Hey Mr. Bilbray, about that cigar club ...
Dear Congressman Bilbray: It’s about the Congressional Cigar Association. What were you thinking?
We applaud you for your service, but wonder sometimes about your thought processes. When you told the Union-Tribune that you set it up so staffers could network and to “encourage dialogue about Central America and its manufacturing industry,” how could you imagine anything called a Cigar Association would NOT attract lobbyists.
If nothing else, why didn’t you — or your staffers who were getting involved — ask a few more questions before diving in head first? That’s what we pay you to do.
Our position is not about partisanship or how connected to the group you were — or are. It’s about the implication of your name being associated with a group that has an industry’s name attached to it.
It’s also about why a congressman who represents communities that have taken a strong stand on smoking in public (including your home base of Solana Beach, which was the first city in the state to enforce smoke-free beach rules), would even consider an association with the cigar industry.
At the very least, you need to use the same diligence with future associations that you do in challenging immigration laws during Congressional hearings.