Yesterday I wrote about Koch Industries’ Georgia-Pacific plant in Crossett has been dumping pollution into the local river and exposing those in the town to deadly carcinogens. In a better world, the people in Crossett would have the ear of their elected representatives. In the world we live in, they don’t. Money talks in politics and just scratching the surface gives you an idea just how many people have been bought off by the Koch’s in this state. Example A, the Congressman that should be looking out for the people of Crossett, Mike Ross.
Over the course of his Congressional career, Ross has received thousands of dollars from Koch Industries, (something that got a little bit of newsattention earlier this year) so much so that it’s become apparent that he’s their favorite Democrat. This year, they’ve been his fourth largest contributor, giving 7,000 dollars to his campaign account (before it became clear Ross wasn’t running for reelection). They gave him 10,000last cycle,10,000 in 2006, and let’s not for get the 5,500 contribution to his leadership PAC last year. With contributions like that coming from one of the worst polluters in the country, people who are no stranger to the quid pro quot games of American campaign financing, it’s no wonder that Ross evolved into a crusader against the EPA and environmental regulations. It’s just like the health care debate, where thousands of Ross’s constituents could have benefited from reform but he sided with the insurance companies paying him to kill it. It’s just like Wall Street reform, where he sided with the firms lining his coffers rather than the people dealing with the economy their corruption had destroyed. It’s just like the fight over the Bush Tax Cuts, where he stood up for the 1% and had the audacity to say that it was the best thing for his impoverished district that was going to bare the brunt of the austerity measures Republicans were pushing to balance the budget. I used to call this thing soft corruption when we saw Blanche Lincoln doing. I’ve changed my mind. Just because it’s not illegal, doesn’t mean that this isn’t good old fashion, revolting, immoral corruption. And this is the man who wants to be our next Governor, a corrupt Koch sucking politician looking for the next available bribe.
I was talking with a friend from the fourth district today, discussing all this, and he said something that was kind of eye opening. He said that years ago you could tell from the smell in Crossett that something foul was being put in the waters. It’s obvious from the video posted on Koch Brothers Exposed that local residents have been dealing with this for awhile. So if it hasn’t been a secret, the question becomes what did Ross know and when did he know it? Was he totally oblivious to what was going on in his district? (Always a possibility.) Or did he turn a blind eye to it in exchange for Koch money? No, let’s call this what it is. When someone’s actions are killing a congressman’s constituents and that same someone is handing him cash to protect what they’re doing, you’ve got to call that blood money.
One last thing-while I really don’t mind singling Mike Ross out on this, this kind of thing is not uncommon in Arkansas politics. All three of the GOP congressmen have gotten contributions from the Kochs, and I bet if we scratch the surface of some campaign finance reports we’ll soon see who they’ve bribed in the state legislature to keep poison going into the water, soil, and air.