Sugar Industry Expands Influence
Donations Spread Beyond Farm Areas
By Dan Morgan
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, November 3, 2007; A01
When U.S. sugar farmers needed help this summer defending a $1 billion, 10-year subsidy plan in a new House farm bill, they found it in some surprising places.
Among the 282 lawmakers siding with Midwest and Gulf Coast growers on a key vote was Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who represents Queens and Manhattan's East Side. The only sugar refinery in the New York area is well outside her district.
Four days after she voted against a measure that would have derailed the new subsidy plan, Maloney hosted a fundraising event at Bullfeathers restaurant on Capitol Hill that netted $9,500 in contributions from sugar growers and refiners, according to Federal Election Commission records and Maloney's election attorney, Andrew Tulloch. Tulloch called the timing of the July 31 fundraiser -- dubbed a "sugar breakfast" on the campaign finance report of one group -- a "pure coincidence."
Was that a brown coincidence, a granulated or a confectioner's coincidence? Confection is my guess; (noun) The act of creating something by compounding or mixing a variety of components.
What better metaphor for government? In a way, it's comforting that American sugar, the world's most expensive, will continue in that capacity due to yet another ten years of subsidy. Keeps that Central and South American sugar in its place. Sticks the corporate finger in Fidel Castro's eye.
"Take that for your terrific sugar and that again for your wonderful cigars. You're dealin' with America, pardner."
Maloney's election attorney, Andrew Tulloch, calls the fund-raiser "pure coincidence." My old daddy had a favorite saying, "She was pure as the driven snow, but she drifted."
Election attorney? They have 'election attorneys' nowadays to keep them out of jail? Whatever will the Congress think of next?
Fortunately, NAFTA has been artfully composed in such a way as to keep America on top and all our neighbors poor. It's the right thing to do (no pun intended). Once we've completed that wall along our borders, we'll construct a floating barrier up our East Coast and down our West--zipper in the whole country.
If you do the math, buying-off a majority vote in both the Senate and House at $9,500 a vote, costs a mere $2.5 million. For a $1 billion subsidy. Hey, would you spend two and a half dollars to get a thousand back? It's astonishing to me how cheaply American government can be bought.
The Congress is one of the few American bargains still left in the world.
Sell off the Statue of Liberty for scrap. Rep. Carolyn Maloney can handle the deal. Could be the title for a movie: "Showdown at Bullfeathers," coming to a screen near you soon.
* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Washington at Work, check out Opinion-Columns.com