Gottheimer’s Problem Solvers Caucus Is Creating Nothing But Problems For The New Democratic Majority


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), chair of the so-called “Problem Solvers Caucus”, is patting himself on the back for leading the effort that changed House rules in Republicans’ favor last week by making it easier for Republican-backed proposals to be considered. It was Gottheimer’s latest effort to undermine the new Democratic majority on the heels of his reported attempts to pack the House Financial Services Committee with like-minded, Wall Street-funded centrists and shut out progressive members who would hold big banks, predatory lenders, and other financial scammers.

The problem for Gottheimer and his fellow “Problem Solvers” — who collectively took millions of dollars from the Securities And Investment industry during the 2018 Election Cycle alone and who frequently vote for Trump-backed bills to gut consumer financial protections and weaken the CFPB — is that newly sworn-in House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) has vowed her top priorities will be to ensure the CFPB does its job and protects consumers from abusive financial practices.

“Apparently not even a government shutdown can keep Congressman Gottheimer from working on behalf of his Wall Street donors,”said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, which recently launched a print and digital ad campaign in New Jersey and Washington D.C. calling on Gottheimer to stop representing Trump and Wall Street at the expense of his constituents. 

Frisch continued, “The more money Gottheimer takes from Wall Street, the more problems he’s willing to cause for the new Democratic majority as they usher in a new era of accountability for big banks, predatory lenders, and other financial scammers. There’s already plenty of people in Congress willing to let Wall Street go back to the same greedy and reckless behavior with other people’s money that brought the economy to its knees in 2008. They’re called Republicans, and it’s a big reason why they lost control of the House. It’s time Gottheimer start being part of the solution by making Chairwoman Waters’ priority — protecting consumers — his priority.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Since The November Election, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) Has Purportedly Been Preaching the Fundraising Advantages Of Serving On The House Financial Services Committee…

Huffington Post reported that Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) “Has Been Encouraging Freshman Lawmakers” To Pursue Seats On The House Financial Services Committee, “Emphasizing The Fundraising Potential The Slots Offer His New Colleagues.” “Centrist Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) has been encouraging freshman lawmakers who have pledged their allegiance to the New Democrats’ cause to pursue seats on the Financial Services Committee, emphasizing the fundraising potential the slots offer his new colleagues, according to multiple sources familiar with his remarks. Gottheimer spokesman Matt Fried denied that the congressman brought up fundraising with other members, calling it ‘a lie.’ ‘He’d never say that,’ Fried said.” [Zach Carter, “These House Committees Could Make Or Break A Progressive Agenda,”Huffington Post, 11/15/18]

…While At The Same Time Cautioning Against Getting “Too Carried Away” With Oversight Of Wall Street And President Trump.

Gottheimer Cautioned That “Oversight” Couldn’t Be The Only Priority For The House Financial Services Committee and Cautioned Incoming Chair Maxine Waters About Going After The Banking Sector.

In November 2018, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) Cautioned Incoming House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Against Going After The Banking Sector “Writ Large.” “Before the election, Waters jarred the financial industry by pledging at an event to do to banks ‘what you did to us,’ a moment captured on video that went viral. It’s a tone that’s not going to be echoed by a number of other Democrats on the committee. ‘We have to make sure we take care of folks, but I don’t think the answer is going after sectors writ large,’ [Rep. Josh] Gottheimer said. ‘That makes no sense.’” [Zachary Warmbrodt, “Maxine Waters wants to investigate Trump, but her party may resist,” Politico, 11/19/18]

  • Gottheimer Also Cautioned That “Oversight” Couldn’t Be The Only Priority For the House Financial Services Committee. Gottheimer also “said the financial services panel ‘ought to be able to walk and chew gum.’ ‘There’s a good opportunity for more access to credit and housing reforms,’ he said. ‘Oversight’s important, but I just think we’ve got a broader responsibility.’” [Zachary Warmbrodt, “Maxine Waters wants to investigate Trump, but her party may resist,” Politico, 11/19/18]

Gottheimer Reportedly Tried To Block A Progressive Member Of Congress From New Jersey From Taking A Seat On The House Financial Services Committee.

