Thursday, 11 June 2015

Corporations Bribe Senators to Vote for TPP Fast-Track

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When the power is in the hands of base mercenary persons, they will always make as much profit of their places as they can. Not only matters of favor, but justice, too, will be exposed to sale; and no way will be open to honors and magistracies, but by paying largely for them. He that gets office by these means will not execute it grants: he thinks he may sell what he has bought.

Algernon Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government


The U.S. Senate is full of men and women who paid for their office and now expect to be paid for using the power they bought. The latest example comes from the vote on granting the president trade-promotion authority (TPA) — power to “fast track” passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Guardian reports that “Fast-tracking the TPP, meaning its passage through Congress without having its contents available for debate or amendments, was only possible after lots of corporate money exchanged hands with senators.”

In other words, senators — each of whom swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution — have been bribed to ignore our founding document and deliver power over the country’s trade policy to the president and globalist bureaucrats who will manage the TPP.

Remarkably, the votes on the legislation accomplishing this atrocity weren’t even close.

On May 14, the Senate approved the TPA bill 65-33 and then 62 of those same senators voted a few days later to shut down debate on the matter. 

How much money would it take to convince those “impress majorities” to violate their oaths of office and sacrifice American sovereignty on the altar of “free trade?” The Guardian has identified the source of the money and the senators who participated in the bipartisan betrayal:

Using data from the Federal Election Commission, this chart shows all donations that corporate members of the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP made to U.S. Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate:

Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 “yea” votes.

The average Republican member received $19,673.28 from corporate TPP supporters.

The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from those same donors.

Additional insight into the treachery comes from the revelation that the amount of the “donations” increased significantly for those senators running for reelection. The story of the graft is so appalling even Hollywood would likely reject the plot. Here’s The Guardian’s report:

Two days before the fast-track vote, Obama was a few votes shy of having the filibuster-proof majority he needed. Ron Wyden and seven other Senate Democrats announced they were on the fence on 12 May, distinguishing themselves from the Senate’s 54 Republicans and handful of Democrats as the votes to sway.

In just 24 hours, Wyden and five of those Democratic holdouts — Michael Bennet of Colorado, Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, and Bill Nelson of Florida — caved and voted for fast-track.

Bennet, Murray, and Wyden — all running for re-election in 2016 — received $105,900 between the three of them. Bennet, who comes from the more purple state of Colorado, got $53,700 in corporate campaign donations between January and March 2015, according to Channing’s research.

How about the Republicans? All but two of them — Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — voted to approve fast-track and they were paid accordingly. Again, from The Guardian:

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who is the former US trade representative, has been one of the loudest proponents of the TPP. (In a comment to the Guardian Portman’s office said: “Senator Portman is not a vocal proponent of TPP — he has said it’s still being negotiated and if and when an agreement is reached he will review it carefully.”) He received $119,700 from 14 different corporations between January and March, most of which comes from donations from Goldman Sachs ($70,600), Pfizer ($15,700), and Procter & Gamble ($12,900). Portman is expected to run against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland in 2016 in one of the most politically competitive states in the country.

Seven Republicans who voted “yea” to fast-track and are also running for re-election next year cleaned up between January and March. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia received $102,500 in corporate contributions. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, best known for proposing a Monsanto-written bill in 2013 that became known as the Monsanto Protection Act, received $77,900 – $13,500 of which came from Monsanto.

Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain received $51,700 in the first quarter of 2015. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina received $60,000 in corporate donations. Eighty-one-year-old senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is running for his seventh Senate term, received $35,000. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who will be running for his first full six-year term in 2016, received $67,500 from pro-TPP corporations.

With regard to Monsanto (and other powerful multi-national corporations), The New American reported in 2013:

Although the American people (and the people of all nations involved in the pact) are prevented from participating or even watching the various rounds of meetings where the TPP is being deliberated by representatives of the 12 “partners,” global multi-nationals Monsanto and Walmart are helping draft the agreement.

Word is that the final TPA vote will come as soon as Friday. The payment of millions to senators — Republicans and Democrats — to buy their votes almost certainly assures that the collusion between corporations and Congress will result in the surrender of U.S. law-making authority to an unaccountable body of bureaucrats established and empowered within the thousands of pages of the still-secret provisions of the TPP.


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