Monthly Archives: December 2009

Shelby suspicious of lobbyists?

U.S. Sen Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, is on a roll. Sunday he was one of three Senate Republicans voting for a $1.1 trillion spending bill full of his earmarks. Monday he sent out a press release attaching a letter to the NASA inspector general. In pertinent part, the letter said this:

I am writing with serious concerns regarding the Augustine Commission staff, their vocation, and their conduct while serving as Commission staff. It has come to my attention that several members are, in fact, federally registered lobbyists and that some of these individuals have taken direct advantage of their temporary roles on the Commission to further their personal business. Further, there are lobbyists that worked as Commission staff that are not even acknowledged in the report. This is both disturbing and unconscionable.

Now look at this list of the top 20 contributors to Shelby’s campaign fund, compiled by opensecrets.org:

Rank

1

Contributor

Travelers Companies

Total

$52,750

Indivs

$50,250

PACs

$2,500

2 Radiance Technologies $45,750 $35,750 $10,000
3 Balch & Bingham $40,300 $30,300 $10,000
4 Sparta Inc $40,100 $30,100 $10,000
5 Drummond Co $35,800 $28,800 $7,000
6 JPMorgan Chase & Co $33,500 $26,500 $7,000
7 Future Research Corp $28,500 $28,500 $0
8 Citigroup Inc $26,200 $26,200 $0
9 Collazo Enterprises $26,100 $26,100 $0
10 Blackstone Group $26,000 $26,000 $0
11 Intergraph Corp $24,450 $17,450 $7,000
12 Southern Co $23,650 $13,650 $10,000
13 FMR Corp $23,550 $23,550 $0
14 Morris, Haynes & Hornsby $22,800 $22,800 $0
15 Ses Inc $21,500 $21,500 $0
16 Colsa Corp $21,300 $21,300 $0
17 Carlyle Group $20,750 $20,750 $0
18 Harbert Management $20,200 $20,200 $0
19 Dynetics Inc $19,900 $9,900 $10,000
20 Paulson & Co $19,200 $19,200 $0

The list includes numerous companies that benefit from NASA’s Ares and Constellation programs. The spending bill that got Shelby’s nod, by the way, included $1.5 billion for Ares and $3.46 billion for Constellation. That was a not-so-subtle way to force Obama to ignore the Augustine Commission recommendation that NASA scrap portions of the Ares program and instead use a commercial launch vehicle. The Ares alternative, almost without question, would be a ULA Delta IV or Atlas V, both made in Decatur.

Supporting Ares despite the Augustine Commission report is not irrational. For Shelby of all people to complain about lobbyist influence, however, is comical.


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Filed under Ares, Rockets

Shelby ideology just rhetoric

In October 2007, in a newsletter for his constituents, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, said this:

Each year, Congress is challenged with determining how to spend taxpayer dollars.  We must ask ourselves a difficult question: should we continue to fund programs that are politically advantageous or should we make tough decisions to cut spending to decrease our ever-growing federal debt?  While the path of least resistance is to increase spending, the long-term implications of a deficit are far more dangerous than any spending cut.

On Sunday, he was one of three Republicans to vote in favor of a $1.1 trillion spending bill. The bill never would have made it to a vote but for Shelby’s vote to end a Republican filibuster.

No question, Shelby’s vote brought lots of bacon to Alabama — especially to his hometown Tuscaloosa. Also without question, Shelby’s long-winded and frequent diatribes about federal spending are nothing but rhetoric. He is all about “politically advantageous” votes, not conservative ideology.

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Filed under Alabama politics, bailout