Royally Kranked

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nice to know that Bipartisanship does exist, just too damn bad that it's to take the taxpayers for a VERY expensive ride

Bypass registration with

Lobbyists Advise Katrina Relief
A Senate bill includes billions of dollars in projects for clients of 'experienced experts.'

The Louisiana Katrina Reconstruction Act — introduced last month by Louisiana Sens. Mary L. Landrieu, a Democrat, and David Vitter, a Republican — included billions of dollars' worth of business for clients of those lobbyists and a total price tag estimated as high as $250 billion.

Among the lobby-supported interests with a stake in the relief and recovery bill:

• Energy utilities. Entergy Corp. and Cleco Corp. lobbyists consulted with the senators' staffs. Five days before the bill was introduced, Cleco retained the lobbying services of Lynnel B. Ruckert, Vitter's former deputy campaign manager and the wife of his chief of staff.

In an unusual assist to private utilities, the recovery bill includes $2.5 billion to help Louisiana companies such as Entergy of New Orleans and Cleco of Pineville restore and rebuild their electricity systems and recover losses from sustained power outages.

• Supporters of a controversial industrial canal project serving the Port of New Orleans. Among those serving on advisory panels were two officials of Jones Walker, a New Orleans-based firm that lobbies in Washington for the canal project. One of those officials was Paul F. Cambon, an ex-aide to former House Speaker Bob Livingston (R-La.), whose Livingston Group also is a lobbyist for the canal.

How nice and thoughtful for Louisiana's Senators that, even in their worst moments as public officials, they were able to think of their campaign contributors as it relates to the Katrina recovery effort

So what if every dollar routed to their cronies, lobbyists and campaign contributors could be better spent on actually helping those who have suffered so much, for Landrieu & Vitter, it's the thought that counts

Landrieu and Vitter defend the bill as a necessary response to the region's devastation. The bill's supporters say that Louisiana is crucial to America's energy industry and that the state's ports handle 20% of all U.S. imports and exports each day.

"Key economic sectors took a big hit from the storm," said Landrieu spokesman Adam Sharp. "Standing up the region's economy will help stand up the American economy."

And then, that mean ol' Congress decide4d to throw a real wrench in the works

But the House's decision Friday to attach strings to $750 million in federal loans to cities racked by Hurricane Katrina suggested growing resistance to expensive reconstruction proposals.

And, of course, the Senators are just reciprocating the help they themselves received from the groups that would benefit from the political largesse

Between the 2000 election cycle and Aug. 8, Entergy accounted for about $2.4 million in contributions to all federal parties, candidates and other political committees; Patton Boggs, $2.3 million; the Livingston Group, $656,757; Jones Walker, $632,863; the Alpine Group, $475,060, Adams & Reese, $426,260; and Johnston & Associates, $161,564, according to data compiled by Dwight L. Morris & Associates, a Virginia firm that tracks campaign contributions.

Jones Walker and its employees donated $42,885 to Vitter and $16,250 to Landrieu. Adams & Reese contributed $28,350 to Vitter and $24,250 to Landrieu. Entergy gave $23,300 to Vitter and $18,750 to Landrieu.

The only minor, tiny, trifling, piffle of a complaint I have is this

President Jr signed an executive order allowing an almost 50% cut in the prevailing wage for those hired to rebuild the Gulf coast-whether or not it's Katrina related

Nowhere in the lobbying payback from Landrien & Vitter did I see ANY mention of that executive order, let alone ANY insistence that the executive order be rescinded

It sure would have been nice to ensure that those getting their hands dirty with the manual labor of rebuilding the Gulf Coast & New Orleans were guaranteed a decent paycheck, just like the lobbyists & campaign contributors were with those big federal contracts

Lowlife politicians who still practice cronyism and still guarantee their campaign contributors nice fat Government contracts while not doing a fucking thing to ensure those rewards trickle down to those at the bottom of the ladder-those who do the actual work-should have to do the physical rebuilding with their own two hands, and they shouldn't get one Goddamned penny either

Let Landrieu & Vitter go through exactly what the poorest victims of Katrina & Governmental indifference have gone through, then maybe they'll understand why getting President Jr to scrap his own wage-killing executive order should be their FIRST order of business.

Read the article, there's so much more detail than I could present here


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