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An ode to the motivation of a House vote (money, perhaps?)

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Who knew the United States needed a free trade agreement with Oman? Apparently, my representative in Congress, the Hon. John R. “Randy” Kuhl, did, because he voted for it along with 220 of his GOP colleagues.

No matter where you stand on free trade agreements (bad for national security, helping out a “stalwart” friend in the Mideast, bad for workers’ rights in Oman or a host of other reasons), you’d hope that our representatives in Congress would study such an issue carefully.

You’ll recall that these are the folks who leave D.C. Thursday afternoon to politick and fundraise in their districts, then return on Tuesday morning to spend much of their time in party offices making fundraising phone calls. These are the folks who will likely spend only 100 days in session in this Congress. (See earlier post.)

So did Rep. Kuhl study this issue carefully? Or did he decide to help out a pal, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who sponsored the legislation? You remember Rep. Boehner. He’s the House majority leader.

Rep. Boehner’s leadership PAC, the Freedom Project, gave Rep. Kuhl $10,000 — $5,000 in the 2004 election cycle and $5,000 in 2006.

Rep. Boehner, who became majority leader after Rep. Tom DeLay found himself in a bit of bother, has given the occasional buck or two to other House GOPers.

In fact, Rep. Boehner’s leadership PAC since 1997 has disbursed more than 530 checks worth $5,000 each to House incumbents and GOP House candidates. That’s more than $2.6 million of largesse spread among the faithful. (What did your representative get?) The PAC shipped off more than $189,000 in 64 smaller checks. And there’s the $15,000 sent each year since 2002 to the National Republican Campaign Committee.

Critics say Rep. Boehner has raised more money from lobbyists and corporate PACs than Mr. DeLay did. No wonder he’s got so much to use to (ahem) lubricate the political process.

As you’ll recall, Rep. Kuhl has received $139,426 from GOP “leadership PACs,” including about $45,000 from the House speaker, majority leader and majority whip. (See earlier post.)

I don’t know about you, but if someone sends me not one but two $5,000 checks, I can assure you he or she has my full attention.

So how much studying did Rep. Kuhl do prior to voting on the free trade agreement with Oman? Or did his domineering donors just whisper all he needed to know (“Vote with us. Or else.”) in his ear?


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 23, 2006 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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