Friday, September 28, 2007

Carson Goes AWOL

The Star's Maureen Groppe is on top of Rep. Julia Carson's latest failure to show up for work. "U.S. Rep. Julia Carson has been absent without explanation from the House this week, missing votes on a health insurance program for low-income children, flood insurance, small-business investment and other issues," Groppe writes. "The 69-year-old Indianapolis Democrat included a 'leave of absence' request in the Congressional Record on Wednesday for Sept. 24 through Oct. 1 but did not give a reason for the absence," Groppe adds. "We do not have a statement on this absence at this time," said Leonard Sistek, Carson's chief of staff.

Carson seems well on her way to racking up the worst attendance record in Congress. "Carson has missed 71 percent of the 77 floor votes since the House returned from its August recess after Labor Day," Groppe observes. "She has missed 13 percent of the 923 votes held since January, her lowest participation rate since 2004 when health problems caused her to miss 31 percent of votes."

Carson is unable to cast votes without the assistance of her staff according to a Capitol Hill newspaper. "[Carson] has been using a wheelchair to get around the Capitol, has had aides and colleagues insert her voting card into the voting machines on her behalf when she has been present and voting," Groppe writes. Rep. Vic Defazio (D-CA) explained how he had assisted her with her voting recently. "It was clear she was going to have difficulty getting out of her chair and up the stairs to vote in time," DeFazio said in a statement. "He said he saw her vote card in her hand, offered to insert it for her, and asked how she wanted to vote." "She answered with a lucid `yes,'" DeFazio said. "I took the card and within her full view, I inserted and voted 'yes' on her behalf and took the card back to her and confirmed the `yes' vote."

It appears to me this story first surfaced in a Capitol Hill newspaper at the instigation of the House Democrats. Do you think it's possible the folks in Washington are trying to communicate a message to the voters back in the 7th District?

IndyStar.com asks viewers in an online poll if Carson should retire because of her health problems. Ninety percent (90%) say she should retire.

UPDATE: After Groppe's online story appeared, Carson's staff released a statement acknowledging that Carson has been hospitalized at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis since last Friday for an infection in her leg. The story now includes this:


The statement said the infection is under control and Carson is "very anxious to get back to work," but did not say when that would be. The statement said she may require physical rehabilitation "but she is expected to return to the job soon."Carson's office released the explanation after questioned about a leave of absence she requested Wednesday, after missing votes Monday and Tuesday.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're claiming that Carson is absent without leave, when the Star article clearly says that Carson had requested a leave for unspecified reasons. The article also says that Carson's leave was approved.

A more accurate headline would be "Carson Leaves Congress Without Explanation".

Bart Lies said...

I wonder how DeFazio could, in 'her full view', go up the stairs and into the House chamber to place the vote for her? Do they not vote at their seats, well inside the chamber doors and out of line-of-sight from the stairs?

Sir Hailstone said...

I find it interesting she would miss a vote on S-CHIP considering her stand in favor of nationalized health care PLUS needing every vote they can get in the event of an executive branch veto.

Anonymous said...

Someone on IndyU claimed that Carson and her entourage had blocked the vehicular entrance to Methodist ER when she went for treatment under the alias "Ann Marie Jimenez".

I dismissed that as an unfounded smear, but perhaps it was true.

Anonymous said...

Two years ago, similar rumors floated all over DC. She fanned some of them. So much so, that an opponent in her own party did surface. Then, she uncerimoniously abandoned retirement plans and ran anyway.

Mr. Defazio's actions are contrary to House rules, and he should be sanctioned. The House Sgt. At Arms is empowered under previous House rules to help a member insert his/her voting card, and otherwise assist with voting. I don't know if this session adopted the same rule, but it's been in place since they started voting card recorded procedures.

You can understand why it's improper for any member to insert another member's electronic voting card. It opens a whole can of worms no one wants to open.

The late Sen. Thurmond, when he was almost unable to move, let alone vote, had a habit of rounding up someone from the Senate chaplain's office to help him vote. On the theory that a man of the cloth would not be questioned. (This was after the senator's mind had begun temporary check-outs...and, thankfully, only a short while after he'd stopped procreating)

Wonder if the little girl who sat on Julia's lap, and ate some of her food, could be located to help the good Congresswoman vote?

Look who's not yet commented on this thread. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

If her office can't tell the public why she isn't showing up for work, then the AWOL characterization is fair.

Do you always stretch logic like that?

Advance Indiana said...

If her office can't tell the public why she isn't showing up for work, then the AWOL characterization is fair. Getting an excused absence from the House is doing little more than placing a call and saying I can't make it in to work today. Dan Burton had plenty of excused absences, but I suspect his constituents may not view some of those absences favorably. Steve Buyer had an excused absence to miss work for knee surgery, but managed to attend the Super Bowl on crutches and then complain that the seats weren't any good.

