Thursday, January 26, 2006

News Items And Corruption Watch

I hate it when I see an article like this, Strayhorn gets Democratic cash,(Exclusive: Many donors think independent bid is their only shot at unseating Perry). I sit down to read it and the first paragraph just made me mad!
Bernard Rapoport is a loyal Democrat who has helped bankroll a generation of party candidates. This year, he's putting his money on Republican Carole Keeton Strayhorn.
Bernard Rapoport may be a loyal Democrat but not as far as this race is concerned. If he was a loyal Democrat wouldn't he choose a Democratic candidate for governor and give to that person his support? Oh, and last time I checked OTG was running as an Independent. Or, is she still a Republican and just doing this to get elected? Will the Republicans take her back if she's elected? This and many more questions will be answered in the next episode of...

The state lobbying story keeps going. Drip, drip, drip.

Have you see the latest example of how Republicans say one thing and do the exact opposite? The state is looking out for home builders, not buyers:
In theory, at least, having a Texas Residential Construction Commission should be an effective way to resolve construction disputes between home builders and consumers.

A truly neutral but expert agency could quickly sort out frivolous complaints from a home buyer but nail truly shoddy work by a builder. And it could help resolve close calls without the time and expense of hiring lawyers and holding trials.

But such effectiveness was not the primary goal of home builders when they got the Texas Legislature to create the commission in 2003 over the opposition of consumer groups.

The builders' primary goal was to protect themselves from lawsuits filed by unhappy home buyers.

Thanks to the strong political influence of such home builders as Bob Perry and Dick Weekley, both of Houston, and to the $5 million in political contributions ($3.1 million from Bob Perry alone) to state candidates, parties and political action committees in the 2002 election cycle, the builders got the commission they wanted. The agency can force a home buyer to jump through more bureaucratic hoops before going to court, but it has little effective power to make an errant builder correct defects.
So what this means is that the legislature set up a commission that "in theory" is supposed to protect consumers but in reality protects the builder. One of the major donor/builders is the man responsible for the "Swiftboating" smears of John Kerry. So he's a Republican donor and the legislature is run by Republicans. Should we infer anything from that?

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