Will GOP Voters Care That Rubio Has Been Taking Massive Bribes From The Sugar Industry For His Entire Sleazy Career?
Rubio has been super-careful to never pose for a picture with any Fanjuls but after a recent speech about being the son of a bartender, he headed straight into the arms of Pepe
• Feb 11, 2015- Alfie Fanjul gives the DCCC $33,400 at Debbie Wasserman Schultz's requestOn that same June 30, Pepe, Emilia and Alex Fanjul all wrote huge checks to Rubio for his campaign, several of which were returned for being over the legal limits. That's because 5 days earlier, Emilia Fanjul had given Rubio a $2,700 check and the day before Alex Fanjul had given Rubio $3,240 and Pepe had given him $2,700, making their June 30 checks illegal. June, in fact, saw over a dozen instances of Fanjul family members writing illegal checks to Rubio that had to be returned. Earlier in the month Pepe gave Boehner two $2,700 checks, the same day he wrote another one to the NRCC for $19,600 (June 8, 2015). The bribes to Republicans and Democrats, primarily from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, have been unceasing and have amounted to millions of dollars, much of it directed from Fanjul allies Marco Rubio and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The Fanjuls also finance the Florida Sugar Cane League which has funneled millions more to eager politicians from both parties, particularly to corrupt Members on the Agriculture Committee like Minnesota Blue Dog Collin Peterson, Frank Lucas (R-OK), Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), Steve King (R-IA), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY), Mike Bost (R-IL), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), and David Rouzer (R-NC).
• May 1, 2015- Pepe Fanjul gives the NRSC $33,400 at Marco Rubio's request
• June 30, 2015, Alfie Fanjul gives the DSCC $32,400 at Chuck Schumer's request
When Rubio published An American Son, his self-serving autobiography, which is more like a product description, than what anyone would call "a book," he went out of his way to thank the Fanjuls.
As expected, Rubio’s biography was tedious and un-noteworthy. The actual writing, for someone who claims to have done it himself is far from anything that might suggest he has any gift for rhetoric or oratory skills, something that we might hope for in a president. Ultimately he seems very plain vanilla, uninspiring and no more or less qualified than any other junior member of Congress, albeit with a somewhat delusional neocon point of view.As Florida environmental activist Alan Farago explained for HuffPo readers yesterday, the lid is coming off the hush-hush world of grotesque corruption between Big Sugar (the Fanjuls) and Florida politics. Farago points out that Grover Norquist declared that ending the sugar subsidy in the Farm Bill was his top priority, after cutting taxes. Norquist called the sugar subsidy, 'cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty.' But without those subsidies, the Fanjuls would not have financed the rise to political power for mediocre characters like Rubio and Wasserman Schultz. And now Ted Cruz wants to use the issue to destroy Rubio. As Bill Moyers told his followers, after Tuesday's debate, "Cruz pointed to sugar subsidies as a prime example of crony capitalism-- a semi-subtle dig at Floridian opponent Marco Rubio, the sugar industry's man in Washington. Rubio argued yesterday that doing away with our subsidies would mean surrendering American jobs, but neither liberal nor conservative commentators are buying that defense."
Perhaps the most enlightening pages of the book come in the acknowledgements where Mr. Rubio explicitly thanks The Fanjul brothers, with a second nod to Norman Braman and then a final shout out to Jesus Christ. In the post-Citizen’s United world we would all really like to know who is bankrolling our politicians and thereby whose interest they will be beholden to.
I happen to agree with many of Braman’s positions and causes, but I am adamantly opposed to the idea that Rubio basically owes his entire existence to one man. As the NY Times reported in 2008 Rubio had a net worth of $8,000 and by 2013 he had $450k in liabilities. Braman has personally bankrolled Rubio and Rubio’s wife, actually giving them jobs, they are and or have been employees of Braman. While the only overtly obvious muscle Rubio has pulled for Braman is getting the $80 million for the University of Miami Cancer Center approved, the relative ease with which it was accomplished bodes ominously.
Rubio got his superpac up and running in April of this year, I think it would be reasonable to expect that both Braman and the Fanjuls, among many others have given their strong financial support... Braman helped to kill expansion of public transport in Miami and the Fanjul’s well, they own sugar, cutting down and draining the everglades, sugarcane and all that, among other very questionable business practices.
So far, just this year, these are the dozen biggest recipients in the House of Big Sugar bribes:
Big Sugar's perks amount to legalized corruption of the campaign finance system. In Florida, Big Sugar money influence is so great that the industry acts in the state capitol as a shadow government. What Big Sugar wants, it gets. These days, a solid GOP majority in the state legislature, Gov. Rick Scott, and [Agriculture Secretary] Adam Putnam...are so deep in Big Sugar's pocket, you can't even see them. Not that Floridians are looking.
GOP donors Pepe and Emilia
...It is a sign of desperation that Jeb Bush, trailing his dispirited exclamation point like a wet blanket, has called for the end to the sugar subsidy that keeps domestic sugar at nearly twice the price of world markets and provides profits to sugar billionaires like the Fanjuls of Coral Gables and Palm Beach with seed for next season's crop of political hopefuls. In eight years as governor, Jeb Bush was as unfailing a friend to Big Sugar as Mitch McConnell to Big Coal in Kentucky.
