Big Lobbyist Pay-Day For Kendrick Meek
Will they be working for the same special interests in the Senate?
When Kendrick Meek (D-FL) got caught taking legalized bribes from a Boston developer working on a shady project in his south Florida district, he had no trouble vowing to donate the money to charity. Afterall, since Meek first took over his mother's congressional seat in a sneaky maneuver that precluded any opposition, in 2002 he's sucked up over $3.5 million, about half of it from PACs and an immense amount from special interest groups. The sector "donating" the most has been the most corrupt of all, the financial/insurance/real estate sector (nearly half a million dollars!), although Big Pharma, AgriBusiness, Tobacco and assorted lobbysists recognize an easy touch when they see one and together have lavished over a million dollars on his easy campaigns. Easy? He's never had an opponent; that easy.
The $5,500 is peanuts for Meek, who raised more than $1 million for his lightly contested 2006 reelection campaign. And he denied that the $5,500 in contributions influenced his actions in any way. But his decision to give away the cash demonstrates Meek’s concerns about his connections to the project and to Dennis Stackhouse of Boston, who along with his wife accounted for $5,000 of the sum.
Meek’s decision to donate the money comes in the wake of local media reports questioning the financing and stewardship of the project.
It gets worse:
[Kendrick's mom and predecessor] U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, who has a street named after her just blocks from the proposed park, received at least $40,000 from one of Stackhouse's companies, a leased Cadillac Escalade and a 2,600-square-foot office for her foundation, rent-free.
But the money just rolls in-- and Meek maintains a passably mediocre voting record for someone in a strongly Democratic district, helping out special interests and ignoring working families whenever he feels he can get away with it. This year ProgressivePunch has him at an 80 out of 100, a distinctly non-progressive record. And his corruption is barely noticed by anyone-- either that or people have such low expectations from politicians that they think there is nothing better to expect.
Washington lobbyists, on the other hand, know exactly what to expect from Meek-- and they love him. Just last year lobbyists donated $30,000 to Meek's "campaign" (another one with no opponent). And last night some of DC's most disreputable and sleazy lobbyists hosted a gala fundraiser for him ($1,000/head) at Current, the sushi bar at 1215 Connecticut Avenue, Inside-the-Beltway, of course. We weren't able to find out how much loot Meek hauled in but judging by the list of pirates throwing the bash, it's probably a six figure number. Among Meek's pals are a rogues' gallery of DC Establishment corruptionists. Abramoff is in prison but look at this repulsive list of competitors for his title as DC's king of sleaze:
Kimberly Woodward, a lobbyist for WalMart;
Angela Riemer, a lobbyist for Wyeth;
Darlene Richeson, owner of Darlene Richeson & Associates, a very suspect Telecomm and Health Issues Lobbying firm that seems to specialize in getting African-American Democrats like Al Wynn and David Scott to vote for corporate initiatives generally supported by Republicans;
Chaka Burgess, a lobbyist for Amgen who seems to favor easily corruptible Blue Dogs like Jason Altmire, Brad Ellsworth and Heath Shuler;
Joyce Brayboy, a lobbyist at the Glover Park Group who's job is to round up African-American votes for their sleazy and predatory clients (Verizon, Visa Card, Pfizer, and Pizza Hut);
Engel Burns, another Big Pharma lobbyist, this one from Sepracor;
Isaac Fordjour, and another "health" lobbyist, this one a partner in Tarplin Downs & Young;
Lauryl Jackson, a lobbyist for Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers;
Jesse Price, lobbyist for Eli Lilly
Tami Jackson, lobbyist for Dupont
A word to the wise: if Meek gets the Democratic nomination for Senate, it would probably be handing the seat to a Republican but even if he did win, it would just mean another worthless senator who looks out for the same special interests that Republicans take such good care of.