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ISSUE #109
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Features

ArrowPayback Time
If Republicans lose Congress, don't assume things will change
Matt Taibbi

ArrowAre You Radioactive Football?
Why “dirty bomb hoax” is redundant
Hank Williams Jr.

ArrowMurrah Redux
9/11 Truth is a bald regurgitation of a silly tale we heard ten years ago
Matt Taibbi

Local BEAST

ArrowTom & Sally Take a Trip
Foley Shmoley! Reynolds has scandal all his own.
Allan Uthman

ArrowRepresentative Royale!

ArrowBeast Calling
We call Eliot Spitzer's campaign to see just what "on the first day everything changes" means.

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Inoperable Sump Pump

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
The Prestige, The Departed, Employee of the Month, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Chuckleside, Konspiracy Kops, Happy Clam Sends Mindless Bias, Kid Power and more

Tom & Sally Take a Trip Foley Shmoley! Reynolds has scandal all his own. Allan Uthman

SallyJust when nothing but a natural disaster could have saved Tom Reynolds’ chances on Election Day, the weather freaks out, throws down two feet of wet, untimely, tree-killing snow and cripples the area. Seizing the opportunity, President Bush made sure to declare WNY a disaster area, clearing the way for gobs of federal cash, on the day Reynolds testified on the Mark Foley scandal before the House ethics committee. The move paid off for Reynolds in the form of a big picture of himself on the cover of the Buffalo News, next to a story about how he saved the day with his connections, rather than how he knowingly encouraged a boy-crazy congressman to run for reelection. Apparently, God really is a Republican.

This move, plus a deluge of dubious negative ads attacking challenger Jack Davis (incongruously deploring Davis’ “negative campaign”), looks like it might actually put Reynolds over the top in the election, despite Foley and the general antipathy toward Republicans that their Caligulan rule has fostered. WNYers are actually paying attention to their politicians right now—all it took was the sky literally crashing down around them.

Well, pay attention to this: Tom Reynolds has been bilking taxpayers since he took office—and he’s had some devoted help doing it.

Sally Vastola, called “Reynolds’ most trusted aide” by Douglas Turner in the Buffalo News, isn’t someone you hear about a lot, but she got a lot of attention Tuesday when she, too, appeared before the House Ethics Committee to testify on the Foley affair. Stories about the day’s closed door sessions revealed little: Vastola is the Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, this is the first time her name has been raised in the context of the Foley scandal, and so forth. All anyone really knew is Sally went in a door, and some time later she came out of it. Not very satisfying.

So, in anticipation of the choice voters in New York’s 26th district will be making November 7th, let’s learn a little bit about Sally Vastola, and her strangely intimate relationship with Reynolds—as well as their insatiable appetite for taxpayer money. All of the numbers and quotations I’m about to throw at you come from a review of publicly available records by the Campaign for a Cleaner Congress (CCC), a non-profit organization dedicated to curbing corruption on the hill.

Vastola’s current job, as Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee under Reynolds, earns her $3,282 every two weeks (plus expenses), which will add up to about $130,000 gross salary for the year. In 2004, her NRCC salary and expenses totaled $205,598. It’s one of those all-day-every-day, live-and-breathe-it jobs that look so keen on “The West Wing.”

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