Anonymous said...

I just called Ms. Carson's office in Indy (317-283-6516). According to the lady that answered the phone, Ms. Carson just got released from the hospital. She was in the hospital because she has an infection in her legs. Then the lady would not tell me anything else unless I told her my name and contact information. Then she put me on hold, so I hung up.

Jen said...

Gary,

Not sure where you came up with the notion that the Hill story, which came out yesterday and prompted the Star folo, was written at the instigation of anyone. It was a pretty straightforward story, and you can read it here:

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/carsons-ghost-voting-raises-health-questions-2007-09-27.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl2eS_mKnAE

Advance Indiana said...

Jen, don't kid yourself or us. Those stories get written because an observant staff person clues a reporter in to what's going on.

Wilson46201 said...

The official media release:

Washington DC. Congresswoman Julia Carson (IN-07) was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, IN on Friday, September 21st complaining of leg pain and fatigue and was subsequently treated for an infection in her leg near the area where a vein was removed pursuant to a surgical procedure performed in 1996. The infection is now under control and Ms. Carson reports that she is “very anxious to get back to work.”

Deep infections of this type will cause general fatigue and the associated pain will limit the patient’s ability to walk. Her doctor reports that she may require some rehabilitation to get fully back on her feet, but she is expected to return to the job soon.
###

Advance Indiana said...

So she's been hospitalized in town for one entire week and until a reporter out in D.C. starts asking questions, her office doesn't release this news to the public. Why?

Sir Hailstone said...

"but perhaps it was true."

Sounds like that anonymous commenter on IndyU got it right this time. She is/was at Methodist!

Whether the whole bit about her coming and going and consuming alcohol while in the hospital is exaggeration but her "crew" showing up like they own the place does not surprise me one bit.

I agree Gary - why did it take a Washington, DC newsletter and us bloggers for Carson's office to come clean about what is going on?

Anonymous said...

This couldn't have been more poorly handled by Carson's office. You lose all confidence in the media when you wait this long and make them dig for something you are eventually going to have to tell them anyway. Her office should have released a statement shortly after she had been admitted last week. They look like they are trying to hide something about her health from the public. Speculation was already at a fever pitch.

mely said...

Good question Gary. My guess is that she arrogantly feels she is above accountability to her constituents unless pressured by the press.

So, the press release explains where she has been for the last week. Where was she since August?

Brian said...

Well, she was here for the Labor Day Parade riding with Andre. After I read of her hospitalization, I remembered, that for a long stretch of the parade, her mouth was agape. Heck I thought she might have inhaled some of those pesky bugs in the air, and came down with some lung ailment.

Wilson, take her some Whitman's and cheer her up.

Brian

Anonymous said...

And will her staff wait a week to let us know when she passess away?

Jason said...

Either way I hope she gets well soon.

Gladys said...

"Bart lies" writes, "I wonder how DeFazio could, in 'her full view', go up the stairs and into the House chamber to place the vote for her? Do they not vote at their seats, well inside the chamber doors and out of line-of-sight from the stairs?"

As it turns out, there are so many members of Congress that they do not have their own assigned seats. Moreover, any member of Congress can vote from anywhere in the Chamber -- democratic or republican side. Since every desk has a voting machine, and there are many desks located right next to many of the doors, it would be very easy for someone standing (or even sitting) near the hallway door to watch a congressman cast a vote. Cong. DeFazio's explanation is 100% plausible.

Anonymous said...

If she truly cared about representing the citizens in Indiana she would resign as she cannot do her job properly and the fraud of electing her over and over is a joke.

Anonymous said...

So she goes in to the hospital on the Friday the 21st.

"Carson's office released the explanation after questioned about a leave of absence she requested Wednesday, after missing votes Monday and Tuesday."

She does not ask for a leave on Friday or Sat. or Sun.

She misses votes on Monday and Tuesday while in the hospital.

THEN on WED she ask for a leave.

What woll is she trying to pull over everyones eyes ?

Pike Voter

Anonymous said...

All of this paranoia from the hate spewing Carson bashers...if she resigns, then we have no representative until a special election is held for her replacement. This could be months. Let's wish her a speedy recovery and hope she gets back to D.C. and vote. I understand disagreeing with a politician on an issue but hoping for ill health or death is very unseemly.

Advance Indiana said...

anon 5:40, nobody is wishing poor health on Carson. Her health problems have been a persistent problem since you was first elected. Her ability to represent the people of this district has been hampered continually by illnesses. She has one of the worst attendance records in Congress. At what point does a person come to the realization that it is more important for the people of this district that it be represented by someone who is physically up to working the long hours required of the job. She is selfishly placing her own interests ahead of this district by continuing to stay and miss important votes one after another.

