ProPublica has a piece on how members of Congress have used Bruce Springsteen concerts as a fund-raising tool. One of Georgia’s own is among those cited:
At least 19 congressional fundraisers were held at Springsteen’s two Washington concerts last year, almost half of them in boxes rented from companies or organizations with business before the committees of the lawmakers who used them.
C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md., a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that helps write NASA’s budget, rented his box from a major NASA contractor. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who sits on the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee, rented his from an association of federal credit unions. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., who sits on the Energy and Commerce subcommittee that helped draft landmark tobacco-safety legislation last year, got his box from one of the world’s leading cigarette makers….
Barrow, the Georgia Democrat, rented his suite from Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris and a dominant player in the global tobacco market. Barrow sits on the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, which last year helped draft legislation to regulate tobacco products. Altria, which supported the bill, contributed $7,000 to Barrow’s campaign last year, more than offsetting the $6,666.60 the Congressman paid for the suite.
At Thursday’s tea party gathering in downtown Atlanta, it was difficult not to notice the dearth of Republican elected officials. Among the few who showed up were state Sens. Preston Smith (R-Rome) and Judson Hill (R-Marietta), both of whom voted against a package of tax hikes, fee increases and delayed tax cuts needed to stitch together next year’s state budget.
The backstage info:
– Smith said he has no intention of jumping into the lieutenant governor’s race, despite his public lambasting of Casey Cagle and other Republican Senate leaders;
– Hill confirmed that his vote in the Senate against the hospital bed tax has resulted in his bills grinding to a halt in the House – which easily approved the bed tax.
SB 407 would allow Georgians to purchase health insurance from companies in other states. A similar bill backed by Gov. Sonny Perdue is alive and well in the Senate.
Another Hill bill, SB 317, is intended to block mandatory participation in the new health care system coming out of Washington.
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