Tim Johnson's Campaign Contributors

Over the last several years, Tim Johnson has collected some interesting campaign contributions. One of his largest single contributors was AT&T, which gave him $29500. By an interesting coincidence, he voted for the COPE (communications) act, and against the Net Neutrality provision. Another big corporate contributor was Exelon ($30000), which owns the nuclear reactor in Braidwood. Unfortunately, the plant was leaking a radioactive compound called tritium into the soil, and Exelon's now being sued by 11 families and the Illinois attorney general. http://a4nr.org/library/failures/03.17.2006-pressrelease http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2006/Tritium-La-Salle-Illinois17mar06.htm Altria, who gave Johnson $10000, has also experienced its share of controversy, especially back in the days when it was named "Phillip Morris" (as in "Big Tobacco"). RJ Reynolds Political Action Committee contributed $10500. Lorillard Tobacco PAC kicked in $1000 this fall. Tom DeLay, the former majority leader, gave him $25000 via ARMPAC. Sadly, DeLay was forced to resign when he and a couple of associates had a small problem with money-laundering indictments. Bob Ney's American Liberty PAC gave him $2000. Ney isn't in Congress now either; he recently pled guilty to charges of fraud and bribery in connection with a lobbyist named Jack Abramoff. Some of Johnson's individual contributors have had some legal difficulties. Donald Udstuen, who was convicted in connection with the George Ryan trials, gave $1000. Stuart Levine, who was officially indicted with mail fraud, wire fraud, extortion, and misallocation of funds in connection with the TRS shakedowns, had handed over $2000. Bill Cellini, a powerful Springfield Republican who was referred to as "Individual A" in Levine's indictment, has given Johnson $4000. Nick Hurtgen, who'd contributed $1000, was also indicted for mail fraud, wire fraud, and extortion. (See also http://www.timjohnsonwatch.blogspot.com/ ). John Boehner (the charming fellow who praised Donald Rumsfeld and criticized the troops) also helped Tim out. His PAC with the catchy name "The Freedom Project", gave Johnson $10000. There's quite an interesting story behind The Freedom Project. See, a lot of students use loans to finance their education, but not all loans are created equal. Direct loans from the government ultimately cost students a lot less than loans through "middleman" companies. Sallie Mae, a private corporation that provides student loans, and its executives contributed heavily to The Freedom Project. Boehner was quoted as saying to them, ""Know that I have all of you in my trusted hands...I've got enough rabbits up my sleeve." By an amazing coincidence, Boehner came up with legislation that would allow banks to make more money than ever from student loans. Sallie Mae PAC also gave $1000 directly to Johnson. http://thinkprogress.org/2006/02/03/boehner-hamiltons/ http://www.lasvegasgleaner.com/las_vegas_gleaner/2006/01/sallie_maes_man.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/28/AR2006012801009.html http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0606,kamenetz,72043,2.html

Many More Nukes than Braidwood

While the known problems at Braidwood, and the other nukes that Exelon owns in Illinois, with leakage of tritium and possibly other isotopes into the environment, I rather doubt that Exelon is much worried about a Nuclear Regulatory Commission that has shown itself to be subservient to industry interests under both Democrats and Republicans. More likely, Exelon is greasing Tim's palm because it has proposed building a second nuke plant at Clinton and wants to prevent any potential roadblocks in Congress to porsuit of its aims. Voters in Champaign County should always remember that Exelon's current Clinton plant is upwind. If a major problem develops, the wind is likely to carry large amounts of radioactivity to us in little more than an hour. Unfortunately, the federal government has refused to order the distribution of potassium iodide to nearby communities like ours for emergency use, which could block the uptake of iodine isotopes that would otherwise rapidly accumulate in the thyroid. This is particularly a problem for children, whose thyroids are much more active than adults. Your choice in such a circumstance would be to evacuate as rapidly as possible to escape the radioactive plume. The question would be -- which way do you go? The failure to require pre-distribution of potassium iodide in the downwind threat area from Exelon's Clinton plant and other like it around the country is not because the drug doesn't work -- it does -- but industry and government do NOT want the public thinking too hard about the health and environmental threats posed by nuclear power. This has become even more of an issue since Sept. 11, since the containment vessels at nuke plants will likely not protect the intensely radioactive components within in the event of a direct hit by an airliner. Every nuke plant in the country is a prime target for terrorists -- and the support the current Congress has given for Bush's policies has certainly not made us any safer from that, either. I'm sure that Tim Johnson will look out for Exelon's interests. The question is, who is going to look out for the public's interest?

Greens oppose nuclear power

> The question is, who is going to look out for the public's interest? Greens. Tom Abram and Rich Whitney oppose expanding nuclear power as a "solution" to the looming global energy catastrophe, and support aggressive regulation of the energy industry to ensure fair rates, safety, public health, conservation, and a rapid transition to renewable energy. Free-market boosters don't like these policies, but the alternative is an energy industry that is ready to lead us right off the cliff--Enron has given us a preview of that world, where energy companies put profits before the public interest and give us double-digit price increases, decreased availability of energy, and massive inequity, all while raking in record profits. The Green Party does not take campaign contributions from any corporation, including energy companies.

Nice red herring. The Enron

Nice red herring. The Enron scandal was not a preview of free market in the energy sector. It had everything to do with greed within a regulatory sphere (inadequate GAAP for SPEs, for instance), not with free markets. You should use the S&L scandal as a better illustration of market failure after deregulation. Your argument is analogous to saying that the WorldCom and Global Crossing scandals indicate that the communications industry should have stricter regulations. This would mean a strong FCC and the loss of net neutrality.

It's the policies!

If my argument is specious, so's yours when you claim without support that "stricter" regulations on the communications industry would (somehow, inevitably) result in the loss of net neutrality. Regulations enforce policy, and so their effect is contingent on the policies they are designed to enforce. Any argument that is based on the idea that the "strictness" of regulations somehow determines the policies that they enforce is basically ignoring the policy debate. Greens understand this, which is why we run on policies which, if enforced via regulation, markets, or *any other suitably effective and fair method*, would result in sustainable economic, environmental, and social justice.

ERICPAC

Johnson also got $5000 this September from ERICPAC, Eric Cantor's PAC. If you look at ERICPAC's reports, you see more tobacco - Altria, RJ Reynolds, and Lorillard, and defense contractors - Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and SAIC. Three of the individual contributors are employed by something called "The Alexander Strategy Group." What is "The Alexander Strategy Group?" Well, they're no longer in business, due to being "fatally damaged by publicity about the ongoing federal investigation into the affairs of" and "its ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former House majority leader Tom DeLay." See also: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2006/02/follow_the_mone.html http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alexander_Strategy_Group http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/09/AR2006010901996.html

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