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from The Daily Mislead
February 17, 2004

Coming under increasing fire for his failure to clarify his National Guard record, fix the economy, bring down the cost of health care, and secure post-war Iraq, President Bush has resorted to attacking his political opponents as "beholden to special interests and out of touch with regular Americans." But a look at the more than $320 million that Bush has raised since 2000 shows that he is the man with the most special interest connections in American history - and that he has rewarded those special interests in kind.

Specifically, while the president attacks Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for accepting money from lobbyists, a new study shows "the president accepted more in direct contributions from lobbyists in one year than Kerry did in the past 15 years." All told, Bush collected at least $6.5 million in "bundled" contributions from lobbyists last year alone.

But that has not stopped Bush from his ad hominem attacks on opponents for "special interest" connections. Yesterday, for instance, Bush attacked the US Senate for being beholden to "special interests" for holding up an insurance industry-backed bill to restrict medical patients from seeking legal redress in the event of malpractice. Yet, it was Bush who accepted more than $3 million from the insurance industry before he wrote the bill.

On the campaign trail last year, Bush said, "We can't let the special interests of Washington prevent us from doing what is necessary to protect the biggest interest we have, which is the American people." Yet it was Bush who did the bidding of his friends in the meat processing/meat packing industries by refusing to protect the American people from Mad Cow disease. Specifically, Bush refused to enact stringent meat inspection regulations and delayed country-of-origin labeling laws at the urging of the agribusiness industry which has given him $5.5 million. To make extra sure that the agribusiness special interests were protected, Bush also packed the U.S. Department of Agriculture with agribusiness executives.

Even on issues of war and peace, Bush has put special interests before almost anything else. As the Center for Public Integrity reported, the more than 70 companies and individuals that Bush awarded up to $8 billion in Iraq/Afghanistan contracts have "donated more money to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush - a little over $500,000 - than to any other politician over the last dozen years."

Posted: February 18, 2004


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