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Benishek in Hot Water With Anti-Medicare Friends Over ‘Giving In’ to Nurses

02.13.2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News From Michigan Nurses Association
Contact: Dawn Kettinger, (517) 614-6810, dawn@progressmichigan.org

Conservative PAC demands campaign donation back after he claims he knew nothing of posh fundraiser

OKEMOS – Congressman Dan Benishek (R-Crystal Falls) accepted an invitation to be honored at the $1,000-per-host “Scotch and Cigars” political fundraiser last week in Washington, D.C., but backed out when the Michigan Nurses Association put his out-of-touch behavior in the spotlight, the PAC’s spokesman said. Now the PAC is demanding that he refund their campaign donation.

“The Michigan Nurses Association called Dr. Benishek out on attending this event because his constituents are sick of having an out-of-touch Congressman who ignores their struggles and obsesses over killing Medicare,” said John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “It looks likely that Dr. Benishek planned to attend ‘Scotch and Cigars’ but then realized how bad it would look back home. He can still redeem himself by admitting the truth and doing as nurses asked, which is to donate $1,000 to a clinic in his district that serves lower-income residents and families who can’t afford health care.”

The fundraiser was hosted by One Nation PAC, which shares Benishek’s goals, including dismantling Medicare as we know it. 

Michigan Nurses Association revealed Benishek’s plans and called on him to donate $1,000 – the host price of admission to the party – to a health care clinic in Michigan’s First Congressional District.

Despite being listed on the official event invitation as an honoree as the “Scotch and Cigars” fundraiser, Benishek back-pedaled, with his staff telling MLive he had no knowledge of it. However, he was honored last year at the same event hosted annually during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC.

“They are denying even knowing about the party when the congressman was confirmed," One Nation PAC spokesman Kelly Eustis said in Politico. "He attended last year also."

As a result of “giving in to the nurses union,” the PAC is asking for Benishek to return its $200 contribution to his campaign.

Last year, Dr. Benishek voted for the Ryan plan to dismantle Medicare and change it to a voucher-based system; increase the eligibility age; and increase out-of-pocket costs for 111,000 individuals in the First Congressional District between the ages of 44 and 54[i]. Benishek currently represents eight of the 10 counties in Michigan with the highest rate of uninsured residents.

The Michigan Nurses Association represents more than 1,400 registered nurses who live and work throughout Benishek’s district, including at Marquette General Hospital, Chippewa County War Memorial Hospital, and Alpena Regional Medical Center.

MNA members are working to improve the quality of life for all in Michigan with their Main Street Contract for the American People, a nonpartisan campaign asking Benishek and other elected officials to put the interests of Michigan’s workers and families above those of the greedy Wall Street CEOs and corporations who crashed our economy.

The Main Street Contract supports priorities to rebuild our state and country, including jobs at living wages; quality education; guaranteed health care; secure retirement; good housing and protection from hunger; a safe and healthy environment; and a just taxation system where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share, including a tax on financial transactions.  More information is available at www.fightformainstreet.org.

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The Michigan Nurses Association, www.minurses.org, represents more than 10,000 registered nurses across the state, advocating for them and their patients.

[i] http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=page/district-by-district-impact-of-republican-medicare-plan-and-medicaid-cuts