Though He Denies the Allegation, Gottheimer Reportedly Blocked A Progressive Member Of Congress From His Own State From A Seat On This Powerful Committee, Saying The Other Member Wasn’t “Wanted…”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) Reportedly Blocked A Progressive Member of Congress From New Jersey From Joining The House Financial Services Committee Because “They Weren’t Wanted On The Committee” “A source with knowledge of the situation told The Intercept that Gottheimer was approached by a member of the New Jersey delegation with a more progressive profile, asking if Gottheimer would sponsor the lawmaker for the [House Financial Services Committee]. Gottheimer, according to the source, told the lawmaker that they weren’t wanted on the committee.” Gottheimer later denied the story and said he would love to have another member from New Jersey on the committee. [David Dayen, “HOUSE PROGRESSIVES ARE FACING AN UNEXPECTED PROBLEM IN THE QUEST FOR COMMITTEE POWER,” The Intercept, 11/21/18]

…While At The Same Time Recruiting Fellow Moderates To Join Him On The Financial Services Committee Dais.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) Has Been Recruiting Fellow Moderate Democrats To Join Him On The House Financial Services Committee. “Josh Gottheimer, a New Democrat from New Jersey, has been recruiting several ideological allies to join the panel, according to numerous sources who preferred to remain anonymous, as they are not authorized to speak publicly about committee politics. Gottheimer won a congressional seat in 2016 and immediately got on the Financial Services Committee. He received nearly $1 million in donations from the securities and investment banking industries during the 2018 cycle, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.” [David Dayen, “HOUSE PROGRESSIVES ARE FACING AN UNEXPECTED PROBLEM IN THE QUEST FOR COMMITTEE POWER,” The Intercept, 11/21/18]

Josh Gottheimer Defied His Constituents To Lead A Problem Solvers Insurgency Against Nancy Pelosi And Dilute The Power Of The New Democratic Majority

Josh Gottheimer Led A Group Of Moderate Democrats Who Held Nancy Pelosi’s Speakership Hostage To Demand “GOP-Friendly Rules”

Josh Gottheimer “Led” Centrist Opposition Against Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Bid For Speaker Of The House Until She Agreed To “Change House Rules To Make it Easier For Bipartisan Ideas To Be Considered.” “A group of moderate holdouts led by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer pledged to support Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi as speaker Wednesday after reaching an agreement to change House rules to make it easier for bipartisan ideas to be considered.” [Herb Jackson, “Group led by NJ House Democrat backs Pelosi for speaker after winning rules changes,” North Jersey Record, 11/28/18]

Josh Gottheimer And Democratic Members Of The Problem Solvers Caucus Said They Would Only Vote For A Speaker Who Would Support Certain Rules For The House. “Gottheimer and eight other members of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus had said before the election that they would only vote for a speaker who agreed to what they were calling a ‘break the gridlock’ package of new rules.” Herb Jackson, “Group led by NJ House Democrat backs Pelosi for speaker after winning rules changes,” North Jersey Record, 11/28/18]

  • Progressive Democrats Argued That Gottheimer And His Group Were Holding The Party “Hostage If We Don’t Accept Their GOP-Friendly Rules.” “9 Dems are choosing to hold the entire 220+ caucus hostage if we don’t accept their GOP-friendly rules that will hamstring healthcare efforts from the get-go. People sent us here to get things done, not “negotiate” with an admin that jails children and guts people’s healthcare.” [Tweet by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 11/23/18, accessed 12/05/18]
  • Other Critics Argued That Gottheimer Risked Distracting The New Democratic Majority With “A Bitter And Attention-Grabbing Internal Leadership Fight.” Critics of Gottheimer’s actions warned, “rather than […] focusing on a fresh agenda to present to Americans, House Democrats could be consumed with a bitter and attention-grabbing internal leadership fight.” [Eric Obernauer, “Gottheimer, Sherrill noncommittal on Pelosi,”New Jersey Herald, 11/20/18]

Leading Members Of The Problem Solvers Caucus Took $1,480,429 In Campaign Cash from the “Securities And Investment” Industry During the 2018 Election Cycle.

Nine Democratic Members Of The Problem Solvers Caucus Declared They Would Condition Their Vote For Nancy Pelosi As Speaker Of The House On Securing Rules Changes. “Nine centrist House Democrats are throwing another hurdle in the path of top party leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as she sprints toward the speaker’s gavel. It’s not an unexpected obstacle: The nine are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group formed to promote bipartisanship whose members agreed in September to condition their votes for any speaker candidate on support for a package of rules changes meant to improve how the House operates. Signing the letter are Reps. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), Darren Soto (Fla.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.) and Vicente Gonzalez (Tex.).” [Mike DeBonis, “Nine Democrats want promises from Pelosi in exchange for speaker votes,” The Washington Post, 11/13/18]

