Friday, December 05, 2008

Follow the $$: Big 3 Spent Millions On Lobbying

(CBS) -- As Congress mulls over a bailout for U.S. automakers, some may be thinking about more than jobs and the economy. The auto industry spent nearly $50 million lobbying Congress in the first nine months of this year. And people tied to the auto industry gave another $15 million in campaign contributions.

It's not surprising that a lot of that money went to members of Congress from Michigan, where the auto industry is the biggest employer and politicians are passionate advocates for their constituents.

Take Sen. Carl Levin, who received $438,304 from the automotive industry. And in the House, Rep. Joe Knollenberg received $879,327. Rep. John Dingell got nearly a million from the industry. All have enjoyed generous support from the auto industry over their careers, with GM and Ford as their two top contributors. All support a bailout.

But nobody's been a bigger advocate for Motor City interests than Dingell. And for him, the stakes aren't just political, they're personal. His personal financial health and the wealth of his family is tied up in the car industry.

Dingell's wife Debbie once worked as a lobbyist for GM. When she married the congressman, she became a senior GM executive at an undisclosed salary. And CBS found the couple has extensive GM assets. Dingell's current financial disclosure filed in May lists GM stock worth up to $350,000, options worth up to $1 million more, and a GM pension fund. In 2000, among the Dingells' GM assets were stock options worth up to $5 million.

MP: As P.J. O'Rourke reminds us, "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."

HT: Travis Walker


At 12/05/2008 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Color me shocked!!!!

Meanwhile the sky continues to be blue and snow is still cold.

At 12/05/2008 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, can someone explain how this obvious conflict of interest is allowed?

At 12/05/2008 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is this much different than the Southern states giving billions of dollars for car companies to locate there and then lambasting the American car company C.E.O.s while leaving the bankers in New York cashing their checks?

Why is a loan considered a bailout before it's defaulted? I have a house loan and car loan, would that be considered a "bailout."

At 12/05/2008 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A problem with the "Big 3" is they want it both ways. They refuse to develop a business plan that will make them profitable which would require backbone from management and the resulting strike. Then, because they do not have a real business plan, they seek money from the taxpayer. So the taxpayer provides the cash for them to pay the workers for not working and those that do work are paid a premium over the competition. Meanwhile, most of the taxpayers are out buying foreign cars even though they subsidize the domestic industry.

Somehow, this does not make sense to me and all I have ever bought is cars from the "big 3".

At 12/07/2008 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what's the point? ALL corporate interests engage in lobbying and regard it as a savvy investment for the sake of the industry. It's the American way. The larger the industry - the larger the investment. I read here no condemnation of the millions spent by the pharmaceutical industry.
. . . It is apparent that when a crazed wolf pack is assaulting an entity, everything that entity has done is characterized as being malevolent.

At 12/08/2008 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that its right, but what industry *doesn't* lobby? They all have concerns with the government, be it regulations or taxes, etc that they want to influence to their economic benefit.


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