Political conflicts of interest take another turn


By Jack E. Lohman

You’ve heard this part before, but here’s another twist to it. You are a CEO with 100 employees, and one is a purchasing agent in charge of all corporate purchases. You hired that manager to buy the most effective and cost-efficient services to benefit your company profits and shareholder wealth. That’s his job. That’s what you pay him for.

But wait. This manager also happens to have a heavy investment in a cleaning service that always seems to get the company’s contract! Something is fishy here. Your manager is paying these favored contractors more than their competitors, perhaps twice as much, all to help build his own personal wealth. That’s not good.

Now multiply that by 535 members of congress controlling billions of taxpayer dollars, and 133 members of the state legislature that control millions of dollars in state contracts. This doesn’t just give the appearance of a conflict of interest, it reeks of corruption.

Why do we allow this payola in our political system?

  1. Picture House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a major financial investment in T. Boone Pickens‘ alternative energy projects, all while 80% of the public is supporting offshore drilling, and we expect her to make the right decisions. But she doesn’t want offshore drilling. She wants taxpayer cash going to researching renewable energy!*
  2. Or picture U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner — with a $5 million personal investment in drug companies — voting in favor of the Medicare drug program. You know, the $780 billion giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry that additionally prohibits Medicare from negotiating for the 50% discount the VA medical system gets. Or his $5 million investment in the defense industry and his pro-war Congressional votes, and his vote for the bankers on this nation’s worst bankruptcy bill in history (which trashed millions of Americans in debt).

Is it any wonder, then, that Sensenbrenner (and most other congressmen) refused to support a House bill by Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that would require congressmen to put their personal wealth into blind trusts operated by independent financial experts (who have the same, limited knowledge of upcoming laws as the rest of the public)?

Of course our political leaders prefer retaining the ability to initiate and vote on bills that impact their investments. We all would like that. The only thing that approaches this is the ability to initiate and vote on bills that affect the investments of their campaign contributors, or to pass taxpayer-funded subsidies on to those who fund their elections.

The interesting thing about all this is, we keep re-electing these jerks.

Link: WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that expanded oil drilling in federal waters could be included in a broader energy bill if advocates can prove its effectiveness as a solution to America’s energy problems. Gee, Thanks Nancy. Of course, no similar proof is needed from T. Boone.

* I happen to support renewable energy, but I’d rather see it come about without cash changing hands. I don’t like bribes, even on issues I support.

See the Sensenbrenner-Burkee debate coverage by:
Thoughtful Conservative describes the debate HERE
The World According to Nick detailed report HERE
No Runny Eggs has an audio of the debate HERE
Boots and Sabers has some comments HERE
Patrick McIlheran comments HERE
Small Business Times covered the stacked deck HERE
Jim Burkee articles in the SBT HERE
Jim Sensenbrenner articles in the SBT HERE
Campaign web sites: Jim Sensenbrenner and Jim Burkee

10 Responses to Political conflicts of interest take another turn

  1. Can't Count says:

    How many members of the State Legislature are there? Looks like you have one too many fingers or toes, Lohman.

  2. 99+33=132, so I am greatly relieved to learn that there is one less conflicted politician than I thought. Typos I can deal with, political conflicts I can’t.

  3. thoughtfulconservative says:

    I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of Sanders’ proposal, but I don’t see a big problem with the blind trusts. It looks like it would help ease the distrust caused by the suspicion of politicians being in the pockets of big business.

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