Saturday, June 12, 2010

John Boehner Claims The GOP's Not Just Going To Be The Party Of No


But judging by his actions I don't believe him. He says he wants to be the "party of better solutions." But solutions for who? The same corporate special interests who have financed his entire political career? That's who he's always worked for, isn't it?
Financial Sector- $3,533,714
Medical Industrial Complex- $1,419,497
Lobbyists- $291,940
Big Oil- $258,350
Big Booze- $254,225
Telephone Utilities- $236,348
Big Tobacco- $201,959
War Industries- $200,025

Yesterday the Center For Public Integrity took a good hard look at who bankrolls John Boehner-- and I don't think most voters in western Ohio are aware of how in the pocket of the worst special interests in America their congressman is. "It's no surprise," they wrote, "that Boehner's top career donors include a lobbyist-turned-tobacco executive, two former CEOs of an insurance company, the head of a coal company, and a former telecommunications lobbyist, as well as corporate political action committees for two tobacco behemoths, two shipping companies, and four financial services firms and associations."
Boehner ran for his leadership post on a platform of lobbyist reform, telling Fox News Channel: "I've got a long record of ... reforming Congress, and I think we need more reforms to make sure that there's transparency in the relationship between those who lobby us and members themselves." But much of his campaign funding continues to come from lobbyists. Boehner's Freedom Project leadership PAC has distributed millions of dollars-- mostly raised from other PACs-- to Republican Congressional candidates. Between his PAC and campaign committee, Boehner has taken in more than $30 million in campaign cash. His close ties with lobbyists, however, have turned off even the occasional House Republican-- then-Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut opposed Boehner's leadership bid in 2006, noting "The problem John faces is that he's so close to K Street."

Boehner's career has been marked by aggressive support of business interests. He has backed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's position 93 percent of the time through his Congressional career. The AFL-CIO says he voted against their interests on every vote he cast in 2008 and 2009, and, as of 2008, backed the labor coalition just 5 percent of the time over his career. Boehner authored the 2006 Pension Protection Act, which expanded tax breaks for those who invest in retirement savings plans, and was also behind the law that implemented the U.S. free trade agreement with Oman. He has been a strong opponent of anti-tobacco legislation as well. While Ohio has no tobacco manufacturing facilities, the most recent data available showed the Buckeye State was home to 475 tobacco farms in 2007, though the total has declined dramatically in recent years. Boehner has also reliably opposed the Obama administration -- on the stimulus package, health care reform, Children's Health Insurance Program reauthorization, and financial regulation. One hundred days into Obama's administration, Boehner said the Democratic legislative agenda made him "want to throw up."

And the Center for Public Integrity isn't alone in sniffing out what Boehner has been up to. Even a commentator of the local Fox station called him out. Earlier this month the Washington Post was also moved to comment on Boehner's blatant corruption and money grubbing. As Justin Coussoule, the straight-arrow, progressive Democrat running for the seat Boehner has been occupying, said yesterday, “No national officeholder has abused the PAC system more egregiously than Congressman John Boehner.” The Post doesn't get to the point as quickly... but they get there:
Boehner has collected more than $1.4 million from business interests this election cycle for a committee he says he created to help fellow Republican lawmakers. But Boehner's committee has spent only about a third of its money helping other candidates.

About two-thirds of its expenditures have gone instead to costs the committee describes as necessary to raise money, including fine meals and trips to luxurious resorts where the congressman mingles with corporate-directed groups and lobbyists. Boehner (Ohio) has spent more than $182,000 through the committee on frequent travel with donors to Florida and similar vacation spots, according to Federal Election Commission records, including $70,403 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples and more than $30,000 at Disney Resort Destinations.

As it turns out, Boehner's use of funds collected for others by his "leadership PAC," or political action committee, is more the rule than the exception among Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Most leadership PACs have given away less than 40 percent of their expenditures this cycle, even though they typically say they are collecting and bundling donations for others, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics at the request of the Washington Post.

Instead, the PACs spend the bulk of their money funding their own operations, spending sizeable sums on fundraisers that also offer sweet perquisites for members and their aides. The PACs have financed distant resort stays and expensive meals for members in New York, Miami, Beverly Hills and elsewhere and paid for private jets, liquor, flowers, limousines, ski lift and baseball tickets, and even horse track visits, according to tallies submitted monthly to the FEC.

Lawmakers say luxurious settings and donor perks add to the appeal of fundraising events, and Boehner spokesman Don Seymour said the congressman's resort trips were all "overhead costs for fundraisers that ultimately benefit Republican campaigns."

The committee's contributors in January 2009, when Boehner pulled in $223,000 at a Naples golfing fundraiser, were from the insurance, tobacco, pesticide, health-care and investment industries, among others.

Last year, the six-member FEC unanimously questioned the unbridled use of such funds. Lawmakers are generally barred from converting campaign donations to personal use, but leadership PAC receipts effectively have no such prohibition.

The kid in this awesome video should sign up for Justin Coussoule's campaign. We all should! (You can contribute here by the way.)

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home