WASHINGTON — Credit unions may need to mend some fences with Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), who told the NAFCU Congressional Caucus Thursday his feelings were hurt during the primary season when the California Credit Union League wrote a $250,000 check to his opponent, former Arrowhead Credit Union executive Pete Aguilar, despite Miller’s “100% record” voting for credit union issues.
Democrat Aguilar failed to get enough votes to advance to the general election, but Miller did.
Miller said the endorsement was short sighted because had Aguilar won, he would be unlikely as a freshman representative to score a House Financial Services subcommittee chairman position; Miller currently chairs the subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.
Additionally, Miller said he has yet to hear from the League about the decision to back his opponent.
“If someone did that to you, would you support them?” he asked the audience.
Bob Arnould, senior vice president of Government Affairs for the CCUL, disputed Miller’s account, saying the league donated $135,000 to Aguilar from its Super PAC, Restoring Our Community.
Additionally, the league has since donated the maximum $5,000 PAC contribution to Miller’s general election campaign, and a league lobbyist attended one of Miller’s campaign events in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.
According to campaign donation tracking website OpenSecrets.org, the CCUL’s SuperPAC donated $201,325 to Aguilar in addition to a $5,000 maximum donation from its traditional PAC. OpenSecrets, which last updated Miller’s PAC donations as of Sept. 3, had no record of a recent donation from the CCUL. NAFCU’s PAC donated $3,500 to Miller’s campaign this year, according to the site.
Arnould said he’s sorry the congressman’s feelings were hurt by the league’s support of Aguilar, who would have been the first former credit union employee to be elected to Congress.
Arnould said in addition to the league’s post-primary support, CUNA has also met with Miller and his staff, “but I guess we’ll try to reach out to him again.”
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