Monday, June 23, 2008

Senator McCain 100% Lobbyist Free

The headline of this post, which is painfully ironic, is about a United States senator who for some time presented himself as a reformer, and stated that he fought for greater transparency regarding the official activities of lobbyists and the disclosure of how candidates and campaigns are funded. An article in ABC news on January 29, 2008, stated "McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates, according to the latest finding from government watchdog group Public Citizen."

The story only gets worse from here. In widely publicized recent news the American public has learned about the so-called "Enron loophole" which exempts energy speculators who make trades electronically from US regulation. Recent testimony before a Senate committee revealed that unregulated energy speculation accounts for between 20% to 25% of the jump in oil prices.

Wendy Gramm, wife of former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, joined Enron's board after chairing the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, where she issued regulations that legalized the type of electricity trading that helped Enron make millions in illegal profits. In 2000, then Senator, Gramm helped pass legislation which made the Enron Loophole permanent. Phil Gramm is now a lobbyist for UBS, a Swiss banking Corporation. Mr. Gramm is Senator McCain's campaign chair and economic adviser.

The list of lobbyists working for Senator McCain is quite lengthy. One egregious example cited by the Daily News are "John Green, the senator's chief liaison to Congress, and Wayne Berman, his national finance co-chairman, billed more than $720,000 in lobbying fees from 2005 through last year to Ameriquest Mortgage through their lobbying firm." With lobbyists working for Senator McCain in senior positions who are tied to the run-up in energy prices and the housing crisis how can Senator McCain make objective decisions regarding two of the most critical issues facing this country.

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