Freshman Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao's nay vote on President Barack Obama's health care bill was not expected to go over well in his district, but he found himself taking fire from an unexpected foe: seven-term Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee. Meeks recorded a robo-call directed at New Orleans voters, declaring "Congressman Cao stood with the insurance companies and Republicans in Washington instead of standing up for hardworking families he represents."
Meeks isn't the best person to peddle this message in Louisiana, however. In 2005, he set up a charity to assist Katrina families. The group, New Yorkers Organized to Assist Hurricane Families (NOAH-F), raised $31,000, and Meeks had promised "every dime" would go to displaced Katrina victims. However, a February 2010 investigation by the New York Post found NOAH-F had dispersed only $1,392 of that total to Katrina families under a line item called "hurricane victim expense." Meeks had no comment at the time, but on March 16, he told New York news channel NY1, "I was not in charge of administering the funds. It was a community organization." He added, "I'd love to have you come to my office to show you the files of individuals we helped." (A Post reporter went over to Meeks' office but was not allowed inside.)
Asked to comment, Cao did not directly address Meeks, but said, "I'm working very hard to serve the needs of the district and my constituents. I'm particularly focused on the recovery of Orleans and Jefferson parishes. I do not have time for partisan game playing. The voters know that I've sided with President Obama on more than two of every three votes in the House, that I voted in favor of the House version of health care reform, and that I voted against the Senate bill mainly because it failed to address a number of my concerns, especially the lack of a strong provision against federal funding for abortion." — Kevin Allman