Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Congressman John M. McHugh--Republican at the Trough

The Federal Election Commission permits review of all the Political Action Committee contributions to Congressional candidates for the Senate and Congress. One can trace the sources of influence on our elected officials through this site.

One Congressman who outshines all the others from New York's delegation is Congressman John M. McHugh a Republican from northern New York, New York’s 23rd district. McHugh received $384,126 in campaign contributions through August 23, 2006.

Congressman McHugh sits on the National Security, Emerging Threats, and the Energy subcommittees of the Comittee on Government Reform. He is also on the Readiness subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services. He is also on the Intelligence Policy; the Technical and Tactical Intelligence; and the Terrorism subcommittees of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Congressman McHugh's web page emphasizes that he is "recognized as a 'Champion of Dairy Farmers' for his aggressive approach to forcing Congress to address the needs of dairy farmers." The website also states that he is a "champion of education" but education interests do not dominate his list of contributors. Rather, a wide range of labor unions in the construction industy along with mail carriers and direct mail firms that likely have an interest in his postal reform proposals.

A clue as to why he receives such heavy contibutions from construction unions is in this statement:

"He believes that a good educational foundation allows children to reach their full potential and lead responsible adult lives. As such, Rep. McHugh has been a strong supporter of a bill that would subsidize $25 billion in zero-interest school modernization bonds..."

A flurry of school construction would not do much to improve education (that would require reinstatement of traditional teaching methods and discarding of the left wing ideology that dominates our education schools and the education establishment) but rather might benefit construction interests.

As far as his postal activities, his website indicates that:

"as a recognized authority on postal matters in light of his six years as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Postal Service, Rep. McHugh was appointed to serve as the chairman of the Committee’s Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight in early 2003. In the 109th Congress, he has again introduced legislation to significantly reform the Postal Service for the first time in 35 years..."

In addition to the postal bill, Congressman McHugh has proposed bills to: promote the use of digesters by agricultural producers; amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide a tax credit to farmers in value-added agriculture; and exempt individual health insurance premiums from tax. He has been involved in several additional tax- and health insurance-related bills, which may explain the heavy presence of health insurance firms and health providers among his contributors.

What is fascinating about Congressman McHugh's long list of contributors is the wide range of business and labor interests who are helping McHugh get elected, some of which probably salivate at the thought of the needless construction of school buildings. Some of his contributors reflect local interests such as Fort Drum, dairy, other farming, paper mills, lumber and a General Motors plant. Other of his contributors appear to relate to projects whose purposes are unrelated to the needs of his constituents or of the United States.

Given the rural nature of McHugh's district one wonders why he needs so much money for his election campaigns---air time and newspaper space cannot be very expensive in the frozen north country of New York State.

McHugh's donors in excess of $5,000 since 2000 include:

Advo Inc. (direct mail company)
Agri-Mark (Dairy Farmer Cooperative)
Airline Pilots Association
American Chiropractic Association
American Federation of Government Employees
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Federation of Teachers
American Hospital Association
American Maritime Officers
American Medical Association
American Postal Workers
Capital One Financial Corp.
Carpenters and Joiners
Committee on Letter Carriers Political Education
Con-Way (supply chain management and logistics services)
Credit Union National Association
Dairy Farmers of America
Direct Marketing Association
Electrical Contractors
Operating Engineers
Farm Credit Council
General Dynamics
General Motors
Health Net
Bridge Structural and Iron Workers
International Association of Firefighters
Bricklayers Union
Laborers' International Union
Lockheed Martin
Magazine Publishers of America
Retired Federal Employees
National Association for Uniformed Services
National Association for Postal Supervisors
National Association of Postmasters
National Association of Realtors
Beer Wholesalers
National League of Postmasters
National Postal Mail Handlers
National Rural Letter Carriers' Association
National Star Route Mail Contractors Political Action Committee
PMA Group (automotive products)
RR Donnelly (printing, brochures, direct marketing)
Service Employees International Union
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors
Time Warner (magazine subscriptions)
Treasury Employees
United Auto Workers
Wal Mart
HJ Heinz
Georgia Pacific Corporaton (paper)

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