Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Blunt, Inc.

Thomas B. Edsall, of the Washington Post, wrote an interesting piece last May on the rapid rise of Roy Blunt and the incredibly vast network of lobbyists and corporate donors that have made him one of the most well-financed representatives on the hill. The story, entitled House Majority Whip Exerts Influence by Way of K Street, outlines how Roy, his new lobbyist wife Abigail and sons Matt and Andrew have benefited greatly since Roy took office as our 7th District Representative in 1997 and began schmoozing around with big money interests.

Blunt's corporate and K Street connections have grown at an uncanny rate over the past eight years - to the point that his own financial holdings through PACs and re-election committees rival, or even surpass those of his mentor, Tom DeLay. In short, Blunt has become the GOP's "key liaison to lobbyists . . . who direct the flow of individual and political action committee contributions from the 1,600 corporations and 1,200 trade associations with PACs." Hence the moniker Blunt, Inc.

"Here in Washington, Blunt has converted what had been an informal and ad hoc relationship between congressional leaders and the Washington corporate and trade community into a formal, institutionalized alliance. Lobbyists are now an integral part of the Republican whip operation on par with the network of lawmakers who serve as assistant whips."

So, according to the Washington Post, at least, we can thank our boy Roy for helping to create the lobbyist feeding frenzy that has overtaken D. C. during the Bush years - a climate that has helped breed the likes of our favorite fedora-wearing shyster, Jack Abramoff.

Blunt's campaign committee has raised some $8.58 million since 1997, including $3.35 million to his (not one, but two) Rely On Your Belief funds (ROYB) from 2000 to 2002. Altria, SBC Communications, Union Pacific, Burlington Northern, Verizon, United Parcel Service and BellSouth are major corporate contributors.

Roy Blunt: Man of the People.

Within the next three weeks or so, House Republicans are going to elect a new slate of leaders in the wake of the DeLay indictment and the looming Abramoff scandal. One wonders if they have the will to really make some meaningful changes. If the GOP has any inkling of making true reforms in their party operations in Congress, they might want push ethically challenged fundraiser types like Blunt to the background and place some people with higher ideals in positions of leadership. I wonder, what's the likelihood of that happening?

2 Comments:

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Safe Cruise Blog said...


Cruise line lobbyists related to Jack Abramoff Scandal/
Influence Peddling by the Cruise Lines. Several Lobbyist and some firms for the cruise lines are involved in the Abramoff Scandal.
42 people have gone overboard since 2000. Who is to blame? Go to http://safecruise.blogspot.com/ for more information and a possible solution. Michael Scanlon, lobbyist closest to Jack Abramoff and others from Preston Gates Ellis Rouvelas & Meeds LLP were lobbyists for Norwegian Cruise. Abramoff, Kevin Ring & David Safavian were involved in the Abramoff scandal and worked at Preston. ICCL hired lobbyists from Barnes & Thornburg where Edward Ayoob and Michales Scanlon worked.

Cruise Lines and their Lobbyists as reported by The Center for Public Integrity Total Amount Spent by Cruise Lines excluding Disney For Lobbying from 1998 to 2004 = $9,750,000 (Approximate) Total Amount Spent by Walt Disney Co for Lobbying From 1998 to 2004 = $ 23,626,800 (Approximate) It is unknown how much of this amount was for their cruise line.Data on Lobbying by Cruise Lines from the Center for Public Integrity Web Site

Project Safe Cruise will consist of a one week cruise in 2006 that will showcase the type of security and safety system that could be put in place by cruise lines to insure the safety and security of all passengers and crew and at the same time preserve evidence of crimes and/or accidents. On this Maiden Voyage we hope to offer short entertaining seminars and panel discussions by various security experts and perhaps some celebrities, on missing persons, identity theft, date rape, kidnapping, teenage and young child safety, security, safety, and health issues while in other countries or at sea, investment scams for seniors, how to buy art work, etc. We must focus on a positive solution that will benefit all parties involved and prevent future tragedies. This will be a win/win proposition giving all American passengers peace of mind and at the same time reducing crime and saving lives. If you are interested in learning more and perhaps joining the cruise or if you represent the press or would like to sponsor or help plan the cruise please leave contact information in the comment section or send an email to safecruise@hotmail.com. Become a charter member and be a part of history.

List of 42 Cases of Persons Overboard on Cruise Ships since 2000 Now Posted at Cruisejunkie.com

Now posted at Safecruise.blogspot.com: Project Safe Cruise could be a win-win solution for parties on both sides of the cruise ship safety issue. Look at it as an outside the box idea that is sort of like pre-event arbitration, a partnership if you will. Even though focusing on prevention is less glamorous and less dramatic than solving crimes, it is more efficient and gratifying, especially if we save one life or reduce the suffering of one family. We must work with the cruise lines to set up a cadre of independent contract employees that would act as security ombudsman who would –

 Know how to deal with a terrorist situation.
 Have the authority to lock down crime scenes and secure the chain of evidence.
 Deal immediately and directly with the FBI, Coast Guard, and other agencies and organizations in all ports of call.
 Provide ongoing security and safety training to crew and travel agents and organizers including shore excursion groups.
 Record and maintain a database of incidents and present some analysis of current procedures and conduct of parties involved and recommend improvements for all.
The cadre could be staffed by ex-military and ex-law-enforcement personnel who would get salary and/or some free cruise or vacation packages for their work, kind of like how many campgrounds have frequent campers act as hosts. What works good on land should work good on the water including a Neighborhood Watch or Guardian Angel type system that could include frequent customers, crew members, contract employees, travel agents, etc. Design an Amber Alert system for use on ships. The use of this and an independent cadre perhaps named Sea Marshals would provide the most important factor or element for preventing and solving crimes: TIME. We will contact Congressman Shays or his subcommittee for possible grants to solve the problem by thinking outside of the box?

 
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