Friday, May 21, 2010

Frank LoBiondo's Party tried legalized extortion, again

The Washington Post has an important article on how Republicans are pressuring corporations to give them money (my emphasis):

The change comes as top Republicans lawmakers appeal more directly to business leaders, putting them on notice that the GOP is keeping track of the corporate donations ledger and will remember who stood by the party. As part of an effort dubbed "Sell the Fight," House Republican leaders have met privately with corporate executives and lobbyists to argue that their giving has tilted too far toward Democrats and that they need to steer more money to industry-friendly GOP candidates in key races in 2010.

"These corporate leaders and lobbyists have got interests and clients they need to look out for, and they are reading the tea leaves just like everyone else," said Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), the deputy chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, who has made several private pitches to corporate PAC leaders. "They see what's happening . . . and they don't want to get cut short."

The fundraising efforts of Republican lawmakers mirror those used after the party gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 Republican Revolution. Party leaders at the time, especially then-House Whip Tom Delay, used their new positions in power to pull in corporate checks. Delay kept a list of lobbyists categorized as "friendly" and "unfriendly" based on campaign contributions.

Despite his seniority, Frank LoBiondo is never given the GOP leadership positions he deserves so I don't know that I can blame him personally but this behavior led to a lot of abuses in the last two decades. (And yes, Democrats are too influenced by corporate money too.) Basically I consider it extortion even if politicians make sure it is legal.