Malevolent Governance: Donors First at the Trough
The administration’s assault on our public infrastructure, a relentless effort to systematically dismantle any obstacle to Bush’s backers’ spiraling accumulation of power and wealth, may have finally hit a wall. Central to the viability of the assault is its covertness, its operation under the radar of public awareness and concern.
A series of recent developments are beginning to cast some light. Texans for Public Justice, an excellent group that provides some of the best monitoring of Bush’s financial backers, released a comprehensive report on their connections, interests and rewards. TPJ, Campaign Money Watch's Special Interest Spotlight and the Progress Report have been tracking the Pioneers and Rangers since the start of the election cycle. Kerry's campaign issued a press release about the TPJ report.
The Washington Post also ran two articles, which have received far less notice than they deserve considering the amount of information they contain. The first article was released last Sunday, and it has a solid analysis of Bush’s contributors and what they have received, particularly appointments, in return for their "beneficence." The second article focused on the graft gained by individual contributors, particularly this piece on CINTAS and environmental regulations. The CINTAS piece includes this pleasant timeline, this collection of e-mails and source documents, and the pictograph of pioneers reproduced below. Finally, the Post included this well put-together interactive feature, which highlights some of the more obvious networks of influence.
The following weekend, just last Sunday, the Denver Post published an exclusive look at "when advocates become regulators," detailing "more than 100 high-level officials under Bush who helped govern industries they once represented as lobbyists, lawyers or company advocates." There's also this Guardian piece.
Finally, this morning I went to a panel discussion with Carol Browner, Gary Bass, Phillip Landrigan, Sylvia Lowrance, Bruce Buckheit, Peter Infante, Celeste Monforton, and Bill Wade (bios available here), where they were discussing Reece Rushing's report: Special Interest Takeover: The Bush Administration and the Dismantling of Public Safeguards. The report is thorough and well documented, a good reference for anyone looking at the administration's politicization of science, undermining of environmental, health and safety regulation, and general "strategic incompetence," as one of the questioners called it. Reece has started at the Center for American Progress.
The timing for all of this is great, since Bush-Cheney 04 just raised the bar, with the creation of "Super-Rangers," or people that give +$100,000 to Bush-Cheney and +$300,000 to the RNC.
Update 5/26 11:31: I don't know how I missed this, but Sirota has a great post on some of this.