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Monday, September 18, 2006

 

Who is Castle Really Working for? Part III

How much does it cost to rent Congressman Castle?

Like I said in an earlier post, I'm not the right person to be doing this. However, the more I look into Michael Newbold Castle's record, the more serious questions are raised, and the more I feel compelled to keep digging.

For readers joining the program in progress here is a quick recap:

I found 29 bills introduced by Michael Castle that benefited a very narrow constituency. Each if the 29 bills dealt with the suspension of tariffs for various chemical compounds that I thought were related big pharma. As it turned out the bills are designed to benefit of the bio-ag-chemical industry. So, I must have missed the press conference, but Michael "Straight Arrow" Castle seems to have taken the poor downtrodden bio-ag-chemical industry under his wing.

What $100,000 dollars gets you

Check me on this, but using www.opensecrets.org, I have so far found that Mike Castle has collected over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the chemical industry during his congressional career alone.

I'm ready to say that Castle actually traded these legislative favors, the tariff suspension bills, for contributions. Could I convict him for it? Probably not. Not yet anyway. But tell me if you don't smell something fishy.

Well-timed contributions

To me, this smells funny. Castle introduced one of these bills (H.R.2913) on June 15, 2005. The bill'’s purpose was "To suspend temporarily the duty on Thiamethoxam,” a pesticide promoted by Syngenta. About five weeks later, on July 25, 2005, Castle received a $1,000 contribution to his campaign from the Syngenta PAC.

That'’s one piece of evidence. Is that timing just a coincidence? Well, if one set of circumstances is just a coincidence, do two make a pattern?

Can Castle explain the timing between his $5,000 contribution from the DuPont PAC on June 20, 2005 and his introduction two days later, on June 22, 2005, of a bill (H.R.3025) "“To extend the suspension of duty on Esfenvalerate, a pesticide manufactured by DuPont.

The timing of these contributions and our Congressman'’s action don't prove an illegal quid pro quo but do raise some questions that someone (with more standing than me)should be looking into.

I mean, I don't Castle just woke up one morning and said "I think the tariff'’s on Esfenvalerate are too darn high, and by golly I'm going to do something about it."”

What would St. Ferris Wharton say?

Clearly, someone had to ask the Congressman to propose these pieces of legislation. Who at DuPont and Syngenta contacted Castle about the legislation? Did the companies volunteer the campaign contributions —or were they shaken down? Did Castle solicit these contributions directly? Or did someone on Castle'’s staff do the dirty work?

Perhaps, our Congressman and the companies involved would be willing to voluntarily disclose all of the e-mails and other communications regarding those bills and contributions, so we can understand how Castle came to sponsor these measures. (HA!!! I kill myself.)

No. I don't think Castle and the chemical companies are going to come clean voluntarily. Maybe our crusading U.S. Attorney, Colm Connolly always concerned about public corruption could issue a subpoena and get to the bottom of this.

Or how about this...maybe this could be a debate question posed to Ferris Wharton and Beau Biden : "“Do you think a federal investigation of Congressman Castle's relationship with big donors and the possibility of an illegal quid pro quo for his introduction of tariff relief legislation should be opened?" I think the AG candidates response to that question would help me make my voting decision.

Now seem like a good time to see if Wharton is "“above politics"” as they say he is.

Either way, I am nowhere near the bottom of this. The research continues. I'’ll let you know what I find.
........................

Update: Welcome WDEL listeners. Relax, stay a while.

Comments:
I don't think a Congressman from Delaware even needs payoffs anymore to give breaks to the chem business - I think it's just their nature. What stocks is Castle holding?
 
Good point. Most bio-ag-chem co's dropped GMO when western europe turned against "frankenfoods".

Not DuPont, they doubled down. I'll have to look into the market implications and timing.
 
It was the IRS, not the FBI that finally put Al Capone away.
 
Pretty good issues you raise here. Are you going to forward your analysis to Beau Biden's campaign?
 
Jay,

It is worth a try. The first thing they'll say is that it is a Federal issue and they Biden is running for a State job.

But that is a dodge. If enough people say - "Knowing that this is a federal issue, as a prosocutor, DO YOU THINK AN INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE OPENED?"

They might have to take a position at some point, and that would be a little more light on the issue.

BTW - I like your new look. Let me know how the blogger beta works for you.
 
Jason, this is great stuff!
 
wow, this is sizzlin'.
"checking on market timing" talk is making a for a few in-their-boots-shakin' individuals about now.

Now we just need to go for the Chemo-AG-Carper-legis connection too....any takers?
 
hmm

$100,000 raised durring his Congressional carreer (14yrs)in delaware where Chem/Pharma is a major employeer.

$100,000 out of what $15 or $20 million dollars raised in that time frame? thats less than one percent.

taking lessons from vernon at conspiracy watch?
 
I hope Castle takes the "What's a measly $100k?" defense.

Hap - I have not studied the money comming in from law firms and indivuals related to agri-business in detail, but the raw numbers are staggering.
 
I wonder if Tom Carper's ever taken money from the bio-ag industry? The pharma. industry? The banking industry? All in a trade-off for lower taxes. This problem is systemic and it didn't start with Castle and it won't end with him either.
 
Carper is in up to his arm pits - but my little frying pan is too small to fry two fish at a time. I'd love to see TING dig into this. It would put a little more light on the subject.
 
It's not corrupt to defend interests that employ your constituents. If Castle had demanded higher tariffs for these businesses, they would no doubt pack up and go elsewhere, leaving hundreds of Delawareans jobless.
 
anony 1:45
thanks for the reminder about
blackmail for jobs
DEDO and the
millions in state taxes they get too

Add that in Jason.
 
It's not corrupt to defend interests that employ your constituents.

Yes it is, if you break the law to defend those interests.

He was (is) on the take. The suspended duties robbed the treasury at a time of war. And in spite of your theory there is no insurance that the jobs are going away anyway so he sold his office and bought nothing.
 
If Castle had demanded higher tariffs for these businesses, they would no doubt pack up and go elsewhere

ummm... the point is that the businesses already DID pack up and go elsewhere. When you hear Dems complaining about tax breaks that subsidize companies that export American jobs, Mike Castle's chemical duty exemptions are Exhibit A (Carper too).

Paging Lou Dobbs...
 
"On the take" means he personally benefits from his actions. Are you saying he pockets money from these interests in exchange for his votes?
 
FSP, it's the latest MoveOn.org talking points, Using language to "criminalize" policy differences. see also "caught red handed"
 
I'm saying that it is not at all surprising that the guy has a million bucks in his campaign account.

Regarding his personal finances, I'd need subpoena power to be sure - but I would not put it past him.

So illegal - maybe. Unethical - certianly. Doesn't this grate on your small government sensibilities in some small way?
 
hap -

You are right. I seem to have caught Castle red handed.

But what about the main point: “Do you think a federal investigation of Congressman Castle's relationship with big donors and the possibility of an illegal quid pro quo for his introduction of tariff relief legislation should be opened?"

You can say no - but I'd hope you could come up with a better reason than he is a nice guy.
 
"I seem to have caught Castle red handed."

I'm sure it seems that way to you.
 
I'm saying that it is not at all surprising that the guy has a million bucks in his campaign account.

He's an incumbent. Of course he has a million bucks in his account.
 
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