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Jul 27 2014

100 Days: Here’s What They’re Saying About Iowa

NBC’s Chuck Todd Says Bruce Braley Has Been A Stumbling, Stumbler And A Bumbler.”   “It is.  He has been a stumbling, stumbler and a bumbler and somehow the DSCC is now shaking up the campaign team.”  (Chuck Todd, MSNBC, 07/26/14)

Roll Call’s Stu Rothenberg Says Iowa Is The GOP’s Best Pick Up Opportunity.  ”Stuart Rothenberg said it’s ‘something of a surprise’ that Iowa is now one of the GOP’s best opportunities to pick up a U.S. Senate seat. … But the combination of an interesting Republican nominee in Ernst plus missteps by Braley “has smart Democrats fretting about the contest,” Rothenberg said.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Vs. Ernst: 8 Measures Of Who Has Edge In Race, The Des Moines Register, 07/27/14)

The Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy Says Bruce Braley Hasn’t Run A Flawless Campaign.  ”Duffy, of the Cook Report, said Braley hasn’t run a flawless campaign. ‘From insulting Sen. Grassley to failing to show up at committee and subcommittee hearings, he has handed Republicans a lot to work with,’ she told the Register.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Vs. Ernst: 8 Measures Of Who Has Edge In Race,The Des Moines Register, 07.27.14)

Bruce Braley Is Giving National Democrats Heartburn.  ”Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D-Iowa) missteps have given Democrats severe heartburn in that open seat race … Braley damaged himself with comments that as a trial lawyer he’s more qualified than popular Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,” to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has run a strong race so far, and Democrats admit Braley’s lackluster campaign is cause for alarm.  “Braley has shot himself in the foot again and again. We have a lot of work to do. Iowa is a lot closer than we want it to be,” said one national Democrat.”  (Cam Joseph, 100 Days To Go, The Hill,07/27/14)

Democrat Bruce Braley Has Coughed Up A Double-Digit Lead And Is Now Trailing Joni Ernst.  ”Pre-primary polls consistently showed Democrat Bruce Braley out front, a couple of times by double digits.  Now the gap has closed. Want a polling average other than Huffington Post? Try Real Clear Politics, which also shows a whisker-thin margin. It puts Republican Joni Ernst up 0.7 percent.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Vs. Ernst: 8 Measures Of Who Has Edge In Race, The Des Moines Register, 07/27/14)

Bruce Braley Is In Deep Trouble In Iowa.  ”Ernst campaign adviser David Polyansky said she is a strong leader for Iowa, with service as a lieutenant colonel and combat commander as well as three years in the Iowa Senate.  ’The race is about Joni’s Iowa leadership versus liberal Bruce Braley’s Washington failures,’ Polyansky said. ‘Bruce Braley is a rubber stamp for Barack Obama with a special trial lawyer’s skill at insulting Iowa farmers. That’s why he’s in such deep trouble.’”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley vs. Ernst: ‘Races just don’t get closer than this’, The Des Moines Register, 07/27/14)


Jul 26 2014

Another Bad Week For Bruce Braley

Between skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs hearings, Larry Sabato moving Iowa’s Senate race from leans Democrat to toss-up and a staff shakeup within his campaign, it’s clear Bruce Braley had another no good, very bad, awful week.

On Monday, the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported that over the weekend Texas Governor Rick Perry told Bruce Braley not to mock farmers.  Perry showed he had done his homework on Iowa politics. At one point in his talk he walked over to a banner promoting Sen. Charles Grassley and wrote the word “farmer” above Grassley’s name — a barb aimed at Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley who was captured on tape referring to Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”  Braley, running against Republican Joni Ernst for the Senate seat, later apologized for the comment.  “Don’t diss my farmers,” said Perry, again drawing huge applause.

The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported that Republican strategist Dave Kochel said that Bruce Braley has underperformed.   The Iowa U.S. Senate race may go down to the wire, according to political consultants to candidates in top Iowa races who both predicted their party’s candidate would be victorious. … Braley, Kochel added, has “really underperformed” as a candidate – a reference to comments the four-term Democrat made about Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Fox News also reported that the Iowa GOP hammered Bruce Braley for skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings.  Now it’s Braley’s attendance record that is under scrutiny as Republicans hammer him for missing more than two thirds of the hearings of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee on which he serves. The Cedar Rapids Gazette checked the claim and found that while Braley had a better attendance rate for subcommittee hearings, the charge was fairly rendered.

