Here's one for KerryWatch and/or our new little Kerry-luvin' pal.
WASHINGTON - A Senate colleague was trying to close a loophole that allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal dollars from the nation's most expensive construction project. John Kerry stepped in and blocked the legislation
Over the next two years, the insurer, American International Group, paid Kerry's way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least $30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential campaign. Company executives donated $18,000 to his Senate and presidential campaigns.
Hmmmmmm..... how about "John Kerry: Special Intrest Whore"?
But to some government watchdogs, the tale of the Massachusetts senator's 2000 intervention, detailed in documents obtained by The Associated Press, is a textbook case of the special interest politicking that Kerry rails against on the presidential trail.
"The idea that Kerry has not helped or benefited from a specific special interest, which he has said, is utterly absurd," said Charles Lewis, head of the Center for Public Integrity that just published a book on political donations to the presidential candidates.
"Anyone who gets millions of dollars over time, and thousands of dollars from specific donors, knows there's a symbiotic relationship. He needs the donors' money. The donors need favors. Welcome to Washington. That is how it works."
The documents obtained by AP provide a window into Kerry's involvement in a two-decade-old highway and tunnel construction project in his home state of Massachusetts. Known as the "Big Dig," it had become infamous for its multibillion dollar cost overruns
I'll say it once, and I'll say it again. Anyone who thinks the Democrats wouldn't double the amount spent by President Bush upon election should have some sense slapped into them.
During the 1990s, Sens. Kerry and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., helped win new federal funding for the project as its costs skyrocketed and threatened to burden the state's government. In 1998, Kerry was credited with winning $100 million in new federal funding.
Translation: Kerry helped get buttloads of cash from the Feds.
But in 1999, the Transportation Department uncovered a financing scheme in which the project had overpaid $129.8 million to AIG for worker compensation and liability insurance that wasn't needed, then had allowed the insurer to keep the money in a trust and invest it in the market. The government alleged AIG kept about half of the profits it made from the investments, providing the other half to the project.
Outraged by the revelations, McCain submitted legislation that would have stripped $150 million from the Big Dig and banned the practice of allowing an insurer to invest and profit from excessive premiums paid with government money.
"Any refunds of insurance premiums or reserve amounts, including interest, that exceed a project's liabilities shall be immediately returned to the federal government," McCain's legislation declared.
But Kerry and Kennedy intervened, and McCain withdrew the legislation in 2000 in favor of the hearing
I see a problem looming here.
At that hearing, the Transportation's Department inspector general made a renewed plea for a permanent federal policy banning the overpayment of insurance premiums and subsequent investment for profit — what McCain had proposed and Kerry helped kill.
You can't penalize them! They give me MONEY!
Ah, I love the smell of corrupt politician in the morning! It smells like..... Victory!
Update: A commenter at Bill Quick's site gives us this link about Kerry. It seems that the military can't trust him even today. As usual, all emphasis is mine.
- Running For Senate In 1984, Kerry Called For Cancellation Of At Least 27 Weapons Systems And Reductions In 18 Other Systems. Kerry recommended cancellation of 27 weapons systems including the B1 bomber, the cruise missile, MX missile, Trident submarine, Patriot air defense missile, F15 fighter plane, Sparrow missile, stealth bomber and Pershing II missile. He recommended reductions in 18 other systems including the joint tactical air system, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the M1 Abrams tank and the F16 fighter plane.?
- Upon Entering Senate, Kerry's First Floor Speech Was In Opposition To Critical Missile Program And He Introduced Comprehensive Nuclear Freeze Bill. Kerry introduced: a bill to provide for a comprehensive bilateral and verifiable freeze between the United States and the Soviet Union on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons systems. The bill had no co-sponsors, and never made it to the Senate floor for a vote.
- Weapons Kerry Sought To Phase Out Were Vital In Iraq. Kerry supported cancellation of a host of weapons systems that have become the basis of US military might, the high-tech munitions and delivery systems on display to the world as they leveled the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in a matter of weeks.
- Kerry Voted Against At Least Eleven Military Pay Increases.
- As Senator, Kerry Also Pushed To Cut Intelligence Funding By More Than $2.58 Billion."
Gee Kerry, why didn't our intel people find out more about Saddam? Maybe because YOU CUT THEM OFF AT THEIR FINANCIAL KNEES?
Oh, this is going to be a fun election. The one Democrat with any hope of winning has dropped out, and any of the other Dimmy Donks is going to be open season for the rest of the Blogosphere.
And then Bush gets to campaign.