Okay. Where do I sign-up for the gravy train?
I love beer. I really love McEwan’s Export which nobody carries. I’d love to import that beer. I’d have to pay import taxes and duties though.
It would be great if I could import the beer and not pay the taxes. I wish I could call up my Congressman and say I wanted him to sponsor a bill that would allow me to buy that beer without paying the taxes. That would be awesome.
It would be doubly awesome if sassy bloggers like Mike Mathews
and Dana Garrett
decided to let me and Castle get away with it without blowing the whistle. AND it would be awesome to the 10th power if dumb-ass radio morons like Gerry Fulcher and lap dog journalists like Celia Cohen decided to take a pass on the story.
Sure, it would deny the government treasury a few thousand bucks. But, after all, I’m a constituent. It would be a win/win for me and Mike so he would be willing to slash my import tax bills right?
Probably not. But what if I greased the skids with a nice campaign contribution or two or twenty. You think Castle would sponsor that beer bill?
Well, it might work if my name was Jason DuPont, Jason Ciba or Jason Syngenta. In fact I know it would work because it has worked. My feable review of public records reveals a troubling pattern of behavior by our Congressman.
Since 1993, Mike Castle has been the sole sponsor of 103 bills which apparently were intended to provide relief to certain chemical and agribusiness companies from customs duties imposed by the federal government on the importation of certain chemicals. During the same period of Mike Castle’s congressional career, the chemical industry, including some (if not all) of the companies directly benefiting from these Castle-sponsored bills, contributed over $106,000 to his campaign committee.
Let’s focus on the current Congress, the 109th. Since the beginning of this Congress in January 2005, Mike Castle has been the main sponsor of 63 bills. Of those 63 bills, 29 are pieces of legislation which, if passed, would suspend a tariff on a specific chemical, or extend a pre-existing tariff suspension on a chemical. You can review Mike Castle’s most recent legislation here.
Apparently, as part of the process for this type of legislation, the United States International Trade Commission reviews these proposed tariff suspensions to determine the cost imposed on the US Treasury if the tariff is suspended. Of the 29 tariff suspension bills, Mike Castle sponsored, I was able to locate 18 memos on-line from the Commission, each of which discussed the effect of suspension of a particular tariff.$120,000,000 to the chemcial industry. CHA-CHING!!
Based on our own government’s estimates, just these 18 of Mike Castle’s tariff suspension bills would cost the US Treasury over $21,000,000 in lost tariff revenue. I know this is a rough extrapolation, but if you take the average lost tariff revenue of these 18 ($1,166,666) and multiply that by the 103 bills like this Mike Castle has sponsored, it appears Mike Castle has provided over $120,000,000 of benefit to his chemical industry contributors. To see one of these Commission memos on one of Mike Castle’s bills, click here.
These bills are, in essence, earmarks to Mike Castle’s contributors. Isn’t that the same kind of pay-for-favors activities that is behind the Abramoff scandal? Shouldn’t someone in the main stream media be digging into this? Don’t any of the News Journal reporters aspire to win a Pulitzer Prize? Drew Volturo, you seemed hungry. What about our sassy bloggers?
(....the sound of crickets chirping in the distance…)
Okay forget about the papers and the bloggers – What about us? Shouldn’t we have a problem with having a Congressman who is basically on the payroll of DuPont and Syngenta?
Don’t we have any better uses for the $120 million Michael Castle saw fit to give away to the drug companies? Isn't America still a Democracy?