Campaign 2010

Aug 09, 2010

Dan Lungren’s Future Career Choice: Stand-Up Comedian

Clearly, Dan Lungren is auditioning for a future in stand-up comedy.  How else to explain Lungren’s comment that he, who has been an elected official for 23 of the past 31 years, "stand[s] for change."

In fact, this "change" candidate was first elected to Congress in 1978 from Long Beach.  He served as California’s attorney general, ran for governor, and is now back again running for his fourth term representing California’s 3rd Congressional district.

Now that Dan Lungren, with all his years as a professional politician, with a stint as a Washington lobbyist sprinkled in, stands for change, the question is, what decisions in his past would Lungren like to change?

  • Would it be his very public and vociferous support for a Congressional pay hike and his statement that “we do a job worth a significant amount of money”?
  • Could it be the nearly $12,000 in pay raises he’s welcomed in the last five years?
  • Maybe it was the use of “the bomb shelter” during his tenure as attorney general – his steel-enforced, big-enough-for-two-cars parking space – which was dismantled immediately after Lungren left office.  Or perhaps it was his practice of forcing aides and employees to clear out of the building elevators upon his arrival at the office so that he could enjoy an uninterrupted ride to the 17th floor.
  • It could have been his argument that “I didn’t run for office to do anything for you” in response to a question at a town hall meeting.
  • Or maybe, just maybe, it was Lungren’s skirting of House ethics rules in 2008 to take a special interest-funded junket to Hawaii which led to his shirtless, poolside appearance on ABC News.

"Dan Lungren’s extensive experience as a politician, his long history in office and his years of out-of-touch actions and decisions make his claim to be the candidate of ‘change’ not just ridiculous, but downright laughable.  In fact, you may not know it to look at him, but Dan Lungren obviously has a bright future on the comedy club circuit," said Andy Stone, Western Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Background

  • In an Aug. 8 Los Angeles Times story, Lungren claimed, “I stand for change.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/8/10]
  • Lungren testified in front of a special Congressional commission in favor of a pay increase for members of Congress.  He argued that “[members of Congress] do a job worth a significant amount of money.” [New York Times, 5/29/86; Los Angeles Times, 1/4/88]
  • During his tenure as Attorney General, Lungren made use of “the bomb shelter,” a double-wide, steel-enforced parking space.  The San Francisco Chronicle reported that department staffers would have to clear out of the elevators upon Lungren’s arrival at the office to ensure his uninterrupted ride to the 17th floor. [San Francisco Chronicle, 1/12/99]
  • At a town hall meeting, Lungren says to a questioner, “I didn’t run for office to do anything for you.” [Sacramento Bee, 10/20/08]
  • When Lungren returned to Congress in 2005, he earned $162,100 as a Congressional salary. Today, Lungren earns a Congressional salary of $174,000, an increase of $11,900. [Congressional Research Service; Washington Post, 6/28/07]