On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported that Bruce Braley had the second-lowest attendance record on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  This also gives him the second-lowest attendance record for the committee, according to a Washington Examiner analysis of committee minutes.  Only Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., had a worse attendance record (at 16 percent). The average attendance rate for the committee was 60 percent, and just 15 of the 24 members had attendance rates above 50 percent.

Then the Des Moines Register broke the story that on September 20, 2012, Bruce Braley missed a critical VA hearing but was able to attend three fundraisers in Washington.  On the same day [that he missed the VA hearing], Braley had three fundraisers on his schedule for his re-election to the U.S. House, records from the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation show. He attended all three, campaign aides confirmed to The Des Moines Register.

Things quickly spiraled out of control when Braley’s campaign said he skipped the VA hearing for another hearing, except Braley was never actually seen at the other hearing.  As the Des Moines Register reports:  At 10:19 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2012, the committee held a hearing on a backlog of disability claims and reports of problems with mental health care and stewardship of VA funding, congressional records show. The roll call shows Braley didn’t attend.  Braley’s aides said he skipped it to attend a 9:36 a.m. Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting on the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking scandal. The congressional record marked Braley “present,” but reveals that he offered no testimony during the three-hour hearing, which ran until 12:45 p.m.  Video caught no sight of Braley. His seat isn’t always visible, but the multiple times it’s within camera view during the window the Veterans Affairs committee was in session (10:19 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.), Braley wasn’t seated, a Register review of C-SPAN 3 and committee footage found.   

On Wednesday, the Republican Party of Iowa sent out a devastating release that thoroughlydiscredited Braley’s excuse for skipping the VA hearing.  Bruce Braley claimed to miss the House Veterans’ Affairs hearing for a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing, but after reviewing the transcript and the footage, there were no signs of him being present.

The Quad City Times reported that Braley skipped 15 of 20 Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings. “Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley is being criticized for missing most of the full Veterans Affairs Committee hearings held in 2011-12, when he was on the panel.  Braley, a Democratic congressman from Waterloo, missed 15 of 20 committee meetings, including two joint sessions with the Senate, and Republicans say this shows he puts little priority on veterans issues.”

The Hill reported that Braley’s poor attendance on the VA Committee could hurt him on the campaign trail.  Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is under fire for missing a number of hearings of the committee that oversees the Veterans Administration. … The low attendance for a committee overseeing the VA, which has been embroiled in scandal, could hurt Braley on the campaign trail.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that Republicans are reminding Iowans that Braley neglected early warning signs of problems within the VA.  “Republicans have charged Braley with neglecting early warnings about problems that reportedly plague VA centers across the country. Reports of VA staffers who falsely altered patient records to mask long wait times for veterans led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki earlier this year.

On Fox News, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino gave some advice to Bruce Braley by telling him when you’re in a crisis just tell the truth.  In Iowa, Bruce Braley he’s a Congressman, he’s running for the Senate in Iowa.  One of the complaints, attacks from the other side, the Republicans, has been he’s on the House Veterans’ Affair Committee and missed 75% of those hearings, including one in 2012 that was an important one.  You might say that’s not important, who cares, right?  But he was actually — his campaign said he was at a Fast and Furious hearing.  Turns out, he wasn’t there either.  He was at fundraisers, which from a PR perspective just tell the truth, it would be a lot easier than what you’re dealing with.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Larry Sabato’s Center for Politics moved the Iowa Senate race from leans Democrat to toss-up.  The biggest change comes in Iowa, which moves from Leans Democratic to Toss-up. After cruising through her primary, state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has continued to perform well. Polling averages now show the race to be about an exact tie, and it’s become fairly clear that this open-seat contest represents the Republicans’ best pickup opportunity in a state won by President Obama in 2012.