  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Josh Gottheimer’s Campaign Took $928,792 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Josh Gottheimer – New Jersey District 05,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Tom O’Halleran’s Campaign Took $76,203 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Tom O’Halleran – Arizona District 01,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Jim Costa’s Campaign Took $34,400 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Jim Costa – California District 16Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Kurt Schrader’s Campaign Took $32,400 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Kurt Schrader – Oregon District 05Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Dan Lipinski’s Campaign Took $53,050 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Daniel Lipinski – Illinois District 03,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Darren Soto’s Campaign Took $21,350 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Darren Soto – Florida District 09Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Stephanie Murphy’s Campaign Took $137,484 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Stephanie Murphy – Florida District 07,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Tom Suozzi’s Campaign Took $147,950 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Tom Suozzi – New York District 03,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]
  • During The 2018 Election Cycle, Vicente Gonzalez’s Campaign Took $48,800 From The “Securities And Investment” Industry.[“ Vicente Gonzalez – Texas District 15,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 12/12/18]

The Grassroots Constituents Who Helped To Re-Elect Gottheimer “Reacted Angrily” To His Plot And “Felt Really Betrayed And Really Hurt” By It

Josh Gottheimer’s Constituents Who Gave Him An Edge In His Re-Election “Reacted Angrily” To Gottheimer’s Initial Opposition To Nancy Pelosi. “[…] [G]rassroots groups that believe their efforts helped boost Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s re-election margin in North Jersey’s 5th District reacted angrily to the political hardball he and several colleagues on the moderate Problem Solvers Caucus played before supporting Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s quest to regain the gavel as speaker of the House.” [Herb Jackson, “They resisted Trump and pushed the blue wave. Now they’re pressuring Democrats,” North Jersey Record, 12/05/18]

Grassroots Organizations Who Helped Gottheimer By Canvassing 10,000 Doors Were “Upset” By His Opposition To Pelosi, And “Some Members Felt Ignored When They Called To Urge Gottheimer To Drop His Effort.” […] [L]eaders of grassroots groups that believe their canvassing and organizing helped Gottheimer increase his winning margin from 4 percentage points in 2016 to 12 points in 2018 said members were upset. Cathy Brienza, founder of Ridgewood JOLT, said her group knocked on 10,000 doors, and some members felt ignored when they called to urge Gottheimer to drop his effort.” [Herb Jackson, “They resisted Trump and pushed the blue wave. Now they’re pressuring Democrats,” North Jersey Record, 12/05/18]

  • Progressive Activists “Worked For Gottheimer Even Though They Don’t Agree With Him On Every Issue,” Particularly That He Votes In Line With Trump. “Anna Wong of Paramus, a leader of NJ5 Indivisible who is also on the board of Women for Progress and northeast regional director of Action Together NJ, said progressives worked for Gottheimer even though they don’t agree with him on every issue. Of all the Democrats in the state delegation, Gottheimer voted most often for positions favored by Trump.” [Herb Jackson, “They resisted Trump and pushed the blue wave. Now they’re pressuring Democrats,” North Jersey Record, 12/05/18]
  • “But Gottheimer built a voting record as the Democrat in New Jersey’s delegation most likely to vote with the Republicans, and he aggressively worked to be seen in the Republican parts of the district as trying to “claw back,” as he put it, federal funds for local needs such as firefighting equipment.” [Herb Jackson, “New Jersey Democrats rode a blue wave to the House, but how long will they stay?,” North Jersey Record, 11/09/18]

Progressive Activists “‘Felt Really Betrayed And Hurt When [Gottheimer] Started Making Public Demands Of The Speaker.'” Anna Wong, A New Jersey Leader Of Indivisible, said, “‘Progressive forces wanted to take the House back, and hundreds of volunteers worked for six months, and they felt really betrayed and hurt when he started making public demands of the speaker.'” [Herb Jackson, “They resisted Trump and pushed the blue wave. Now they’re pressuring Democrats,” North Jersey Record, 12/05/18]

No Labels, The Parent Organization of Gottheimer’s Problem Solvers Caucus, Has Spent Millions To Elect House Republicans And Nearly Started A Campaign To Demonize Nancy Pelosi.

No Labels, The Parent Organization Of Gottheimer’s Problem Solvers Caucus, Nearly Started A Campaign To Brand Nancy Pelosi As A “Bogeyman” Because Her Endorsement Of A Centrist Problem Solvers Caucus Member Wasn’t Full-Throated Enough

The House Problem Solvers Caucus Was “Born Out Of Meetings… Organized By No Labels.” The House Problem Solvers Caucus “was born out of meetings of congresspeople organized by No Labels, which was founded in 2010 as a bipartisan group, backed by wealthy donors, ostensibly dedicated to civility and good government. Nancy Jacobson, Penn’s wife, is the No Labels CEO, and Penn is also closely involved with the group. Gottheimer was elected to Congress in 2016 and co-founded the caucus, with Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., shortly thereafter.” [Ryan Grim, “WHO’S THE MYSTERY MAN BEHIND THE LATEST PELOSI PUTSCH? IT’S MARK PENN,”The Intercept, 11/26/18]

