Monday, March 10, 2014

The Buying and Selling of Votes

As an example:
Steve Stivers, our congressman is not the first nor will he be the last politician of either party to fall into the money trap. As long as dollars are considered more important than individual votes our system is prone to favor the special interests over the common interest.

COLUMBUS -- "Sometimes political puzzles are easy to solve: In Ohio Congressional District 15, 1,689 potential voters have sent messages to candidate Steve Stivers asking him to tell them his position on mountaintop removal coal mining. Stivers has replied to none of them and won't even acknowledge receiving them. Why? When a public official's actions don't seem to make sense, we look at campaign finance reports. We expected to find the top of the contributor list crowded with financial sector firms, given Sen. Stivers' years as a Bank One lobbyist. We were wrong. According to the Federal Elections Commission, by far the biggest contributor to Steve Stivers' 2008 campaign thus far has been American Electric Power," Catherine Turcer, Director,Money in Politics Project, Ohio Citizen Action. 40KB doc.

From Mr. Stivers: “As you know, H.R. 3826, the "Electricity Security and Affordability Act", was introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) on January 9, 2014. This legislation restricts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing or enforcing rules that establish performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions unless those rules rely on commercially available technology. The House passed this legislation in a bipartisan vote of 229-183 on March 6, 2014. It now moves to the Senate for further consideration.”

As mentioned in the Money in Politics article above, Mr.Stivers was a bank lobbyist for several years.
As a lobbyist for Bank One, Stivers lobbied successfully for a 2002 Ohio bill that blocked Ohio cities from enacting local ordinances intended to stop predatory mortgage lending.
As a state senator, Stivers was one of four lawmakers to oppose a 2006 bill that gave consumer protections against mortgage lenders.
AEP may have been his largest individual financial contributor at $33.000, but the finance/Insurance/Real estate sector contributed $439,059 to his $1,326,150 total raised for the 2014 cycle to according to VoteSmart

Paul Hunter

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