Saturday, January 12, 2013

Biggest GOP Donor in 2012 Makes Habit of Buying Political Favors

Original Link:

Harold Simmons is a Texas pollutant-mogul with deep pockets, deep enough to fund almost every GOP candidate and campaign this year.

“Follow the money”, is one of the only truisms in politics. If you want to know how a politician is likely to vote, find out who has donated to their campaign. If you want to know why a particular idea is getting a lot of support of opposition, look at who is backing it. If you want to know why one party seems to be unreasonably opposed to things that sound like common sense, look at who is backing their candidates. In this latest case, the person is Harold Simmons, a Texas billionaire who has funded Republican Super PACs to the tune of more than $18 million, making him the greatest single GOP backer in the country in an election cycle that is breaking records for a being big-dollar, low accountability affair.

Harold Simmons has made his money by taking advantage of Texas’ lack of environmental oversight, starting or taking over companies in everything from oil to incineration to waste management; anything that pollutes and makes lots of money doing it. In 2004, according to Mariah Blake of, Simmons applied for a permit to build a nuclear waste dump on the Texas/New Mexico border. The problem was  that this dump was directly over the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest freshwater underground water source in the world and the major supplier of irrigation water for the American Midwest’s bread basket. However, after the Texas Water Development Board “redrew” the official boundaries of the aquifer, it showed that Simmons’ nuclear waste dump was not over the aquifer. Of course, five of the six members of that board authority were appointees of the Rick Perry administration, who had received $1.2 million in campaign donations for his gubernatorial run. Once again, if you follow the money, and you’ll find out what’s going on.

Simmons’ nuclear waste dump is still not operating, because when the Obama administration took over the Nuclear regulatory Commission started impeding his progress. As a result, Simmons seems to have made Obama’s defeat in 2012 a personal vendetta. “Any of these Republicans would make a better president than that socialist, Obama,” Simmons complained to the Wall Street Journal, “Obama is the most dangerous American alive.” As a result Simmons has given to many Republican Super PACs and candidates, not favoring any single one.” However, Simmon’s use of campaign dollars for preferential treatment is part of his business hallmark. In 2004, he gave the Bush inaugural ball $100,000. Afterward, the Department of Energy under Bush’s administration awarded Simmons’ company, Waste Control Specialists (the same one attempting to open the nuclear waste dump), a $15 million contract to clean up nuclear waste at an Ohio plant that had enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. The conflict of interest comes clear when you realize that the Ohio plant was owned by another one of Simons’ companies, NL Industries.

I think it’s fair to say that conservative fund-raising is a shady proposition to begin with, and that there’s little questions as to why the conservative-leaning Supreme Court, with their Citizens United decision, made it increasingly so. Dollars do not necessarily win elections, that’s true. However, it certainly allows a right-wing political bloc the opportunity to hide their dirty laundry and frame the national discourse in their favor. Read the rest of the sordid details around Harold Simmons’ and the dark side of his political donations at The GOP’s nuke-dump donor.

No comments:

Post a Comment