Marco Rubio owes his political existence to Big Sugar. He carried the industry's water in the 2003 attempt through the state legislature to up-end the Everglades settlement agreement, helping Jeb Bush in passing a new law that was subsequently over-turned through federal litigation by environmentalists, derided as "The Everglades Whenever Act." After Gov. Charlie Crist tried to buyout more than 130,000 acres of US Sugar lands, the Fanjuls threw their full weight (and money) to Rubio-- then fighting Crist for the US Senate.
So it is no surprise that Marco Rubio will parrot whatever lines he is fed by Big Sugar. Most recently, their line of defense was that protectionism is necessary on grounds of "national security". Rubio complained, "We will not unilaterally disarm"; meaning surrender sugar profits to Brazil. For the first time, though, blowing Big Sugar's smoke doesn't seem to be holding.
Rubio's specious argument is not just an easy target for Cruz. Conservatives who fund political campaigns are being asked-- through this disruptive GOP presidential primary-- to take the litmus test themselves.
Although we have been saying for a long, long time-- Big Sugar poisons people, poisons democracy and poisons the Everglades-- the only way to describe what it feels like in Florida to have the sugar subsidy in the spotlight is: OMG.
And these are the dozen crooks in the House who took the biggest bribes from Big Sugar last cycle:
Notice that after two of their most corrupt Florida congressmen failed to win reelection in 2016, despite Fanjul contributions-- Miami-Dade New Dem Joe Garcia and Panhandle teabagger Steve Southerland-- the slippery Fanjuls instantly started filling the pockets of the winners, two more arch corruptionists, Republican Carlos Curbelo and Blue Dog Gwen Graham.
But if you think the Rubio's sugar problems stem from a biased "left wing media," check out yesterday's evisceration of Rubio at the far right National Review, where, referencing the photo above, Elaina Plott wrote that "[w]hen Marco Rubio announced his bid for president in April, he delivered a message of opportunity. He lamented the increasingly hollow promise of the American Dream, as small-business owners find themselves crippled by “the weight of more taxes, more regulations, and more government.” He walked off the stage to thunderous applause and into the embrace of Jose “Pepe” Fanjul, the billionaire sugar baron who for years now has helped bankroll Rubio’s political career." At least Rubio's financial relationship with Braman hasn't caused Rubio to "adjust his political positions to serve Braman’s interests," unlike in the Fanjul case. "Ted Cruz," she wrote, "sparked the wires in Tuesday’s Fox Business debate in Milwaukee, throwing a veiled jab at Rubio’s support for the federal sugar subsidies from which the Fanjuls profit, which cost nearly $2 billion annually." Although most Americans understand what a bribe is, the Rubio campaign dismissed Cruz's broadside, his sleazy-bag manager, Terry Sullivan, telling reporters that only ".0000001 percent of the American people" would understand it. That few, huh?
The latticework of loans and tariffs that make up the U.S. sugar program force Americans to pay about twice as much as the rest of the world for the sugar they eat, and few have benefited more from the industry subsidies than Pepe Fanjul and his family...Forget these crooked politicians-- Rubio, Cruz, Clinton, Bush... There's only one person decent enough and fit enough to be president of our country.
Rubio’s relationship with the Fanjuls began during his time in the Florida legislature and deepened during his Senate race, when he was battling establishment favorite Charlie Crist. He wrote in his memoir, American Son, that the “crown jewel” of his fundraising efforts during the 2010 race was an event headlined by the Fanjul family in the Hamptons, where Rubio and his wife joined the Fanjuls over Labor Day weekend, and where Pepe introduced him to Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani would go on to enthusiastically endorse Rubio over Crist, and Pepe Fanjul and his son each doled out the maximum contribution of $2,400 during the campaign.
Before these fundraising efforts, Rubio had attacked Crist for promoting a bailout of U.S. Sugar, the Fanjuls’ principal industry rival. In an interview with Glenn Beck on March 8, 2010, Rubio slammed Crist for “ramming down the throats of taxpayers a bailout of a sugar company.”
The Fanjuls’ relationship with Rubio stuck and, since 2009, Florida Crystals ranks as Rubio’s fourth largest donor, having given him a total of $105,500.
That number doesn’t include the family’s itemized individual contributions to Rubio’s Senate race and to his presidential bid or the dollars the Fanjuls have bundled from others. This spring, just eight days after Rubio announced his candidacy, Pepe Fanjul Jr. and his wife, Lourdes, hosted a fundraiser for Rubio at their Palm Beach home, where tickets ranged from $1,000 to $2,700 a pop.
...Rubio has remained a consistent, vocal supporter of the sugar subsidy during his rise to national prominence. At a Koch brothers’ Republican summit in August, Rubio gave a defense of the federal sugar program that left many in the audience of staunch free-marketeers scratching their heads. If the U.S. eliminates the program, he argued, “other countries will capture the market share, our agricultural capacity will be developed into real estate, you know, housing and so forth, and then we lose the capacity to produce our own food, at which point we’re at the mercy of a foreign country for food security.”
...Rubio has staked his candidacy on empowering the middle class, and has denounced the Export-Import Bank as a bastion of “taxpayer money” for “corporate welfare.” His support for sugar subsidies, and his tight relationship with their largest beneficiaries, flies in the face of that position, which may pose problems as the primary season develops.
“One of the best ways to attack Hillary Clinton is on crony capitalism and corporate welfare, and any marks that the GOP candidate has on his record where he’s in favor of these things will weaken him,” says Tim Carney, visiting fellow at AEI. He adds that it makes Rubio a “worse nominee” to tout his belief in free trade, “except for sugar,” as well as a “protectionism that helps some of his earliest fundraisers.”