No Labels Considered A Concerted Effort To Make Nancy Pelosi A ‘Bogeyman'” Because She Wasn’t Enthusiastic Enough In Her Endorsement Of A Democratic Problem Solvers Caucus Member. “Internal communications reviewed by The Daily Beast show that early this year the group No Labels, a centrist advocacy organization, contemplated a plan to kneecap Pelosi’s political standing. In one exchange, a top official with the group even laid out the pros and cons of turning the California Democrat into a ‘bogeyman.'” [Sam Stein And Lachlan Markay, “Centrist Group Behind Pelosi Holdouts Plotted to Make Her ‘Bogeyman,’The Daily Beast, 11/26/18]

  • “Emails obtained by The Daily Beast show that No Labels leadership contemplated a campaign to attack Pelosi aggressively after the primary campaign of centrist Rep. Dan Lipinski, who faced a primary challenge this year from Marie Newman, a progressive political neophyte. Lipinski’s pro-life stance had alienated a number of Democrats, but he was a proud member of the No Labels-backed House Problem-Solvers Caucus, and the group worked through a network of allied super PACs to support his reelection bid.” [Sam Stein And Lachlan Markay, “Centrist Group Behind Pelosi Holdouts Plotted to Make Her ‘Bogeyman,’The Daily Beast, 11/26/18]

No Labels Has Sought Funding From Prominent Backers Of Donald Trump, and In 2018, Their SuperPAC spent Over $2.5 Million To Support “Vulnerable House Republicans.”

No Labels Has Sought Funding From The Likes Of David Koch, Paul Singer, And “top supporters of President Donald Trump, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, businessman Foster Friess, and Home Depot founder Ken Langone.” “According to internal documents obtained by The Daily Beast, No Labels encouraged financiers known for backing hyperpartisan causes to back its own super PACs. Among those courted were individuals who’ve bankrolled massive parts of the Republican Party’s infrastructure, including David Koch, former AIG head Hank Greenberg, and billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer; as well as top supporters of President Donald Trump, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, businessman Foster Friess, and Home Depot founder Ken Langone.” [Sam Stein and Lachlan Markay, “How No Labels Went From Preaching Unity to Practicing the Dark Arts,” The Daily Beast, 12/03/18]

Josh Gottheimer Has Recognized In His Own Press Releases That No Labels Runs The Problem Solvers Caucus

Josh Gottheimer Referred To The Caucus As “No Labels’ Problem Solvers Caucus” In His Press Release Announcing His Co-Chairmanship Of The Group.“Gottheimer was appointed co-chairman of No Labels’ Problem Solvers Caucus, an independent group of dozens of U.S. Republican and Democrat congress members who will work together find areas of commonality on key issues.” [Press Release, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, 02/04/17]

Josh Gottheimer Also Referred To The Caucus Plainly As “No Labels” In A Press Release.The Release Was Titled, “Congressman Gottheimer Welcomes Senators Collins And Manchin As Honorary Co-Chairs Of No Labels.” [Press Release, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, 11/07/17]

No Labels Has Its Own Site To Promote The Problem Solvers Caucus. No Labels Runs A Website On The Problem Solvers Caucus. [“Problem Solvers,” No Labels, Accessed 01/09/19]

Wall Street And Corporate America Gave Nearly $5 Million To No Labels In 2017

Wall Street And Corporate America Gave Nearly $4.8 Million To No Labels In 2017. “According to internal documents obtained by The Daily Beast, some of the most prominent executives from Fortune 500 companies and leading financial-services firms have contributed to No Labels’ 501(c)(4) dark-money group and its affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable arm. […] All told, the document revealed that donors had pledged to give $4,792,000 to the No Labels nonprofit arm in 2017.” [Sam Stein and Lachlan Markay, “How No Labels Went From Preaching Unity to Practicing the Dark Arts,” The Daily Beast, 12/03/18]

In 2018, The No Labels Super PAC “Spent More Than $2.5 Million… To Buck Up Vulnerable House Republicans.” “The No Labels super PAC, an outside group funded heavily by rich Chicago mega-donors, spent more than $2.5 million in the 2018 campaign to buck up vulnerable House Republicans hoping to retain their positions in the face of the blue wave. Several vulnerable GOP incumbents held on, thanks in part to this group’s largess. The biggest beneficiary, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), narrowly won after the group spent nearly $600,000 to help re-elect him, though six-figure “independent expenditures” for Republican Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida ($436,965), Leonard Lance of New Jersey ($420,712), and Mike Coffman of Colorado ($369,935) were not enough to save their seats.” [Josh Israel, “‘No Labels’ spent $2.5 million against House Democratic majority, now wants veto on their leadership,” Think Progress, 11/26/18]

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