The Washington Free Beacon Staff recently posted this article, concerning the latest case of corruption related to stimulus funds. This time the case concerns a former tribe leader of a Chippewa Cree tribe and a former state lawmaker, who appropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal stimulus money which was supposed to ‘stimulate the economy of the Montana tribe.’ More details here.
The Chippewa Cree Tribe received $33 million in federal funding between 2009 and 2010 for construction of a $361 million pipeline to supply fresh drinking water for the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation and surrounding counties in northern Montana. Most of that $33 million came from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment act, also known as the stimulus.
The CEO of the tribal company that headed the pipeline project, Chippewa Cree Construction Corp., awarded contracts and authorized cash transfers in a complex web of transactions to embezzle and launder the money, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday.
Ezra Klein at the Washington Post writes about the staffers of a prominent politician, and how his position of authority has lead to his staffers becoming lobbyists:
…the point of hiring Baucus’s former aides isn’t that they can seamlessly insert any language they want into the final legislation. It’s that they have a direct line to Baucus, and to the people around Baucus, and that gives them a huge advantage. The fact is that human beings are more likely to find arguments convincing when they’re coming from friends rather than strangers or enemies.
That’s the key to most of the lobbying in Washington. It’s not about leveraging bribes so much as it’s about leveraging relationships — and that makes it harder to stamp out.
Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner writes an article about some revolving door cronyism surrounding the recent fiscal cliff deal and the staff of a particular Senator:
Tax breaks for Hollywood, NASCAR, windmills, algae and multinational corporations ended up in the “fiscal cliff” bill thanks to President Obama, according to Senate Republican sources. But they were spawned by a web of lobbyists, donors and staffers surrounding Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana…
Pick any one of the special-interest tax breaks extended by the cliff deal, and you’re likely to find a former Baucus aide who lobbied for it on behalf of a large corporation or industry organization.