What was not included in the article (and that I conveyed to the reporter) was that I agree with IAVA on many, many issues including TBI and PTSD care. I admire the work that IAVA has done (their staff in DC busts their asses for us vets) and Paul Rieckhoff and I have teamed up on issues. In fact, there may be some of you that I had steered to IAVA in order to avoid going down the IVAW or VoteVets route.
Congressional Quarterly Weekly
Vets Group Gives McCain Bad Scores for Votes He Missed
By Shawn Zeller
A month before Election Day, a prominent veterans’ service organization gave Sen. Barack Obama a bit of a lift with a grade of “B” for his votes on issues important to veterans over the past two years and, more significant, handed his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, a “D.”
Since then, the grades by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, or IAVA, have drawn a great deal of criticism from some conservative veterans — a traditional Republican constituency — and raised the issue, which has been debated in past campaigns, of how much interest-group scorecards can be trusted, particularly in this election cycle, which saw many senators campaigning for the presidency and therefore missing many votes.
“To say Sen. McCain doesn’t support veterans is a little silly,” says Matt Burden... “On a scorecard, it’s definitely irresponsible.”
Burden argues that McCain’s poor grade is deceiving because on every vote for which he was present, he supported IAVA’s position. But the Arizona senator missed six votes the group graded, and because he was not a cosponsor of the new G.I. Bill that Congress passed last June, he was placed on IAVA’s ignominious “D List.”
But Burden says what really bothers him about IAVA’s report card is its insistence that its grades are nonpartisan. He points to IAVA’s funding: Jonathan Soros, son of liberal financier George Soros, is sponsoring the group’s annual dinner next month. At the same time, the IAVA uses technology provided by Democracy in Action, a self-described “progressive nonprofit” that provides discount services to liberal groups. And, Burden points out, Rieckhoff once delivered the Democratic response to one of President Bush’s radio addresses.
“Unfortunately for some folks,” says Rieckhoff in reply, “they view the truth as a partisan issue. Our goal is to have both parties coming to us. We’re not working for the Democrats or the Republicans. We are working for veterans.”