Chocola does Toomey's legwork, responds to Specter

New Club for Growth President Chris Chocola has taken up former president Pat Toomey's exchange with Sen. Arlen Specter over the Club's membership.

Toomey is challenging Specter in the 2010 Pennsylvania GOP primary. In the last couple weeks, the race has gotten off to a fast start as Toomey, a former Congressman who also challenged Specter in 2004, and the senator have traded salvos.

The latest was a letter that Specter sent to Toomey at the Club for Growth asking him to turn over members of the club who have received TARP funds. Toomey has criticized Specter's vote in favor of the funds.

Chocola, a former Republican congressman from Indiana who was just named president of the group on Monday, responded in kind on Tuesday. In a letter to Specter, Chocola said flatly that no members have received bailout funds.

"The Club for Growth is a 40,000 member grassroots national organization with members in all 50 states," Chocola wrote. "We have a policy of not accepting corporate or labor union contributions, and such donations are banned under our bylaws. Therefore, since corporations and labor unions may not donate or become members, none of our members have received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)."

Hmmm. I wonder if this is the beginning of a tag team effort between Chocola and the Club for Growth and Toomey's campaign...

Check out the full letter after the jump.
The Honorable Arlen Specter
United States Senate
SH-711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Specter:

As the new president of the Club for Growth, I am in receipt of your faxed letter dated April 3, 2009 inquiring about the membership of the Club. I am happy to respond.

The Club for Growth is a 40,000 member grassroots national organization with members in all 50 states. We are dedicated to the principles of promoting individual freedom, limited government, and economic growth. We have a policy of not accepting corporate or labor union contributions, and such donations are banned under our bylaws. Therefore, since corporations and labor unions may not donate or become members, none of our members have received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

We do not inquire with our 40,000 individual members about their personal finances, so we do not know how many of our members, if any, have received compensation from institutions that have received TARP funds. In the event that any members did receive such income, they surely do not have the Club for Growth to thank for it, as we were -- and remain -- among the most vocal opponents of the legislation. We do not believe taxpayers should be hit with the burden of bailing out failed corporations, whether on Wall Street, the Detroit automakers, or anywhere else.

At the Club for Growth, we very much welcome the opportunity to sit down with Members of Congress and educate them about the importance of safeguarding taxpayers against the dangers of corporate bailouts. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you, and hope that you would change your mind when the next round of Wall Street bailouts is proposed. Such a meeting would also be a good chance to discuss why you supported the Obama stimulus plan, and give me a chance to urge you to oppose the next round of debt-laden