On FridayKay Henderson at Radio Iowa reported that Concerned Veterans for America is up with an ad blasting Braley for skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings. Republicans have been criticizing Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley for missing most of the hearings the Veterans Affairs Committee held when Braley was on the panel. Now, a national group is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to air that complaint in ads on Iowa TV stations.

The National Review Online reported that in 2012, Braley said he fights for veterans every day on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  “I fight for veterans every day on the Veterans Affairs Committee,” Representative Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) said at the Iowa Democratic Convention in 2012.  That apparently-innocuous comment might just be the first five seconds of Republican ads tying Braley, who is running for Senate against Republican Joni Ernst,  to the VA scandal, given that Braley failed to show up for three-quarters of the full committee hearings.

The Weekly Standard also reported that Braley falsely claimed that he fights for veterans every day on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  Bruce Braley, the Iowa Democratic congressman running for U.S. Senate, touted his work on behalf of veterans at his state party’s 2012 convention. “I fight for veterans every day on the Veterans’ Affairs committee,” he said. … But it was reported this week that Braley missed 75 percent of the House committee’s hearings in 2011 and 2012, including one day during which he attended three fundraisers. Braley’s campaign has claimed he was attending a separate hearing on the Fast and Furious scandal, though there’s no evidence the Iowa Democrat was active or even present for most of that hearing, either.

The Iowa Republican Party ripped Braley for being able to attend fundraisers, but not the VA hearing in Washington.  As the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported:  Braley, a Waterloo Democrat running for U.S. Senate, recently has been criticized for absenteeism during his two-year tenure on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.  … “If Bruce Braley made time for his VA hearings, like he’s able to do for his fancy D.C. fundraisers, he would’ve heard firsthand that two-thirds of our veterans have to wait over four months to receive care from the VA,” said RPI spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “Braley’s priorities in Washington are quite simple: he’s more interested in himself than helping our veterans.”

Things are so bad for Bruce Braley’s campaign that Politico reports that he replaced key members of his team.   Iowa Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley has shaken up his campaign … The main source of concern about Braley’s performance has tended to be the candidate himself. … It comes after a string of bad headlines for Braley, including one about his wife getting into a legal dustup with a neighbor over chickens invading her yard.

TWEETS …

@DToddHarris:  Braley: “I fight for veterans every day on the Veterans Affairs Committee.” Really? You skipped 78% of hearings. #iasen

@DDKochel:  Hey @linkiowa someone fact checked your fact check and found it false. Don’t you hate it when that happens? http://www.iowagop.org/why-did-bruce-braley-skip-his-va-hearing-on-september-20-2012/ 

@DavidPolyansky:  RT @JenniferJJacobs: #iasen race no longer leans Dem- @BruceBraley & @JoniErnst battle is a “toss-up,” @LarrySabato & @kkondik say

@DCGretchen:  RT @emilyrs:Latest bad headline 4 Bruce Braley in #IASEN missed VA hearings on same day he had 3 campaing fundraisers http://goo.gl/juHlfX

@AaronBlakeWP:  Bruce Braley, call your office (again)http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/elections/2014/07/22/bruce-braley-three-fundraisers-on-day-of-missed-hearing/13004385/?sf28880685=%5B%271%27%5D

@MaggiePolitico:  SCOOP: Bruce Braley shook up campaign, replaced AKPD and Diane Feldman with Saul Schorr and Geoff Garin http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/bruce-braley-iowa-campaign-2014-109399.html

@JMartNYT:  ”The main source of concern about Braley’s performance has tended to be the candidate himself” http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/bruce-braley-iowa-campaign-2014-109399.html

@Brook_H:  Dems in Panic Mode: Struggling Bruce Braley shakes up campaignhttp://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/bruce-braley-iowa-campaign-2014-109399.html 

@AmericaRising: .@BruceBraley Didn’t Just Miss His VA Hearing – He Lied About It Too http://bit.ly/1qzSuvQ  


Jul 25 2014

Any Questions?

