Political Notebook

Democrat challengers for Valley congressional seats sound similar on ethics

San Joaquin Valley's Democrat congressional challengers are endorsing similar campaign pledges on the issue of ethics -- and they're getting called on it by Republicans.

Amanda Renteria, who is challenging freshman Rep. David Valadao, R-Tulare, and Michael Eggman, who is taking on Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, have both in recent days made public their support for ethics packages. Renteria calls hers the "Amanda Plan to Make Congress Work," while Eggman calls his "Michael Eggman's No Perks Pledge."

Both adopt a populist tone in denouncing Capitol Hill services, like members-only gyms and barber shops. Both say legislators should not be paid if the government shuts down.

The two challengers, also diverge in some proposals. Eggman, for instance, calls for an end to the publicly funded mailers allowed under the congressional frank. Renteria, who formerly worked on Capitol Hill, does not explicitly address congressional mailings, which date back to the first Congress in 1789. Eggman calls for an end to "luxurious" congressional pensions; Renteria does not.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton said the similar pledges showed the Valley challengers "take their marching orders and talking points from Nancy Pelosi and Washington special interests."

Copy-cat language, though, comes from both parties. Last month, for instance, the NRCC blasted out essentially identical press releases in which a GOP spokesman denounced, one after another, specific California Democrats for not opposing the Obama administration's "cap and trade scheme."