Our representatives in Congress are supposed to be agents that work for us. That isn't the case for some of our elected leaders. For some of them, the voters are mere means to an important end. Often just following the money trail can lead us to the true powers behind the throne. Certainly, Minnesota's First District has a representative that doesn't seem to follow the will of the people, so whose will does he buckle to? To find the answer to that, we will look at his donor base and see just who tugs at the strings of Tim Walz.
This is all openly available information at Opensecrets.org and the FEC.
Let's look at his contributors and his earmarks first. Contributors from the University of Minnesota, which isn't in his district gave Walz $19,500 in 2008. What did they get? Well, Walz earmarked a cool $200,000 for them. Isn't that sweet?
Hormel, which is in his district, had contributors that gave Walz $5200. Now that's really not that much, but Walz was grateful. He showed his gratitude by earmarking $1,000,000 to their Hormel Institute. Jeez, that is certainly a good deal. He doesn't even require much upfront money and can still get his benefactors the gold bullion. But, that's not all.
Walz got $10,000 from the American Health Care Association. In return for their cash, Allina Hospitals and Clinics got an earmark for 250,000 bucks for a heart disease prevention program. While there is nothing necessarily wrong about trying to prevent heart disease, I think this kind of political horse-trading is not a good way for us to decide how our money is spent. And, earmarks are Walz's least corrupting bows to his contributors.
He voted for teacher bailouts in the stimulus. Billions of dollars flooded the states for education funding that kept thousands of union teaching jobs getting paid handsomely. Walz received over $50,000 in 2008 and he paid back those contributions with millions of dollars to dues-paying members of teachers' unions. He received tens of thousands of dollars from public sector unions and they were also given billions in the stimulus. But his ownership stake was not just public unions.
He was bought and paid for by the trial lawyers. They gave him over $200,000 dollars in 2008 and he rewarded them with a vote for an open-ended law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. This law allows the trial lawyers the unfettered ability to sue companies without any statutory time limits. In other words, plaintiff firms don't have to consider the amount of time passed since any so-called violation occurred. They can file suits against companies with impunity. Fishing expeditions and shakedowns of private companies are now open season for these law firms.
Building trade unions also ponied up the money. Walz voted for "Card Check" which is an insidious way for union bosses to ingratiate their way into businesses forcing people to join unions and accept union contracts. Of course, they will also have to pay union dues to these thugs for the privilege of being 'organized' and locked into the union pay scale.
And the list goes on.
No, Tim Walz is certainly not an independent voice for southern Minnesotans. His contributors are his interests. The voters are his secondary concern. Never mind that struggling businesses and families will have to pay for Walz's union buddies and contributors' causes. Forget that average Minnesotans are paying for the Democratic special interests. Ignore for a moment that Walz voted for the largest budgetary and deficit increases in this nation's history. All that aside, Walz is not beholden to his constituents. Walz is only beholden to his benefactors and that does not make for a good, democratic government.
Is that really what the voters of Minnesota's First Congressional District want?
Cross-posted at Looktruenorth.com