DES MOINES – With Washington liberal Bruce Braley skipping an important Veterans’ Affairs hearing onSeptember 20, 2012, the Republican Party of Iowa is sharing the questions his colleagues asked that day regarding the growing number of backlogged claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“After skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings, nobody knows better than Bruce Braley that it’s pretty hard to hold the VA accountable if you’re constantly skipping the hearings,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “Braley’s decision to blow off an opportunity to ask the VA important oversight questions, explains everything you need to know about him.”

BACKGROUND …

Throughout The Hearing That Bruce Braley Missed On Septmber 20, 2012 His Colleagues Asked Questions About Resolving The Backlog, Access To Care And Quality Of Care

During The Hearing, Committee Members Expressed Concern That The Backlog Was Creating Improper Care For Veterans.  CONGRESSMAN MICHAUD: “A good example is back in June when we were discussing the claims backlog within VBA, the concern in the inspector general’s report was that VA employees were rushing through the process to get a claim done, therefore the accuracy rate has not been anywhere near where it should be. So taking that consideration with the employees feeling they have to rush through, my question to General Hickey at the time was, is there any benefit for an employee as far as how do you rate the employee as far as doing a good job or a bad job and how do you determine that.” (Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)

Deputy Secretary Gould Highlighted The Importance Of The House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee On Oversight In Resolving Issues In The VA. CONGRESSMAN GOULD: “And, Mr. Michaud, first of all, as Congressman Brown said, you know, one team, one mission here. Our number one job is to take care of our veterans. One of the roles that this Oversight Committee plays is in bringing issues of poor performance to our attention and getting it done. I put your request in that category, informed by the notion that how you manage and rate your people and measure their performance is a critical part of improving our ability to process claims.” (Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)

During The Hearing, Gould Was Unable To Answer A Question Asking How Veterns In The Backlog Would Know When They Can Expect To Receive Care.  CONGRESSMAN ROE: “No, I have not. I just want to know if I am a veteran and I have got a claim out there in claims land, wherever it may be, and I do not know where it is and when it is ever going to–and I have not heard from anybody in six months, when can I type in my information and find out why it is taking so long because we were told that was going to occur?” GOULD: “And correctly. It is in the eBenefits functional suite. Today there are 46 different things that you can do on the eBenefits Web site. And today I am happy to announce 1.9 million people have visited that site. So it is a web-based tool to be able to get information from VA including the status of claims.” ROE: “The question I am asking is, that is all good and fine and dandy, but the question I am asking is, am I going to hear something in 30 days because I have got a house payment to make or am I going to hear something in six months? When am I going to get some resolution for me?” GOULD: “Well, I will answer that on a couple of levels. I mentioned earlier that we have processed now at the end of this year almost four million claims. So there are four million people that have that answer. If your answer is prospectively when can I use the web to get that information in the future, that is part of our roll- out.” ROE: “That is the question I am asking. My questions have not been answered yet. My question is, when a veteran in my district or any of these districts that we represent goes on-line with this backlog, where am I in this process? Am I going to hear something in two months or three months or when am I going to hear something?” GOULD: “So a couple ways you can get that information. Call your VSO and they will enter the system or call a service provider. Mr. Roe. But what we were told was the veteran would be able to electronically go to their iPad or their computer and– –“ GOULD: “Yes.”  ROE: “–be able to find out the status of their claim.” GOULD: “Yes.” ROE: “I mean, I know it is a tough situation. But is there in the foreseeable future, is that going to happen?” GOULD: “Yes. As I mentioned a moment ago, it is part of our transformation plan, the technology component, and the very  system is already deployed called eBenefits. That will be the place that your member can go to find the status of their claim.” (Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)


Jul 24 2014

Opening Remarks From VA Hearing That Bruce Braley Missed Centered On Long Wait Times

DES MOINES – With Bruce Braley claiming that he missed the Veterans’ Affairs performance and accountability hearing for another hearing where he was never seen sitting in his chair or uttering a single word, today the Republican Party of Iowa is telling him what he missed from this VA hearing.

House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller began the hearing by expressing his concern for delays experienced by veterans seeking mental health care.  Miller proceeded to state that two-thirds of our veterans have to wait over 125 days to receive care from the VA.

