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Posts Tagged ‘boehner’

Today’s Flickr Photo

Bird rescue mission. Flickr photo by USFWS/Southeast.

If you read one thing today . . .

Remember how President Obama thought the best way to health care reform was working hand-in-hand with the health insurance industry? Well, it’s pretty clear now that the insurers were never really that interested in anything except making money. Noam N. Levey in the L.A. Times points out that “the nation’s five largest insurers and the industry’s Washington-based lobbying arm have given three times more money to Republican lawmakers and political action committees than to Democratic politicians and organizations.” Yeah, those same Republicans who have vowed to roll back Obama’s modest (read inadequate) health care plan. As Levey writes:

“The industry would love to have a Republican Congress,” said Wendell Potter, a former executive at Cigna Corp., one of the country’s biggest insurers. “They were very, very successful during the years of Republican domination in Washington.”

Overheard:

House Minority Leader John Boehner on Fox News talking about his relationship with President Obama:  “I come in and he’ll say ‘Boehner you are almost as dark as me,'” Boehner said. “Listen, we talk about golf. We’ll talk about our skin color. We have a nice relationship. The problem we have is that when we talk to each other, there’s no connection. I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters, my dad owned a bar. I was a small business guy long before I got into this business. When I talk about the real world, it doesn’t seem to register.”

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As campaign finance continues to cause heated debate amongst party leaders, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is quickly becoming the poster child for corporate influence on Capitol Hill.

On Saturday, The New York Times detailed the strong ties between corporate lobbyists and Boehner. His inner circle includes representatives from some of the biggest companies in the country, like R.J. Reynolds, Miller Coors and Goldman Sachs.

They have raised huge pots of money for him, of course. For instance, at least $340,000 donated to Boehner’s political campaigns came from the pockets of people closely affiliated with the tobacco industry. Boehner’s relationship with the tobacco industry dates back to 1996, when he was caught handing out checks from large tobacco companies to fellow Republicans on the of the House of Representatives.

Notable also is Boehner’s travel record. Over the past decade, the representative has taken approximately 41 trips, mostly to resort golf destinations – all sponsored by various corporations and industry groups.

Fundraising for Mr. Boehner is especially important to watch as he begins his campaign to be Speaker of the House if Republicans attain the majority after November’s elections. His “Boehner for Speaker” campaign, launched in June this year, has already raised almost $2 million.

“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,” the Times wrote. “His clique of friends and current and former staff members even has a nickname on Capitol Hill, Boehner Land. The members of this inner circle said their association with Mr. Boehner translates into open access to him and his staff.”

While the concept of ‘Boehner may be a running joke in the representative’s large inner-circle, the idea is a nightmare to anyone who fears more corporate involvement in Congress.

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In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said of the Wall Street reform bill, “This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.”

Wall Street, an ant? You mean the bankers who have been spending more than a million dollars a day on lobbyists to kill the bill? You mean the gargantuan institutions whose reckless, predatory actions caused the near-collapse of the financial system and plunged us into the Great Recession? Sorry, I’m really not seeing anything ant-like here.

And then he says the reform bill is like a nuclear weapon. I guess he’s trying to say it’s too strong. Yeah, there are some good, strong regulations in the bill, like the consumer financial protection bureau and increased transparency in the derivatives market. (more…)

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