's mercury poisoning ... only to simultaneously remove it, which (if true) would leave no money to fund such a study.
Hughes' accusation further accused LoBiondo of making a "phony appropriation," so that "he could send out a press release" for political gain.
"Hurley in the Morning" has conducted a thorough investigation into this matter. Since last Friday, I have interviewed Congressman LoBiondo and the LoBiondo campaign spokesman Jason Galanes.
I have also thoroughly reviewed the actual Congressional record regarding this matter.
As it turns out, Hughes was either unaware of the required Congressional procedures involved or willfully deceived South Jersey voters on Congressman LoBiondo's record. Because the Hughes allegations are so serious, it's important to set the record straight.
We can do that now.
In 2007, LoBiondo introduced H.R. 2813, the "Children's Mercury Exposure Act." It was co-sponsored by 5 members of Congress, including New Jersey Representative Rob Andrews and Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (who is the current chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee). The legislation was in direct result to the exposure of mercury to children at the Franklin Township daycare center called Kiddie Kollege.
It would have required the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS): (1) acting through the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to establish a program for research regarding the risks posed by exposure of children to mercury from contaminated industrial sites; and (2) acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to study and report on the prevalence of such exposure. It also would have authorized the Secretary, acting through the CDC Director, to make grants on a competitive basis to state departments of health to conduct testing of exposed children.
Mr. Hughes accused Congressman LoBiondo of "increasing mercury research funding by $1 million before simultaneously decreasing it by $1 million" aka a shell game. Our investigation has yielded that what Congressman LoBiondo actually did was increase mercury research funding by $1 million without adding to the federal budget or deficit since he decreased federal funding elsewhere in the budget to pay for it.
The Congressman successfully amended the 2008 Department of the Interior, Environment & Related Agencies Appropriations bill on the floor of the House of Representatives to direct $1 million in funding "for the purpose of directing the administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Research to use these funds to conduct initial long-term testing of children exposed to mercury from mercury-contaminated industrial sites." Congressman LoBiondo's amendment took $1 million out of the operations and acquisitions budget of the agency to pay for the mercury research. Therefore, the net change to the agency's budget = $0.
The Bottom line here is: Congressman LoBiondo funded mercury research without adding to the federal budget or deficit. In fairness to the truth, that's called responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars in support of the taxpayers' interests. The full House of Representatives subsequently approved the appropriations bill.
Many hard-to-prove allegations are made during the course of a campaign. However, when an allegation is so patently false and incontrovertible evidence exists to prove it false, the public record must be corrected.
Bill Hughes, Jr. is an attorney. If he did this in a court room, American law and his own license would mandate that he correct the record.
I am calling on Hughes, Jr. to correct the record. I have sent him a written invitation to appear on-air "Hurley in the Morning" in order to do so. I am also inviting Hughes to write a response for WPG1450.com.
Now that my investigation is complete, I will also be seeking a closing comment on this matter from Congressman LoBiondo as well.