The stench around Richard Pombo gets nastier each day. Hard as it is to believe, it just gets worse and worse. I know he grew up on a cattle ranch and is used to stepping in cow shit, and his family must have gotten accustomed to the foul odor around him, but there is no need for the voters to keep putting a guy in office whose stench extends from the Marianas Islands to Cape Cod, and now up to Alaska.
The latest scandal to swirl around our odiferous representative is that of VECO, an Alaskan oil services company under investigation for influence-peddling (read: bribing) Alaskan legislators and for hiring Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)'s son as a "consultant" for $250,000 a year. This same company gave their friend Pombo $18,000 in contributions and catered a fundraiser for him -- and made no bones about expecting a quid pro quo on this.
As Hank Shaw says in an article in the Stockton Record today:
VECO has been one of the chief companies lobbying to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, while Pombo has been one of Congress' chief cheerleaders for drilling in the refuge since he was first elected in 1992.
I guess "cheerleading" pays off for Pombo. I can see him and Sen. Stevens (R-AK) and Rep. Barbara Cubin, and all the other paid-off oil shills forming a big pyramid, shouting "Give me a V", "Give me an E", Give me a C", "Give me an O", "What does that spell?" "Legalized bribery, oops, I mean VECO".
So here we go again, scandal after scandal after scandal with this corrupt corporate shill, who does not know the meaning of ethics and responsible public service. This guy's gotta go, this November.
Hank Shaw goes on to say:
VECO began contributing to Pombo a year after he became chairman and catered a fundraiser for him in August 2005, records show. Five company executives gave Pombo a total of $7,000 on April 27 of this year.
Nick Juliano had an excellent, detailed article last October about Alaskan oil money's influence on Pombo. See Pombo took $13,000 from Alaskan donors prior to oil drilling vote. In it, Juliano reports:
In the month before he continued to push to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, took about $13,000 from donors in Alaska for his political action committee, campaign finance records show.
Donors include executives at an engineering and construction company [VECO] that likely would be at the forefront of ANWR development and an official from a Native Alaskan corporation that stood to profit from oil drilling if a 1.5 million-acre section of the reserve is opened.
And he goes on to say:
[VECO] is unabashed about its political involvement, giving money to politicians with the clout and mindset favorable to opening the arctic.
“We try to get those people elected,” VECO President Pete Leathard told Alexander’s Gas and Oil Connections, an online newsletter covering the oil industry. “We put a lot of money into the effort,” Leathard said. “We support those people, and they think pretty well like us.”
Pombo's response? "A spokesman for Pombo says the donations did not influence Pombo’s push [for ANWR development]."
Gee, I am glad that is clear now. But somehow, I like Jerry McNerney's response much better:
"It seems like every week there's some new scandal or rumor coming to light about Congressman Pombo's behavior," McNerney said. "If we want people to believe in their government, we need a new direction in Congress."
More articles, blogs on this:
Daily Kos Dick Pombo - Another Republican For Sale
TPMuckraker AK Scandal Company [VECO] Has Long History of "Influence"