“If Bruce Braley made time for his VA hearings, like he’s able to do for his fancy D.C. fundraisers, he would’ve heard firsthand that two-thirds of our veterans have to wait over 4 months to receive care from the VA,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “Braley’s priorities in Washington are quite simple: he’s more interested in himself than helping our veterans.”

BACKGROUND …

Braley Skipped His VA Hearing But Made Time For Three Fundraisers

Bruce Braley Skipped A VA Hearing He Attended Three Fundraisers.  “Over the past couple days, Republicans have sought to ramp up criticism over Braley’s hearing attendance, seizing on a Sept. 20, 2012, VA committee hearing he missed. It occurred the same day as three campaign fundraisers he attended.  “He made time to attend all three of the fundraisers. But he couldn’t make time to show up at the hearing,” Kochel said.”  (Ed Tibbets, GOP Hits Braley On VA Panel Attendance, The Quad City Times, 07/23/14)

Braley Claimed He Skipped His VA Hearing For The Hearing Below

Bruce Braley’s Campaign Said They Skipped The Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing Because He Was At The Oversight And Government Reform Hearing.”  Braley campaign spokesman Jeff Giertz said fundraisers Braley scheduled on Sept. 20 didn’t conflict with the VA hearings. The congressman missed the 10 a.m. Veterans Affairs Committee meeting because he was at an Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting that began at 9:36 a.m., Giertz said.”  (Braley Attended Three Fundraisers on Day of Missed Veterans Affairs Hearing, The Des Moines Register, 07/22/14)

So Here’s The Opening Remarks From VA Hearing That Braley Missed

In His Opening Remarks, Chairman Miller Raised Concern For Delays Experienced By Veterans Seeking Mental Health Care. “Despite these successes, progress isn’t being made fast enough, or at all, in other key areas.  On the important issue of mental health care, too many veterans either do not seek assistance or are unable to get VA care in a timely manner.  As a result, access to mental health care is in crisis. In April, the VA Inspector General released a report finding that more than half of the veterans who seek mental health care through VA wait fifty days – that’s five-zero days – on average – to receive an evaluation. These are men and women who have taken the brave and difficult step of seeking help – and they are waiting too long to receive it.” (Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)

In His Opening Remarks, Chairman Miller Set As A Focus Item For The Meeting The 66.4 Percent Of Veterans Waiting More Than 125 Days For Care. “Another area of continued concern is the backlog of disability claims.  Notwithstanding pledges by VA officials that we’re about to “turn the corner,” the backlog has steadily increased throughout the past two years.  At the beginning of this Congress, the number of pending claims was 764, 476, with 39.4% pending for more than 125 days.  As of this month, that total number of claims pending increased to 897,767, with 66.4% pending over 125 days.” (Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)

Chairman Miller Also Raised Concern Regarding The VA Spending And The Department’s Performance. “VA’s Senior Executive Service Bonus Program continues to average nearly $4 million in annual pay-outs with no apparent correlation between these bonuses and agency performance. The Committee is also addressing the lavish conference expenditures. I and Ranking Member Filner sent a letter to VA over a month ago asking for details as to how $100 million was spent in 2011 on conferences and to date, we have yet to receive a response.” (Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)


Jul 24 2014

Bruce Braley’s Decision To Skip 78 Percent Of His Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings

Quad City Times Reports That Braley Skipped 15 Of 20 Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings.  “Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley is being criticized for missing most of the full Veterans Affairs Committee hearings held in 2011-12, when he was on the panel.  Braley, a Democratic congressman from Waterloo, missed 15 of 20 committee meetings, including two joint sessions with the Senate, and Republicans say this shows he puts little priority on veterans issues.”  (Ed Tibbets, GOP Hits Braley On VA Panel Attendance, The Quad City Times, 07/23/14)

Quad City Times Notes That On The Same Day Braley Skipped A VA Hearing He Attended Three Fundraisers.  “Over the past couple days, Republicans have sought to ramp up criticism over Braley’s hearing attendance, seizing on a Sept. 20, 2012, VA committee hearing he missed. It occurred the same day as three campaign fundraisers he attended.  “He made time to attend all three of the fundraisers. But he couldn’t make time to show up at the hearing,” Kochel said.”  (Ed Tibbets, GOP Hits Braley On VA Panel Attendance, The Quad City Times, 07/23/14)

