Monday, July 10, 2006

You can Hang a Sign on a Pig...

While I am not against giving my kids a few extra dollars out of my own pocket every now and then (and I do not call them commissions), this 6/27/06 story by Sac Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub shows that Doolittle, Inc. "commissions" go that extra mile--right to their private bank account; at the public's (our) expense.

Daniel Weintraub: California's power brokers serving narrow interests

By Daniel Weintraub -- Bee Columnist
Published 12:01 am PDT Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Story appeared in Editorials section, Page B7

California's politicians chronically complain that the state is getting shortchanged by the power brokers in the nation's Capitol. But if the influential Republicans who represent the Golden State in Washington, D.C., would spend as much time working for their constituents as they do lining the pockets of their friends and relatives, California might be getting a better shake in the national budget.


Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville, was a top lieutenant to former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a key player in the congressional leadership. Doolittle's wife, Julie, started a political events firm several years ago, a one-woman operation that Julie Doolittle runs out of the couple's suburban Virginia home.

The company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, was paid more than $66,000 by the lobbying firm of Jack Abramoff for work Julie Doolittle did on behalf of Abramoff's personal charity before the high-flying lobbyist pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

But Julie Doolittle's most lucrative client appears to be her husband. Since 2003, The Bee has reported, the congressman's campaign committees have paid his wife about $180,000 as compensation for raising campaign money for the lawmaker.

For every dollar Mrs. Doolittle raises for Mr. Doolittle's campaign, she pockets 15 cents. That means that every time Julie Doolittle approaches an individual or an interest group for a contribution to her husband's campaign, those donors know that a chunk of the money they give is going directly into the congressman's personal bank account.

It is illegal to use political campaign funds for personal purposes, and it's easy to see why: We don't want our congressmen relying on private interests for personal financial support. But there is no law against diverting a portion of those political contributions to pay a commission to a family member, even though the end result is the same. And the Doolittles have aggressively taken advantage of that loophole.


[That is sleazy no matter what your views may be]

To put things in perspective, consider what these power brokers could do for California if they used their influence to fix just one glaring inequity in federal law.

The matching funds the feds budget to reimburse states for providing health care to the poor are distributed through a formula based on the per capita income of each state's residents, rather than the number of poor people. This shortchanges California, because while the state has a lot of people in poverty who need health care, it also has a lot of wealthy people, which leads to a lower distribution of federal funds.

If the Medicaid formulas were based on the number of people in poverty, California's distribution would be $4 billion bigger than it is today -- enough to pretty much erase the state's chronic budget shortfall.

The nation's voters might elect enough Democrats this fall to end Republican control of Congress. If that happens, a lot of California congressmen will lose their powerful positions in control of the public purse. But California won't lose much.

Because those lawmakers have not been doing much to help the people they were elected to represent. [Why Not?]


My message to Congressman Doolittle:

You can hang a sign on a pig that says "Dog", but we all know it is still a pig.



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