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Or, "What those companies that bribed him actually do."


Tom DeLay: The Peoples' Choice


by Ken Mondschein



One we heard that House majority leader Tom Delay was indicted for conspiring to funnel $190,000 to Texas Republican state legislature candidates, we began wondering: What do all those companies who bribed provided kickbacks to inappropriately touched DeLay actually do? Are they just well-meaning corporate philanthropists? I mean, what could they do with the House majority leader in their pockets? Let's see. . .

Diversified Collection Services, Inc ($50,000): Diversified collects student loan (and other) debts—including, according to their Web site, "delinquent individual and business taxes owed to state governments, and non-tax debt owed to states and the federal government." In other words, they're the government's repo guys. No wonder they wanted to stay on the Legislature's good side.

We can also thank DCS for keeping us in student loan debt. Unsurprisingly, they benefited from the recent bankruptcy bill, which DeLay made sure every Republican in the House and Senate vote for. $50,000 buys you the ability to ruin kids' lives to the tune of millions!

Sears, Roebuck, & Co. ($25,000): Sears, of course, is known for appliances. If they're going to compete with K-Mart and Wal-Mart in their major revenue-producing business, they need government cooperation to keep salaries, health care, and overhead low. Unfortunately, they turned state's witness against DeLay, so we won't be treated to the sight of top executives getting power-drilled in Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Bacardi USA, Inc ($20,000): Having friendly legislators is definitely in Bacardi's interest, as it's the government that regulates alcohol sales and advertising. Sick of sales tax? Can't sell rum on Sundays? Can't sell alcopops to schoolkids? Blame the state legislature!

More importantly, Bacardi has had a longstanding trademark dispute with another rum company—a dispute that Mr. DeLay has been more than happy to help them resolve.

Williams Companies, Inc ($25,000): William is a natural gas company, "recovering" energy resources and maintaining natural gas lines. Their Web site says they're mainly interested in energy independence by exploiting American resources. In other words, Arctic drilling.

Questerra Corporation: ($25,000): Questerra, "a wholly owned subsidiary of MeadWestvaco Corporation," provides business-analysis services such as the ability to link and integrate all your data via the Web. Besides the fact that the governments both oversees and employs accountants, it's probably of significance that MeadWestvaco has interests in specialty chemicals, some of which have polluting byproducts, and some, such as asphalt, are mostly bought by the government. They also make paper, which not only requires cheap wood (and access to cheap wood,say, on public lands), but also cheap water and a blind eye towards environmental pollution.

Cornell Companies, Inc ($10,000): Most chilling of all, Cornell provides "corrections, rehabilitation, and education" for both adult and youth offenders". In other words, they're in the business of prisons for profit, sending folks up the river at bargain-basement prices. Who puts people in jail? The government. Who investigates when you can't afford to feed the prisoners because if you do, the company stock won't make margin? The government. Hooray!

Not surprisingly, most of the companies require significant government patronage in order to turn a profit. They're also emblematic of the way industry would like government to work: A corporate-welfare state that provides legislative breaks and financial incentives to companies at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, and citizens.

Laissez-faire, my ass.


Bribes go to


Posted October 16, 2005 3:18 AM






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