Quote of the Day

“Most lobbying is probusiness, in the sense that it promotes the interest of existing businesses, not promarket in the sense of fostering truly free and open competition.”  Italics in original.

Luigi Zingales, economist at the University of Chicago, quoted in “The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent,” Chrystia Freeland, NYT


T-Paw Abandons Sinking Ship

Former Minnesorta Gov. Tim Pawlenty, one of Mitt’s national campaign co-chairs, has abandoned Mitt’s rapidly sinking ship and swum safely to  K Street, where he will make tons of $ as CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable.

They would have held the job open for another seven weeks if he’d had the slightest interest in staying on board the SS Romney.

Having run a disaster of a presidential campaign himself, T-Paw knows one when he sees one.

T-Paw’s hasty retreat is an embarrassment for Mittens.  Mitt’s been dealing with red flags, but this is an early white flag.

I Think This Guy Has Suffered Enough

Life was good for Doug Hampton.  He was chief of staff to a U. S. Senator, John Ensign (R-Nevada), who was also his best friend.  Hampton’s wife also worked for Ensign, on the campaign side of the operation.

Today Hampton’s marriage is over, and he is bankrupt.  Represented by a public defender, he has pleaded guilty to violating lobbying laws and awaits sentencing.

What happened between the first paragraph and the second?  Ensign, one of these big “family values” hypocrites the GOP has in abundance, had an affair with Hampton’s wife and then fired both of them.  Ensign pressured some supporters into hiring Hampton as a lobbyist.  Ensign participated in lobbying contacts with Hampton, even though he knew he was breaking the law prohibiting such lobbying for a year.

Ensign resigned from the Senate, and the Senate Ethics Committee referred Ensign’s violations involving both the lobbying and Federal Election Commission reporting requirements to the Justice Department.  Ensign has not been prosecuted, and at this point appears unlikely to be.  He’s back in Las Vegas and has resumed his previous career as a veterinarian.

Which leaves the poor sap Hampton twisting in the wind, another “little guy” stuck taking the fall while the big guy skates.  Hampton cooperated with the Justice Department,  giving them what they needed to build their case against him, thinking he was helping build a case against Ensign.  He somehow neglected to get that little thing known as a grant of immunity in return for his information.

I don’t know why anyone would want Doug Hampton go to prison.  I don’t know why anyone would want John Ensign to touch their dog or cat.