Friday, June 25, 2010

Just in case we might forget who owns so many of our politicians

This is a good glimpse of it (David Herszenhorn and Eric Lichtblau, A Tricky Balance for Oil-State Politicians New York Times 06/18/2010):

The largest beneficiary of campaign donations from BP in the 2008 election cycle, for instance, was President Obama, who took in $77,000 from company executives and its political action committee. This year, Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas and chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, leads all candidates with $286,000 in donations from oil and gas companies. ...

"[Texas Republican Congressman and now-infamous defender of BP] Joe Barton gets oil money and energy money, well, damn straight," said the spokeswoman, Lisa Miller. “It probably doesn’t come as a shock to anybody that Texas congressmen, Democrats and Republicans, receive energy money. But how he feels about BP is not related obviously to his campaign contributions because he is extremely critical of BP.”In the following part, they describe officials doing a "tightrope walk". But often it doesn't even seem like that much of a balance. They know who owns them, they serve their interests. It is a serious corruption of democracy. Not unlike the massive corruption produced the National Bank of the United States which President Andrew Jackson sucessfully fought to abolish:

The tightrope walk faced by elected officials from oil and gas states is similar to the New York delegation’s struggles when it comes to legislation to regulate Wall Street banks, or the New Jersey delegation’s sensitivity on legislation related to the pharmaceutical industry.

“You’ve got this conflict for these folks where they acknowledge the spill is a problem but, with the significant support they get from the industry, are a heck of a lot more reluctant to take aggressive legislative action against the company,” said Tyson Slocum, who runs the energy program at Public Citizen, a political research and advocacy group.

Besides Ms. Landrieu and Mr. Barton, lawmakers from big energy states include Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana; Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma; and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska.

Ms. Murkowski, who has received $434,000 from the industry since 2002 and whose state economy is particularly linked to the industry, last month blocked the Senate from considering a measure that would raise the liability limit for an oil company’s legal exposure to $10 billion from $75 million, saying it could hurt smaller companies and produce "unintended consequences."

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