While Congressman Tom Allen has been busy chastising fellow Maine lawmakers for how they voted in a post on Maine liberal blog Turn Maine Blue, he has missed 19 votes in Congress over the course of the past week, instead choosing to pursue “political activities”.
According to Allen communications director Mark Sullivan, the Congressman missed the 19 floor votes in the U.S. House on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week because he was “engaged in political activities” that took him away from Washington. When pressed whether “political activities” means that Allen was campaigning for the U.S. Senate instead of voting, Sullivan deferred the question to Allen’s campaign staff.
Allen is challenging Senator Susan Collins for her senate seat. Collins is one of just ten senators who have not missed a vote so far during this congress.
UPDATE: Congressman Allen’s whereabouts for at least part of the week have been discovered. According to a diarist at liberal blog MyDD, Maine’s 1st district representative was in Pacific Palisades, California earlier this week at a fundraising event for his senate campaign:
A couple of evenings ago I took the plunge and blew most of this year’s donation budget to spend an evening a fundraiser for Democratic Congressman and candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Maine currently held by Susan Collins, Tom Allen.
The format of the event was an hour of heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks to allow for mingling and conversation, including the Congressman, followed by a buffet dinner with seating in the back yard of an elegant home in the Pacific Palisades.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The Maine Republican Party has picked up on the story, issuing the following press release today:
The U.S. House this week reconvened to consider issues important to our nation such as Terrorism Risk Insurance and affordable housing. But Maine’s 1st Congressional district was lacking something important: representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tom Allen missed an additional 19 votes this week so he could spend more time campaigning, bringing his totalof missed votes to 129. .
Maine Republican Party Chairman Mark Ellis said, “We were relieved when Tom Allen returned to work today to learn that he is good health and we welcome him back. But to miss 19 consecutive votes in a row for fundraising and campaigning more than a year before the election is inexcusable. This shows that Congressman Allen cares more about being a candidate than he does about doing his job.”
Chairman Ellis concluded, “The House of Representatives has only had votes on 9 of the last 45 days. Congressman Allen missed three of those days of voting completely. Couldn’t he have scheduled his campaign events for the other 36 days? I think Mainers deserve to know the answer to the question, ‘Where was Tom.'”