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Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:42 PM

The profit motive behind Senate obstruction

The Nation's Lee Fang has an important article uncovering yet another dirty little lobbying secret—the filibuster is very profitable. He gives the example of Steven Duffield, currently calling himself vice president for policy at Crossroads GPS, who wrote and opinion column for the Washington Examiner last week arguing "for the status quo, claiming 'Senate liberals want to gut' the filibuster, which he called a 'long-standing protection for minorities.'”

Fang points to this bit of information he found a few years ago on the website for the lobbying firm Endgame Strategies, pitching its ability to help clients find a "backbench Senate Republicans" willing to engage the filibuster on their behalf:

Managing Holds and Filibusters. Your organization has an interest in a bill that has proven controversial and you require advocacy before those legislators—often backbench Senate Republicans—who may exercise their prerogatives to delay or obstruct. Endgame Strategies will give you new ways to manage your interests in a legislative environment that gives great power to individual senators.

As Fang says, Duffield (formerly an aide to Republican Sen. Jon Kyl) was in the business of selling filibusters, capitalizing on the power of individual senators by hooking up clients with useful Republican tools who would be happy to—often anonymously—block legislation for the highest bidder. Of course, there's something in it for those Senate tools, too:

-- Senator David Vitter (R-LA) placed holds on Obama EPA nominees to delay scientific assessments on the health risks of formaldehyde, which is produced by some of his largest campaign contributors.

-- According to a new report from Public Campaign Action Fund, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has collected a hundreds of thousands in funds from the same industries he has protected with filibusters, particularly from oil companies and the finance sector. McConnell has led filibusters to protect oil subsidies, to block efforts to mitigate the mortgage crisis, and against campaign disclosure reforms.

-- Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) placed a "blanket hold" on every Obama nominee to force the administration to accept a Northrop Grumman contract to build a $35 billion refueling tanker in Mobile, Alabama. Northrop Grumman is a major Shelby donor.

-- Senator John McCain (R-AZ) blocked the nomination of one of Obama's most important Department of Labor nominees for months, which many believe led to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to aggressively support McCain during a contentious primary with a Tea Party-backed candidate in 2010.

-- Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), a close ally of the oil and gas industry, temporarily blocked Obama's nominee for the Office of Management and Budget to extract an administration promise to allow more oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

-- Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) filibustered the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill in order to demand a policy that prevents FedEx drivers from unionizing. FedEx is Corker's third highest campaign donor.


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Reply The profit motive behind Senate obstruction (Original post)
Redfairen Jan 2013 OP
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #1

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:56 PM

1. Okay everyone ...


we can skip the reporting and just watch (re-watch) Eddie Murphy's film, Distinguished Gentleman

At least it's MEANT to be a comedy!

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