Bart Lies said...

No, Gladys, it is NOT plausible.

Up the stairs, through the doors and INTO the chamber, and STILL within view of Julia sitting downstairs in a wheelchair?

No, Gladys, I don't think so.

indyernie said...

"All of this paranoia from the hate spewing Carson bashers...if she resigns, then we have no representative until a special election is held for her replacement. This could be months."

You call her representation????

We can do better.

Anonymous said...

It's quite telling that neither Blue Indiana nor Taking Down Words has posted anything about Carson today, not even to wish her well.

Angry Republican said...

Bart Lies wrote:
"No, Gladys, it is NOT plausible.

Up the stairs, through the doors and INTO the chamber, and STILL within view of Julia sitting downstairs in a wheelchair?

No, Gladys, I don't think so."

I don't know if you're familiar with the House Chamber, but there aren't steps outside of the entrance to get INTO the chamber. The chamber floor is raised in the back, but there are steps to get to those areas. But you enter the chamber through a set of doors - there aren't steps to those doors.

The issue wouldn't be whether or not Congresswoman Carson could see - she could. The voting machines are visible from most places on the floor.

And don't take my comments as defeding Ms. Carson - I wouldn't do that in a hundred years. But, it is possible that someone could have voted for her and she could clearly have seen it.

Sir Hailstone said...

Anonymous 5:40

"if she resigns, then we have no representative until a special election is held for her replacement. This could be months."

BZZZT!! Wrong! Upon death or removal of a representative the state's Governor can appoint a representative to fill in until a special election can be held. This came up under the scenario for Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota when he had a stroke just as this session of Congress was sworn back in January. Sen Johnson is a Dem, The SD Governor is a Republican.

Georgia just held a special election to fill a deceased Congressman's seat.

Angry Republican said...

Sir Hailstone, you are incorrect. In the case of a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives, that vacancy may ONLY be filled by a special election.

Vacancies in the U.S. Senate may be filled by executive appointment, unless the laws of the state say otherwise.

Reading the Constitution can be enlightening.

AR

Angry Republican said...

Anon wrote at 1:05 p.m.:
"The late Sen. Thurmond, when he was almost unable to move, let alone vote, had a habit of rounding up someone from the Senate chaplain's office to help him vote. On the theory that a man of the cloth would not be questioned. (This was after the senator's mind had begun temporary check-outs...and, thankfully, only a short while after he'd stopped procreating)"

How would this person help Senator Thurmond votes? In the Senate, votes are either taken by unanimous consent, voice vote, or in the case of the yeas and nays, by calling the name of each senator, who responds. There is no electronic voting in the Senate.

AR

Anonymous said...

My my the wheels turn...

AR: yes, there can be electronic voting in the Senate. And the Chaplain's office regularly assisted Sen. Thurmond from a wheelchair to the floor, to walk in...he almost never appeared on the floor in his chair, although it was heavily (exclusively?) used the last eight or nine years of his miserable life.

Gladys and AR: Yes, it is possible for Rep. Defazio to have inserted Ms. Carson's voting card into any number of voting machines--members can vote from many locations. But is is against House rules to vote for another member. At leas tit was until this session , and I don't think this session's rules changed that fact. Some ill or "busy" members do have staff members do it, as discretely as possible.

The elevation of the House floor is a non-issue. The Defazio voting-for-Carson is an issue. And I'm told my those in-the-know that this issue was discussed heavily in the Democratic cloakroom this last week, and a stern warning was issued by the Majority Leader's office--verbally--to cease and desist this practice.

Isn't it interesting, that Ms. Carson's office bobbed and weaved for two days after this Methodist Hospital incident, misled folks eve. And then, erstwhile Wilson posts an "explanation" here as if we're supposed to buy it, move on and fugetaboudit.

Not hardly, Wilson.

Angry Republican said...

I'm sorry, but there is NO electronic voting in the Senate. NONE. There are no electronic voting devices. When the yeas and nays are ordered, the names of senators are called, and they either vote by verbally answering, or by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down.

There are NO electronic voting devices in the Senate.

AR

Anonymous said...

Okay, okay...I've waited for several days now, and it looks like everybody has fallen for the left-wing line:

"and was treated for an infection in her leg near the area where a vein was removed in 1996 during double bypass heart surgery"

Doesn't anybody see a problem here? An infection 10 years later "near the area" etc.

This is just cover. What is her true ailment? What is the true cause? Why is she in Methodist Hospital under an alias?

Either the print, TV, and radio reporters in this city are all exceedingly stupid, or they are all helping forward the leftist agenda.

Which is it?