Thursday, October 20, 2011

Corporate Greed and YOUR Legislator's Pocketbook

People are all wondering about “Corporate Greed” and why there is an Occupy movement going on.

Well, - ya know – us ignorant citizens can take about as much as we can take before we rise up –
NOT ONLY against the corporations –
BUT ALSO against politicians
   who put corporate greed
   AND The legislator's own personal greed
above the citizens that they are elected to represent.

There is always the possibility when you pair ordinary people with corporations who can control and bribe them that there may be problems when it comes to governance.

Here's a little tale about how corporate greed leads to legislator greed.
It really doesn't matter what state it is -it could be any state - this story just seems to unravel, so Alaska gets picked on today.

Whatever the resolution of all this  was - it really doesn't matter - it's the overall pattern of corporate greed and legislator corruption that should be of concern.

It really is up to US, folks - to eliminate corporate greed and we HAVE TO start looking at our legislators as a major cause of ongoing corporate greed in government.

In 1999, CCA [Corrections Corporation of America] made the President’s List for contributions to ALEC’s [American Legislative Exchange Council] States and National Policy Summit; Wackenhut also sponsored the conference. Also, past cochairs of the Criminal Justice Task Force have included Brad Wiggins, then Director of Business Development at CCA and now a Director of Customer Relations, and John Rees, a CCA vice president.

In 1996, the Alaska Legislature was flooded by teams of private-prison representatives eager to convince lawmakers of the merits of privatization. Corrections Corporation of America [CCA] teamed with Chugach Alaska Corp., an Alaska native corporation. Wackenhut, the number two corrections corporation, teamed with Veco, an major oil-industry maintenance company, and Allvest Inc., which ran halfway-houses in the state. Both hired prominent lobbying firms to further their causes. [35] The groups also put nearly $200,000 into the campaigns of lawmakers during the 1996 elections. (Allvest alone put nearly $120,000 into the campaigns of candidates between 1990 and 1998, with more than $92,000 going to sitting legislators and incumbents.)

Alaska State Legislature   Representative Pete KottALEC MEMBER

A federal jury in September convicted Kott, 58, of bribery, conspiracy and extortion for his role in advocating an oil tax pushed by Veco Corp. executives and favored by North Slope oil producers. He received nearly $9,000, a political poll for his re-election campaign and the promise of a lobbying job, all from Veco executives, according to testimony.

The stakes in Juneau during the 2006 legislative session were huge. Kott and other Veco allies were trying to keep the proposed new oil tax on profits at 20 percent, as the industry wanted. But others were pushing for a higher rate. Even a one percent change in the tax rate meant tens of millions to the state, if not even more.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that Company A, a multinational corporation that provided services to the energy, resource and process industries and to the public sector, had significant financial interests in contracts from oil producers in Alaska, natural gas pipeline legislation, and a legislative proposal called the "petroleum production tax," or PPT, that would change the taxation of oil production.
…the indictment alleges that Kott and Weyhrauch each corruptly solicited and/or received multiple financial benefits from Company A in exchange for each legislator's agreement to perform official acts as a member of the Alaska state legislature to further the company's business interests.

According to the indictment, Kott corruptly solicited, and the company agreed to provide, employment for Kott after he left the state legislature, as well as other things of value. At a meeting in April 2006 with the company's vice president and, via teleconference, the CEO, Kott said he had been successful in getting other state legislators to support the oil tax legislation favored by Company A, and that he believed the bill would pass. Kott allegedly said in a meeting with the company's CEO and vice president on May 7, 2006, that he had worked to kill an amendment to the PPT bill because Company A's CEO told him to do so. According to the indictment, Kott said, "I had to get 'er done. So I had to come back and face this man right here [pointing to the CEO]. I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie."

March 11, 2010
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG, to illustrate  the loophole in existing law, referred to  the federal corruption case  involving the VECO  Corporation,  wherein although  the  company  didn't realize  any pecuniary gain - and the State  of Alaska didn't realize any loss or damage  - the company  was certainly seeking pecuniary  gain and  pecuniary loss  or  damage to the State  -  when it  bribed certain Alaska  lawmakers  to  defeat  a  tax  that  would  have affected the  oil and gas industry.

Or you have this
DON YOUNG – ALEC Alumni – Now serving in the US Congress - also from Alaska
Young was the subject of a 2007 Justice Department criminal inquiry on the basis of his association with employees of the VECO Corporation that were convicted of bribery. VECO CEO Bill Allen, who hosted a yearly fundraiser for Young called “The Pig Roast,” pled guilty to charges that he bribed three Alaska state legislators. Between 1996 and 2006, VECO fundraisers raised over $150,000 for Young. According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), VECO benefited from earmarks and legislation proposed by Young during this period.

And then, of course - there are the disclaimers

Stevens cautions that there's nothing illegal about the contributions, and says that the Veco executives who have donated to his campaign are innocent until proven guilty.
Yeh, sure.

"We have no information that would suggest that there have been any improper activities either by Veco Corp., Veco Alaska or any of the principals involved in those companies," Menard said.

Yeh, sure

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