Home Opinions/Columns Guest Editorial Politicos pocket special interest money
Politicos pocket special interest money
Written by Jim Hightower   
Thursday, 16 July 2009 12:13

Like a shoplifter's long coat, a politician's suit comes with an astonishing assortment of inside pockets. A report by USA Today reveals that hundreds of lawmakers are eagerly stuffing each one of theirs with special-interest influence money.

Take the "foundation pocket." Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican created the Barton Family Foundation, which has become a handy place for corporate interests to stash cash and earn Joe's appreciation. For example, Exelon, a nuclear-powered electric company, generously donated  $75,000. Did I mention that Barton is the top Republican on the house energy committee and often does legislative favors for the nuclear industry? Joe can't even pretend that he doesn't know who gives to his foundation, since he personally wrote to Exelon's CEO to solicit the money!

Then there's the "institute pocket." In Boston, Democrat Ted Kennedy is setting up an "Institute for the United States Senate," which will be named for - guess who? - himself. Amgen, the giant drug maker, slipped a cool $5 million into this pocket. Coincidentally, Kennedy chairs the senate health committee and is a key player in the current effort to reform America's health care system. Not that the donation is intended to influence Sen. Kennedy's positions, of course. A corporate spokesperson says that the $5 million merely reflects Amgen's interest in helping "young people become engaged in public service and public policy."

There's even a small but influential "portrait pocket" sewn into the suits of such powerful Congress critters as Rep. Jerry Lewis. The California Republican, a past-chairman of the appropriations committee, got ego-stroking money from lobbyists to have an oil painting of himself hung in the committee room.

If you notice that your own representatives are looking a little lumpy, check their pockets.

Distributed by

Comments (0)Add Comment

Post a comment
Login on the right column to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.


By: Alyce Fielding

Contact e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Show Other Articles


If you found a penny on the floor, would you pick it up?

The Current Weather for Millbury, OH USA


Log in