F. James Sensenbrenner has been a professional politician since college. He’s been a state senator and our Representative from the 5th Congressional District since then. And he has accumulated a personal fortune of more than ten million dollars. He has very large holdings in drug and insurance companies, as well as in banks, military contractors, the oil industry, and media conglomerates. His largest holdings, not counting Kimberly-Clark, are in three giant pharmaceutical manufacturers.
James always collects great sums of corporate PAC ‘campaign contributions’, even when he has run unopposed. His re-election campaign has already spent over a third of a million dollars and currently has over 3/4 million dollars “on hand”. Much of it is from corporations in which James owns substantial stock, and in whose interest he votes.
Two-thirds of James’ campaign “contributions” comes from “Political Action Committees”. Since 1989, 97 percent of that PAC money came from corporate PACs (and 3% from “ideological/single issue” PACs). James’ continuing job and power in the Congress is paid for by corporate political action committees. It’s that stark and simple.
Our Congressman has received a third of a million dollars (for his re-election ‘campaigns’) from drug and medical and insurance corporations and PACs. And he keeps repeating the falsehoods that the problems causing our national health care crisis are that you and I have the right to sue if our health care is botched, and that we (not his family or friends, of course) don’t pay enough money up-front to discourage us from seeing the doctor unless we are really positive we have to see the doctor.
He sees no problems caused by the overlapping, unnecessary bureaucracies and administrative costs caused by the insurance industry, or the bloated profits of the drug companies and HMOs, or the outrageous corporate CEO salaries, stock option, and retirement plans. The American people know that America needs universal single-payer health care, and that it would cost less and work better than our current diabolical game of chance, employer’s choice, fine print, and pre-existing conditions.
Congressman Sensenbrenner has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in “contributions” from the oil and energy industry, including ExxonMobil, BPAmoco, Halliburton, the National Mining Association, and WE Energies, and also owns lots of their stock. And he has voted to give the oil, mining and energy industries tens of billions of dollars in corporate welfare tax credits, courtesy of you and me, while their obscene record profits soar. How’s that for spectacular, double return on investment?
James was one of only five out of 435 representatives in Congress who voted against the ‘Clean Lakes Program’ of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. His latest environmental voting record, as tabulated by the League of Conservation Voters is a dismal 17%. James even had some excuse to vote against help for Katrina victims.
James has always voted for the so-called ‘free trade’ or ‘fast track’ agreements like NAFTA and GATT and GATS, and has never voted for a ‘fair trade’ amendment. We have lost tens of thousands of Wisconsin manufacturing and technical jobs as a result.
James has voted for all the Bush tax cuts beginning in 2001 that heavily favored big corporations and the super-rich, and irresponsibly drove the federal budget directly from back-to-back surpluses at the turn of the century to record high and increasing structural deficits. And he has hypocritically continued to claim, without blinking an eye, that he’s the champion of a “Balanced Budget Amendment”, while voting time after time to completely destroy the budget surplus legacy of the Clinton Administration.
Contrasting his public ‘support the troops’ façade, James voted against adequate funding for veterans medical care, voted against funding a life insurance policy for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, voted against a $1500 bonus for troops serving in combat zones, and against making the Earned Income Tax Credit permanent for military personnel.
Bryan Kennedy is running against James Sensenbrenner, and provides a real contrast in ethics and values and programs.
Bryan Kennedy has only one-tenth of the money on hand that incumbent Sensenbrenner has for the election battle ahead.
Two-thirds of Kennedy’s campaign funds come from individuals (not PACs and corporations) and 13% is actually his own savings put on the line. But only one-third of Sensenbrenner’s campaign funds comes from individual donors, and he invests none of his own vast fortune in his own campaigns.
Contributors from Wisconsin provide two-thirds of Bryan Kennedy’s campaign funding. In stark contrast, Sensenbrenner gets less than one-third of his campaign funding from sources in Wisconsin. Didn’t know that, didya?
The 5th U.S. Congressional District currently held by Sensenbrenner includes Ozaukee, Washington, most of Waukesha, and part of Jefferson and Milwaukee Counties. Without vigorous electoral competition, there is no check, and no balance. No one is watching for mistakes, cronyism, or corruption. No alternative vision or policy is articulated. When one party holds too much power in a democracy, government competence deteriorates, official arrogance mounts, and dangerous policies begin to take hold. We are at that point in Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties, and in America.
The time has come for a change in the 5th U.S. Congressional District.
September 9, 2006