You know, one of the (many) problems with Washington is that all-too-often politicians are too easily bought by special interests and end up selling out their constituents (and America). Historically, it’s been a bi-partisan disease that goes something like this:
1. Person decides to go into politics.
2. Person gets elected and goes to Washington.
3. Newly-minted politician meets lobbyists who wine and dine said politican.
4. Politician falls head over heels in love with lobbyists.
5. Politician marries lobbyist.
[…Okay, so number five doesn’t happen with politicians from every state….Just the ones, it seems, from South Dakota.]
You see, this is is where the lines get really blurry. When a politician marries a lobbyist, it sort of seems like having a fox in the chicken coop. Very quickly, the question can easily become not if there is too much outside influence, but how much? And, should that member ever lose re-election, does that person return to their home state? Or, do they assume a job as yet another lobbyist? And, if the latter is the case, whose interests is that member serving now—the voters or a prospective employer?
That, in a nutshell, is the question South Dakota needs to figure out about Democrat Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin from South Dakota. Is she really working for South Dakota or does she have other interests—namely, special interests at heart?
Herseth-Sandlin is South Dakota’s current at-large Congresswoman that is trying to keep from being ousted from the halls of Congress by Republican Kristi Noem. Besides the fact that Herseth-Sandlin votes solidly with Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats 92% of the time, the bigger problem with Herseth-Sandlin is that she has more entanglements to special interests than most.
You see, she’s not only taking money from special interests, she’s also married to former Democrat Congressman Max Sandlin who, after losing his re-election to Congress, did what a lot of politicians seem to do—became a lobbyist.
In March 2007, the lawmaker married lobbyist and ex-Rep. Max Sandlin, a Texas Democrat who lost his seat to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) in 2004. Since his defeat, Sandlin has been a registered lobbyist for Greenberg Traurig and the International Government Relations Group, which now goes by the name Mercury Public Affairs.
According to Senate lobbying records, the former Member represents a number of big-name clients, including Peabody Energy, Air Canada, Advance Auto Parts, the National Association of Broadcasters and Vanguard Health Systems — companies with substantial legislative interests during the 111th Congress.
Senate records show that Max Sandlin and his firm were paid $160,000 in 2009 by Baptist Health Care to lobby on its behalf, including for an “increase in [the] new market tax credit” in a Democratic-backed stimulus package that Herseth Sandlin ultimately voted for.
The National Association of Broadcasters paid Sandlin and his firm $320,000 over the past two years to lobby on a variety of issues, including a bill co-sponsored by his wife, the Local Radio Freedom Act.
And Advance Auto Parts employed Sandlin and his firm last year to lobby on the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation co-sponsored by Herseth Sandlin. The contentious “card check” bill, which would make it easier for workers to unionize, is a top target of manufacturers and others in the business community.
Republicans say Herseth Sandlin’s committee assignments make it difficult for her to avoid conflicts of interest. She is member of the Agriculture, Natural Resources, Veterans’ Affairs and Energy Independence and Global Warming panels, which have broad jurisdiction over many of her husband’s clients.
Like most Democrat incumbents these days, Herseth-Sandlin’s top contributors are a far-left menagerie of unions and abortionists who want to ensure their money doesn’t let them get too far out of Herseth-Sandlin’s mind.
|Skadden, Arps et al||$82,100||$75,600||$6,500|
|American Assn for Justice||$50,000||$0||$50,000|
|AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America||$50,000||$0||$50,000|
|Blue Dog PAC||$50,000||$0||$50,000|
|National Air Traffic Controllers Assn||$49,000||$0||$49,000|
|American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees||$47,550||$2,050||$45,500|
|Sheet Metal Workers Union||$47,500||$0||$47,500|
|American Crystal Sugar||$47,000||$0||$47,000|
|American Federation of Teachers||$46,706||$0||$46,706|
|Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers||$45,000||$0||$45,000|
|International Assn of Fire Fighters||$44,500||$0||$44,500|
|United Transportation Union||$40,000||$0||$40,000|
|National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn||$39,572||$0||$39,572|
|NARAL Pro-Choice America||$36,500||$1,500||$35,000|
|National Assn of Realtors||$36,000||$1,000||$35,000|
|PAC to the Future||$35,000||$0||$35,000|
|Public Sector Unions||$327,606|
|Crop Production & Basic Processing||$298,663|
|Building Trade Unions||$254,200|
|Securities & Investment||$147,447|
Perhaps the fine people of South Dakota believed Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin cared about their interests once upon a time. However, one has to wonder where her loyalties lie now: With South Dakota or with the DC lobbyists.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776