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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

 

No DeLay in Trumpish corruption

by Tom Sullivan


Tom DeLay, former member of the United States House of Representatives.

You were expecting Honest Abe?

Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking industry executives on Tuesday that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda, and revealed that, as a congressman, he would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his campaign.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lending industry officials at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
Now where might Mulvaney have gotten that idea and the boldness to express it in public? Maybe this from 1995 will help:
In the annals of the House Republican revolution, a pivotal moment came last April when an unsuspecting corporate lobbyist entered the inner chamber of Majority Whip Tom DeLay, whose aggressive style has earned him the nickname "the Hammer." The Texas congressman was standing at his desk that afternoon, examining a document that listed the amounts and percentages of money that the 400 largest political action committees had contributed to Republicans and Democrats over the last two years. Those who gave heavily to the GOP were labeled "Friendly," the others "Unfriendly."

"See, you're in the book," DeLay said to his visitor, leafing through the list. At first the lobbyist was not sure where his group stood, but DeLay helped clear up his confusion. By the time the lobbyist left the congressman's office, he knew that to be a friend of the Republican leadership his group would have to give the party a lot more money.
Tom DeLay would be convicted in 2010 of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The conviction was later overturned. Mulvaney made sure to mention that constituents got a hearing from him before lobbyists who had payed him. He received nearly $60,000 from payday lenders.

The New York Times reports that since taking over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
... he has frozen all new investigations and slowed down existing inquiries by requiring employees to produce detailed justifications. He also sharply restricted the bureau’s access to bank data, arguing that its investigations created online security risks. And he has scaled back efforts to go after payday lenders, auto lenders and other financial services companies accused of preying on the vulnerable.
Mulvaney insists the Associated Press refer to the agency by its statutory label, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, you know, to lower its public profile even further. Time does not permit a review of Trump EPA head Scott Pruitt's greatest hits. This administration puts Tom DeLay to shame.

"If you, dear reader, are thinking that the world has gone barking bonkers, then you might be one of The Decents," writes Kathleen Parker in considering videos shot by the Syracuse University chapter of the Theta Tau fraternity. Videos that surfaced over the weekend show members mimicking a sexual assault on a disabled person. Where could they have gotten the idea for that?

The district attorney for Onondaga County ruled the videos "repulsive" but not criminal. Parker urges the expulsion of the students involved, not for racism or anti-Semitism or legally protected speech, but for behavior contributing to the "gradual unraveling of decent society."

"Gradual" seems no longer to apply, given behaviors modeled for us in Washington. Hostility to virtually every non-white ethnic group and efforts to divide families through deportation make headlines every day. The Trump administration now wants to overturn treaty protections dating from the founding of the republic and impose work requirements on Native Americans if they want to keep their access to Medicaid:
[T]he Trump administration contends the tribes are a race rather than separate governments, and exempting them from Medicaid work rules — which have been approved in three states and are being sought by at least 10 others — would be illegal preferential treatment. “HHS believes that such an exemption would raise constitutional and federal civil rights law concerns,” according to a review by administration lawyers.
If only we could harness indecency as a power source.

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