Smile Politely

Introducing The Johnson Watch

Who is Timothy V. Johnson?

He represents you in Congress. Although just one voice among 435, the man has leverage in deciding where your tax money goes, how (and if) the environment is protected, what laws will be applied to what parts of a woman’s body, who will be bombed, and what wall separates the lives of private citizens from the prying eye of the National Security Agency.

Being a member of congress is an important job. So politely asks, “Who is Tim Johnson, and what is he doing in Washington in our name?”

Johnson has kept a low profile while in congress, making few speeches and keeping mum during committee hearings.

In 1998, Johnson (while a state legislator) was criticized by his Democratic opponent for allegedly jamming a paper clip into his voting button so he could vote along Republican party lines while out of the chamber.

Interestingly, once Mr. Johnson went to Washington he hasn’t always walked a conservative line. In 2007, the right-leaning John Birch Society and Traditional Values Coalition both gave Johnson a 50 percent rating. The year before, John Birch only gave Johnson a 27 percent rating while the Traditional Values Coalition gave him an 85 percent rating.

Notably, Johnson was the only Republican member of the House to vote against the FISA Amendment Act of 2008 that granted telecommunications companies that participated in Bush Administration warrantless wiretaps immunity from lawsuits.

As a member of Congress, Johnson has managed to get very few bills passed. The bills he has sponsored have focused on obscure or provincial issues. Most notably, Johnson sponsored a bill that would have kept the National Collegiate Athletic Association from telling the University of Illinois that it needs to axe the controversial Chief Illiniwek mascot. Johnson has also brought home a relatively modest amount of congressional earmarks.

As the clocks ticks down to what promises to be a historic election, Smile Politely will be running a series of articles taking a hard look at the public record of the man who represents Illinois’ 15th district.

I will be asking: How has Johnson voted on pressing issues, and why? Who is helping get him elected, and who is helping in Congress?

All of this will be done to help you answer the most pressing question of all: does he deserve your vote?

More Articles