Political Insiders Poll: The risks of sending aid to Syrian rebels

National Journal
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June 20, 2013, 8:21 a.m.

Busi­ness­man Ron John­son (R) made his first trip to DC this week to meet with Rep. Paul Ry­an (R-01) and mem­bers of the Sen­ate GOP Con­fer­ence. John­son “brushed up” on nat’l policy dur­ing his vis­it, mak­ing a stop at the Her­it­age Found­a­tion. John­son: “That’s where I mainly got my policy brief­ing. I really ap­pre­ci­ated that — that was very in­form­at­ive.”

John­son “has already faced some con­tro­versy” in the cam­paign. Dems have “seized” on his state­ment that it was “very troub­ling” that BP had to pay $20B in­to an es­crow fund to re­solve claims re­lat­ing to its oil spill in the Gulf of Mex­ico. Sen. Russ Fein­gold‘s (D) camp called his state­ments “polit­ic­al double-talk.” Fein­gold strategist John Kraus: “Ron John­son wants people to be­lieve that he sup­ports hold­ing BP ac­count­able while at the same time he op­poses the BP fund for vic­tims of this dis­aster.”

John­son said he isn’t op­posed to BP pay­ing com­pens­a­tion. John­son: “The only thing I found troub­ling is the fact that we wer­en’t us­ing the rule of law to im­pose pen­al­ties on BP and do it that way as op­posed to kind of strong-arm­ing them in­to this. I do ap­pre­ci­ate the rule of law. … I make no apo­lo­gies for BP.”

John­son “also faces ques­tions” about his ap­pear­ance be­fore a state Sen­ate cmte in Jan. where he op­posed passing le­gis­la­tion that was aimed at mak­ing it easi­er for vic­tims of child­hood sexu­al ab­use to sue their ab­users.

John­son: “It was a well-in­ten­ded bill that just didn’t ac­com­plish the in­ten­tion. There were very severe un­in­ten­ded con­sequences, and that was the only point I made in my testi­mony.” Mean­while, John­son said Fein­gold spent some $10M on his race in ‘04, not­ing he’ll have to spend something sim­il­ar this year (Miller, “Bal­lot Box,” The Hill, 6/25).

Also, Mil­wau­kee Journ­al-Sen­tinel’s Kane writes of re­ports over John­son and “con­tro­ver­sial au­thor” Charles Mur­ray, politi­cians “are not sup­posed to hang out with ex­treme types” (6/23).

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