Saturday, October 26, 2013

How politicians have turned tables on special interests with industry shakedown 'tollbooth' and 'milker' bills

Via Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, comes a truly fascinating New York Times op-ed exposé of how legalized extortion now plays out in Washington. 
How John Boehner does it with tollbooth tactics:
     In 2011, he collected a total of over $200,000 in donations from executives and companies in the days before holding votes on just three bills. He delayed scheduling a vote for months on the widely supported Wireless Tax Fairness Act, and after he finally announced a vote, 37 checks from wireless-industry executives totaling nearly $40,000 rolled in. He also delayed votes on the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act and the Small Company Capital Formation Act, scoring $91,000 from investment banks and private equity firms, $32,450 from bank holding companies and $46,500 from self-described investors — all in the 48 hours between scheduling the vote and the vote’s actually being held on the House floor. 

How Obama does it with a milker bill:
     In the first half of 2011, Silicon Valley had chipped in only $1.7 million to Mr. Obama’s political campaign. The president announced that he would “probably” sign antipiracy legislation — a stance that pleased Hollywood and incensed Silicon Valley. The tech industry then poured millions into Mr. Obama’s coffers in the second half of 2011. By January of 2012, Hollywood had donated $4.1 million to Mr. Obama.
     Then, suddenly, on Jan. 14, 2012, the White House announced that it had problems with the antipiracy bills and neither passed.

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