Sunday, September 12, 2010

Potential House Speaker Boehner Represents Corporate Agenda

If the Republicans take over the House in November, the speaker will be one who is exceptionally tied to corporate lobbyists–and, through them, opposed to environmental and consumer protection, financial regulation and labor rights. He is also notorious for his "Hell no, you can't!" speech during the health care debate. I'm referring to Representative John Boehner of Ohio, who convened over 100 industry lobbyists and conservative activists to attempt thwarting the financial regulatory overhaul. Other aspects of his record:

Mr. Boehner won some of his first national headlines in 1996 after he was caught handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to fellow Republicans on the House floor...

...While many lawmakers in each party have networks of donors, lobbyists and former aides who now represent corporate interests, Mr. Boehner’s ties seem especially deep. His clique of friends and current and former staff members even has a nickname on Capitol Hill, Boehner Land.

...One lobbyist in the club — after lauding each staff member in Mr. Boehner’s office that he routinely calls to ask for help — ticked off the list of recent issues for which he had sought the lawmaker’s backing: combating fee increases for the oil industry, fighting a proposed cap on debit card fees, protecting tax breaks for hedge fund executives and opposing a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Boehner’s office said these were positions he already agreed with.

...In addition [to at 45 flights provided by companies including R.J. Reynolds], over the last decade he has taken 41 other trips paid for by corporate sponsors or industry groups, often to popular golf spots. That makes him one of the top House beneficiaries of such travel, which has recently been curbed as a result of changes in ethics rules.

Mr. Boehner continues to travel to golf destinations on a corporate-subsidized tab, though now it is paid for through his political action committee, the Freedom Project. In the last 18 months, it has spent at least $67,000 at the Ritz-Carlton Naples in Florida, at least $20,000 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., and at least $29,000 at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, federal records show, for fund-raising events.

No comments: