- A major fund raiser for President Obama was illegally moved ahead of the American taxpayer in the Solyndra bankruptcy proceedings, resulting in taxpayers receiving nothing for their doomed $529 million loan guarantee to Solyndra.
- Obama's Department of Energy approved a Federal government loan guarantee to a company that employs Nancy Pelosi's husband in an influential executive position.
- Nancy Pelosi received upwards of nine corporate IPO opportunities, including one for the VISA IPO. VISA was somehow able get revenue restriction legislation delayed in the House Of Representatives when Pelosi was the Speaker of the House until after the IPO happened, resulting in a $100,000 profit for Ms. Pelosi in just a few days.
- Congressman Spencer Bachus successfully shorted the financial sector of the stock market shortly after getting warnings of a financial meltdown from the Secretary Of Treasury and head of the Federal Reserve Board, days before the information became public.
- Congressman Barney Frank received substantial re-election campaign funding support from various banking institutions, the very institutions the Congressman was supposed to be overseeing as a past chairman and current member of the House banking committee.
- Congresswoman Ginny Waite-Brown invested in various banks based on non-public, secret information she received as a result of her membership on a House banking committee, the very committee that approved taxpayer bailout money for the very same banks the Congresswoman invested in.
- Congressional members hand out $16-$20 billion worth of earmarks each year, earmarks and funding favors which are no more than thinly disguised campaign financing efforts.
- The Fisker and Telsa auto companies received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Federal government loan guarantees despite the fact that multiple people in each company are major fund raisers for Obama and the Democratic party.
- Senator Harry Reid sold his oil company investments shortly before the oil industry took a major hit on price decreases and bought health care company stocks just before the health care reform legislation debate began in the Senate, making a tidy profit in the process.
- Ex-Senator Obama, ex-Senator Dodd, and Congressman Frank successfully derailed the auditing and reformation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This derailing that has already cost the American taxpayers over one hundred billion dollars in bailout funds, possibly because Obama, Dodd, and Frank were the top recipients of political campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie.
However, in less than three years of the Obama administration, years that included the worse economic downturn and banking crisis since the Great Depression, these same financial and banking institutions earned $83 billion in profits. A coincidence or political class favors/corruption? Based on the historical data, I doubt it was a coincidence.
Need more proof that the government favors and political class members are for sale in this upcoming election year? Consider a set of examples that have already and recently taken place with our politicians, as reported in a recent Business Week magazine article within their Spring, 2011 Government Insider Special report:
- New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez recently "championed" a plan to provide a temporary tax cut for small companies, a tax cut that would allow them to offset investments these companies might make in research on therapies to prevent and treat chronic diseases. Oh, by the way, the pharmaceutical industry in New Jersey just happened to contribute $434,043 to his 2010 reelection campaign and PAC.
- Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow sponsored a bill to give a tax rebate for consumers who purchase a gas/electric car or truck. The recently available Chevy Volt from General Motors certainly falls within this category. Oh, by the way, General Motors employees contributed $84,635 to Stabenow's reelection campaigns between 1995 and 2010.
- New York Senator Charles Schumer has been accused by other Congressional members of making a proposed tax on carried interest of private equity managers so difficult that the measure never was passed into law. Oh, by the way, Schumer has received $8.8 million from the security and investment industry since 1989, an industry that certainly includes private equity managers.
- Montana Senator Max Baucus obtained a provision in a recent farm bill "for tax exempt forestry conservation bonds to help purchase a 500 square mile patchwork of land owned by Plum Creek Timber." Oh, by the way, Plum Creek Timber has spent $3.7 million in lobbyists fees from 2006 to 2010 and its employees have contributed $19,100 to various Bachus reelection campaigns.
- Iowa Senator Charles Grassley has backed tax credits for domestic production of corn based ethanol and tariffs on imports of ethanol. It just so happens that his home state has 40 ethanol plants that generate 3.5 billion gallons of ethanol each year. Oh, by the way, Grassley received $290,250 in reelection campaign donations from agriculturally based PACs in his 2010 election run.
- Arizona Senator John Kyl is a major proponent of cutting taxes on inherited wealth, having been instrumental in the one year hiatus of the inheritance tax in 2010 and cutting a deal with Obama to keep the reinstatement of the tax at 35%. Oh, by the way, eliminating the estate tax is a major priority of the Club For Growth, which just has happened to donate $155,753 to the Senator's election campaigns since 1989.
- Texas Senator John Cornyn has opposed Obama's attempts to repeal oil and gas industry tax breaks besides opposing the President's ban on Gulf oil drilling. Oh, by the way, oil and gas industry components have given the Senator $1.7 million since 2001.
Think about how much money is involved when you include the other 43 U.S. Senators and all 435 members of the House of Representatives. If these other 478 politicians trade at the same rate as the seven Senatorial examples listed above, we are looking at almost $800 million that our politicians have traded government favors for their campaign funding needs.
This volume of trading has to be sub-optimal for the rest of the country's citizens that do not partake in this corruption. Rather than doing what is best for the whole nation's interests, this type of basic corruption does what is best for the politicians' careers and the special interests that fund their careers.
Since most of these political favors occur between incumbent politicians and special interests, Step 39 from "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" would go a long way to eliminating this type of corruption. Step 39 would impose term limits on all Federal politicians, "one and done." You get one term in office, either as a Senator, Congressman, or President, and then your Federal political career is over.
Maybe in such an environment, where a politician knows that they do not need to fund their perpetual reelection campaign since they only get one term, they would then make decisions that are right for the country, not what are optimal for their special interest campaign funding sources. Heaven knows that they are not doing that now, making the right choices for the country, so how much worse could it get if they were "one and done?"
A political process that relies on special interests, cronyism, and trading government favors for campaign funding and other perks is not a democracy. It is a central American banana republic, it is Iraq under Hussein or Libya under Ghaddafi, or it is the mob under Don Corrleone. In any of those examples, freedom and liberty are subservient to corruption.
Ashleigh Brilliant once said: "I either want less corruption or more of a chance to participate in it." Under our current political set-up, neither situation is likely to occur for the vast majority of hard working, honest Americans who play by the rules and have some sense of integrity. Thus, let's try term limits and try to lessen the corruption and increase the chances of freedom and liberty.
Please note: we will not stop just with these basic types of political corruption listed above. Tomorrow we will cover institutional corruption, the rules that the political class exempt themselves from to make their lives easier, and on Friday we will look at the somewhat curious and incestuous relationship between the Federal government and Goldman Sachs.
Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at www.loathemygovernment.com. It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.
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