Des Moines Register Reports That Braley’s Staff Doesn’t Know Why He Missed A VA Hearing On October 12, 2011.  “The Republican Party of Iowa on Monday issued a statement criticizing Braley for missing so many committee meetings, pointing out that one he skipped on Oct. 12, 2011 was described as a window into national problems at the VA because it exposed trouble at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Braley’s spokesman said he’s not sure why the congressman missed that hearing …”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Under Fire For Missing VA Oversight Meetings, The Des Moines Register, 07/23/14)

Braley Couldn’t Credibly Explain Why He Missed A VA Hearing On September 20, 2012.  As The Des Moines Register Reports:  “At 10:19 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2012, the committee held a hearing on a backlog of disability claims and reports of problems with mental health care and stewardship of VA funding, congressional records show. The roll call shows Braley didn’t attend.  Braley’s aides said he skipped it to attend a 9:36 a.m. Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting on the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking scandal. The congressional record marked Braley “present,” but reveals that he offered no testimony during the three-hour hearing, which ran until 12:45 p.m.  Video caught no sight of Braley. His seat isn’t always visible, but the multiple times it’s within camera view during the window the Veterans Affairs committee was in session (10:19 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.), Braley wasn’t seated, a Register review of C-SPAN 3 and committee footage found.  Members of Congress can check in as “present” at a hearing, stay for a brief time – sometimes to ask a question – and then leave. Braley didn’t ask a question, the transcript shows.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Under Fire For Missing VA Oversight Meetings, The Des Moines Register, 07/23/14)

The Washington Examiner Reports That Braley Had The Second-Lowest Attendance Record For The Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  This also gives him the second-lowest attendance record for the committee, according to a Washington Examiner analysis of committee minutes.  Only Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., had a worse attendance record (at 16 percent). The average attendance rate for the committee was 60 percent, and just 15 of the 24 members had attendance rates above 50 percent.  (Ashe Schow, Bruce Braley Missed 79 Percent Of Full Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings As Scandal Heated Up, The Washington Examiner, 07/22/14)  

The Hill Reports That Braley’s Poor Attendance On The VA Committee Could Hurt Him On The Campaign Trail.  “Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is under fire for missing a number of hearings of the committee that oversees the Veterans Administration. … The low attendance for a committee overseeing the VA, which has been embroiled in scandal, could hurt Braley on the campaign trail.”  (Cam Joseph, Braley Takes Heat For Missing VA Hearing, The Hill, 07/23/14)

The Washington Free Beacon Reports That Republicans Are Reminding Iowans That Braley Neglected Early Warning Signs Of Problems Within The VA.  “Republicans have charged Braley with neglecting early warnings about problems that reportedly plague VA centers across the country. Reports of VA staffers who falsely altered patient records to mask long wait times for veterans led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki earlier this year.”  (Dan Wiser, Video Evidence Puts Braley Campaign’s Claims In Question, The Washington Free Beacon, 07/23/14)

The Weekly Standard Reports That On September 20, 2012 Braley Skipped His VA Hearing But Was Able To Attend 3 Fundraisers For His Re-Election.  “Rep. Bruce Braley, the Iowa Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, missed three quarters of committee hearings concerning oversight of the Veterans Affairs administration in 2011 and 2012, including one, the Des Moines Register reports, on the same day Braley attended three fundraisers.”  (Michael Warren, Where Was Bruce Braley?, The Weekly Standard, 07/23/14)

Dana Perino Tells Braley Not To Lie About Why He Was Missed His VA Hearings.  “In Iowa, Bruce Braley he’s a Congressman, he’s running for the Senate in Iowa.  One of the complaints, attacks from the other side, the Republicans, has been he’s on the House Veterans’ Affair Committee and missed 75% of those hearings, including one in 2012 that was an important one.  You might say that’s not important, who cares, right?  But he was actually — his campaign said he was at a Fast and Furious hearing.  Turns out, he wasn’t there either.  He was at fundraisers, which from a PR perspective just tell the truth it would be a lot easier than what you’re dealing with.”  (Dana Perino, The Five, Fox News, 07/23/14)