RAMPANT CRONYISM AND CORRUPTION
The term crony capitalism is attributed to Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos reserved the term for corrupt economic systems and developing or formerly Communist Nations. Since then, the term has been applied to any government who awards friends with cushy jobs in exchange for money. Just like the Republican Administrations before, the Bush Administration of today has engaged in such practices. Mostly in the form of lobbying and campaign front groups and just groups in general, the Bush Administration has turned the concept of crony capitalism into an art form and has made it part of everyday government protocol. For many crony capitalism is part of a bigger puzzle: FASCISM: A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of the sate and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.
Nationalism is all around us, so are corporate pigs and greedy business men. These greedy business men, and their political cohorts have repeatedly exchanged money for favors and campaign donations for ambassadorships. Already 24 campaigning pioneers (100K+ fundraisers) or their spouses and have been given ambassadorships. One man who was ascending the ladder of right wing fundraising was Acklie, who never received his ambassadorship. Acklie, a "super ranger" helped organize a 400K fundraiser in Omaha for now Vice President Dick Cheney. A week after the Omaha event, Bush nominated Acklie to the Student Loan Marketing Association's Board of Directors as its designated chairman. Acklie did not want the B of D chairmanship, he wanted the damn ambassadorship. He didn't receive it. I guess he did not funnel enough money to the RNC headquarters.
Crony Capitalism within in the Bush Administration goes beyond foreign relations, it passes over to taxes. As well all know, the Bush Administration is for fiscal responsibility, the free market enterprise and low taxes. Low taxes, not so much when it comes to the oligarchy, try no taxes or the more consumer friendly "pretax." After President Bush fired Sec of Treasury Paul O'Neill, he appointed former CEO of CSX John Snow to fill the vacancy. Under Snow, CSX never paid federal income taxes in the last three of four years. What is even more impressive is that CSX with the aid of tax shelters was able to score 164 million in tax rebates at the time, when the paid no taxes at all. Bush still appointed Snow to oversee the very same Treasury he (Snow) looted. Tax evasion and related covert activities. These heinous acts of screwing the American people go to the Dept. of Interior. Sec. of Interior, Gale Norton. Norton, a former mining industry lobbyist is a proponent of "self audit" laws which gives the option to corporations and mining/logging industries if they want to follow regulations or not. In her writings, Norton indicated that there is a "homesteading right to pollute." Norton was also a lobbyist for NL industries. While at NL industries she lobbied for a group that is associated with waste disposal sites, mining locations and facilities. Speaking of disposals, one of Bush's architects of "new environmentalism" Lynn Scarlett, CEO of Libertarian Reason Foundation. Scarlett says that disposals are a good thing and that we are not running out of resources. She was also a member of the Thoreau Institute which seeks to keep the environment healthy without bureaucracies, regulations or central control ( i.e. No Government Intervention).
It is quite obvious that the Republicans and the Bush Administration and its lobbyists are in an oblivion when it comes to the environment, meaning they hate it. However, they are not in an oblivion when it comes to war. If there is anything more shameful than war profiteering, I would like to know what it is. As well all know, Halliburton and KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) were given some of the most no-bid contracts to rebuild in Iraq. And Dick Cheney former CEO of the company who still receives an abundant pension plan over 300K per month is now Vice President. There is also another company who lacks the clout of Halliburton. Bechtel incorporated was granted the second One Billion capital construction involving Iraq's utilities, telecommunications, railroads, ports and health care facilities. Riley Bechtel was named to the President's Export Coucil which advises the president on programs on a variety of issues. Bechtal also paid more than 110, 000 to the EPA and the Energy Department in 2000 and 2001 to settle safety and environmental violations. Bechtel has prime construction contracts in Iraq worth more than two billion dollars. The company also hired three subcontractors for work in Iraq that have been fined more than $86 million in the last four years. Bechtel on their website states: "We do not expect or receive political favors or government contracts as a result of those contributions."
The top ten contractors present in Iraq contributed 11 million to national political parties, candidates and PACs since 1990. Fourteen companies won contracts in Afghanistan and in Iraq. The total campaign contribution of these groups since 1990 has been 23 million. In the same time period contract contributions to the Republican Party have surpassed those to the Democratic Party, 12.7 to 7.1 in millions. *
As one would expect many of the companies with large contractors have important political connections that now occupy prominent positions with in our Defense and State Departments. Jack Sheenan, Senior Vice President in Bechtel's Petroleum and Chemical Business, served on the Defense Policy Board, which gives advice to the Secretary of State. Also, Christopher "Ryan" Henry left SAEC in 2003 as the V.P. He to become the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. As well as, Scott Spangler, principal owner of Chemonics International, was a Sr. US Agency for International Development official during the first Bush Administration. Company receives 90 of funding from USAID. Last by not least,Carol Haave, the Deputy Asst. Sec. of Def. for Security and Info. Operations.
It is quite evident that the corporate-government job relationship exists. Such relationships continue to reinforce the concept of crony capitalism that the Bush Administration so shamelessly flaunts in the open. I highly doubt that the vast majority of Americans would disaprove of former CEOs of corporations (some collapsed, some stable) would be advising people who hold their lives in our hands and advise the President's most prominent and influential confidantes.
*The information was collected by Center for Public Integrity from 73 requests made possible by the Freedom of Information Act
June 22, 2005
A SATIRICAL LOOK AT CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM AND OVERALL CORRUPTION
How the GOP Disciplined K Street and Made Bush Supreme
Updated September 4, 1998