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Hullabaloo


Friday, February 27, 2009

 
Oopsie

by digby

Let's hear some more bellyaching from Republicans about volcano monitoring. And then we'll talk about this:

President Barack Obama's former nominee to become commerce secretary, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, steered taxpayer money to his home state's redevelopment of a former Air Force base even as he and his brother engaged in real estate deals there, an Associated Press investigation found.

Gregg, R-N.H., has personally invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cyrus Gregg's office projects at the Pease International Tradeport, a Portsmouth business park built at the defunct Pease Air Force Base, once home to nuclear bombers. Judd Gregg has collected at least $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments there, Senate records show, while helping to arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.

Gregg said he violated no laws or Senate rules. In a statement Friday, he said that all the federal money he steered to Pease had been requested by the National Guard, the city of Portsmouth or its mayor or other public officials "and did not involve my initiative but only my support of the requests."

But the senator's mixture of personal and professional business would have been difficult to square with President Barack Obama's campaign promise to impose greater transparency and integrity over federal budget earmarks — funding for lawmakers' pet projects. Gregg said that during his consideration for the Cabinet job, the White House did not know about his Pease earmarks, although the administration knew about his investments at Pease.


One hates to be cynical at times like these. But the article does mention that they were investigating this before Gregg withdrew. We can draw our own conclusions, but if Gregg did withdraw because he was about to be outed as a typical corrupt Republican swindler, it was just awfully good of him to do it by kicking Obama for being "irresponsible" just as he was negotiating the stimulus package with Presidents Nelson and Collins.

Why, I just heard Gregg going on and on about fiscal responsibility again yesterday:

In a written statement, he said "it raises taxes on all Americans, implements massive new spending, and fails to make any tough choices to control the deficit and long-term fiscal crisis posed by the huge entitlement programs."

Gregg also challenged Obama's stated desire to reign in government spending, asking in his statement "Where is the spending restraint? Instead, government spending continues to grow and expand."


And apparently it isn't expanding in a way that benefits Gregg and his family, which is where the fiscal responsibility rubber meets the earmark road.

This is what I love. You have these vastly wealthy fiscal responsibility wankers running around telling old ladies they are going to have to eat cat food for the good of their country while they are all larding themselves up with as much government pigfat as they can get. And if they can't it directly from the treasury, they grease the palms of politicians to deregulate so they can screw their investors --- and then get it from the treasury when their scams fall apart.

Obama dodged a bullet with Gregg, but he really didn't deserve to. It was a tremendously naive idea to put that guy in the cabinet during an economic crisis and it was always going to cause him trouble. The fact that he was a crook should not have been a surprise --- he's a fiscal responsibility scold and they are automatically suspect.

This really looks bad for Gregg. If you read the whole article you see that his only defense is that even though he and his family benefited greatly from these earmarks, that wasn't why he put them in the legislation. And that will probably be good enough for the Village. As St John McCain has proved for 30 years, if you rail against financial irresponsibility and government waste and tell everyone who will listen how honest you are, you can get away with anything.

Honest Judd Gregg wouldn't knowingly do anything illegal any more than those fine corporate lawyers who ok'd their companies spying on Americans without warrants or those fine upstanding men and women in the Bush administration who ordered torture. These are good people, you see, acting in good faith. It's the old ladies on cat food diets and the first time homeowners who got in over their heads and the overpaid autoworkers who must pay or our society will find ourselves overwhelmed by moral hazard. And then where would we be?


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