This past week it was revealed in Roll Call, an inside the beltway magazine that reports on the actions and or inactions of members of congress, that our very own Charles Boustany some two weeks ago held a swanky party for his closest friends – Federal Lobbyists. Yep, he is quoted as saying that he had this meeting in part to find out what their priorities are… It is highly likely that there was a rather LARGE basket at the door for their loose change.
I do not see that the reports have been issued from last week’s filing deadline, but I really can’t wait to see them. Through March 31st of this year Boustany has taken roughly $700,000 of which 40% of that comes directly from PAC’s. (He has paid out over $400k which leaves him only about $300k on hand so one can see why it was so important for him to have this “Party”) That is actually quite high compared to the averages. It is also quite troubling for Boustany that the Average House member has significantly outraised him. Perhaps he may be banking on the fact that retiring congressman from Shreveport Jim McCrery is turning over his very successful “leadership PAC” to Boustany and one would think that Boustany would tap those funds if needed.
Interestingly enough this committee is called “The Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism PAC” (as if Capitalism is going anywhere… quaint though). This committee just got done doling out checks of $2,500 to $5,000 per Republican House members who are in vulnerable or competitive races. (Can’t wait to see if Boustany was one of them.) The Advocate points out that this committee has contributed more than $832,000 to candidates. Sure looks like this is an incumbent protection program here and I am QUITE sure that $832,000 can buy more than a few things in DC… if you know what I mean.
Looking back to the 2006 cycle when challenged by an underfunded Candidate, Boustany took in roughly $1.6 Million of which half of that came directly from Special Interest groups. Only a fraction of the donors were from this district. What will this cycle look like when he has a very well funded candidate with large and growing support?
It’s not all difficult news for Boustany though – the Advocate also reports that Boustany was named the ranking Republican on the subcommittee on (and get a load of this name…) department operations, oversight, nutrition and forestry on the House Agriculture Committee. Perhaps now since Doc Boustany is on the watch he can find out while it is still hard to get good tomatoes on my salad! And why this happened in the first place. In fact reports are showing the Inspectors from the Federal Government are only inspecting raw produce suppliers like once every 5 years… possibly 10. And rarely do they ever visit the growing fields where the products are grown. This poor track record must be addressed or I fear bad tomatoes are just the start of our woes.
However I am not too optimistic about Boustany playing any significant role – remember he is against any sort of regulations on business including environmental (not to mention the minimum wage) as he stated two years ago at a town hall meeting here in Lafayette. There after pressed repeatedly for a full answer by local Attorney Anthony Fazzio, Boustany recounted a litany of things that he was against – regulations and minimum wages were the two that stuck with me. Well without regulations we get Mad Cow… and without enforcement we get it faster. Boustany needs to join the Democrats in cracking down on Manufacturers who have for the most part been given a free pass for the last few years.
How, you may ask, have they been getting a free pass? Let’s take a look at INS records for the past 7 years then compare that to any or all of the years of the Clinton Administration. The raids on businesses became almost completely non-existent for the past 7 years under Bush & Co. This wink and the nod to large corporations to “do what they need to do” to get by – this clearly includes hiring illegal workers. Another very clear symptom of this is to look at all the mining accidents that we have had throughout the past few years. Again, inspections by this administration have fallen to almost zero and therefore corners are being cut.
Secondly, you have the almost complete deregulation of the Media. Now it is not uncommon for you to get your Newspaper, TV News, internet and your radio station talk show all provided by the very same company.
How, you may say, does this tie to Boustany? He clearly would like to see more of this. You see Boustany subscribes to the Free Market Standard… He is a FREE MARKET Purist, if there is such a thing. He feels that government has no right at all to regulate businesses – that instead if a company does something wrong that ultimately it will be forced to correct it by the “free market” – however let’s look at the top two points I just made.
- How is it a “free market” when millions of undocumented workers are flooding our job market, lowering the standards and often working below minimum wage and often “off the books”. A free market would have controls for this or SOLID boarders.
- How can we expect to have a FREE Market when the media – the Fourth Estate is largely owned lock stock and barrel by the very same corporate interests that are taking advantage of #1.
The thing is regulations are good. Regulations that say your neighbor can not; at 3 AM, have a party with speakers blasting rock music into your house shaking furniture and photographs. Most cities have noise restrictions – and most of us agree with those. We say that sure, you own your own property – but you don’t have the right to infringe onto someone else’s.
Some regulations are good. Corporations should have to follow the same rules, but all too often they do not. Unregulated corporations pollute the land, air and water.
It is time for the pendulum to swing back to the center folks. We have gone much too far to the right when it comes to these sorts of issues and it is showing in our economy. For the first time since the depression the National Average savings rate (this is the amount of money that is saved for every dollar earned by the average American) is -$.01 This means for every dollar the average American makes, they go into debt by a penny. And boo, those pennies – they add up.
And this brings us right back to Charles Boustany. Boustany didn’t meet with the people of his district, he met with his stock holders, the Lobbyist and ask them what his marching orders would be and told them how much money he needs to run for re-election.
Boustany meets with Lobbyists to find out what needs done, Cravins meets with families in his district to ask them what needs done. Which is better? I will take my neighbors over the special interest groups any day of the week.
Tonight Congressional Candidate Don Cravins Jr. will be meeting with 30 Constituents to talk with them about the issues they are facing today – the economy, education, the war and healthcare I am sure are going to be at the top of our lists when we meet with the State Senator Tonight.
What would you like to ask Senator Cravins? I will take the top three questions we get here and ask the senator personally and next week I will have your answers. (No Flames and no Freepers).