Utah Senator Bennett corruption exposed, and other thoughts about him.
During the economic collapse precipitated by the rising number of home mortgage defaults and the associated devaluation in mortgage securities, much was said, especially by politicians, about Wall Street greed. Much less fuss was made about political greed, but it became evident to me that political greed started the whole thing. Legislation and policy encouraging (and I heard stories of coercion) the loosening of mortgage standards so that under-qualified (high risk) people could live the “American Dream” of home ownership may have been supported by many for altruistic reasons, but I propose that most of the political movers and shakers were building a new voting constituency, benefited personally through campaign contributions or other means, and used it to otherwise increase their political power.
This reckless and irresponsible policy didn’t just hurt the under-qualified homeowners who defaulted, it snowballed into the worst economic downturn in my lifetime, including the highest unemployment, and even more governmental irresponsibility of national-debt-ridden economic bailouts and government takeover of huge businesses.
Forefront in the scandal was the government sponsored organizations Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They were organized to facilitate mortgage access to non-traditional lenders by buying mortgages from lenders, and bundling them into mortgage securities to sell in the investment markets. They were aggressive in pushing legislation and policy towards relaxing mortgage standards, including significant campaign donations to Congress. The top three campaign contribution recipients from Fannie and Freddie, 1989-2008 were Democratic Senators Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, and John Kerry http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/09/update-fannie-mae-and-freddie.html
Those three were identified in the press and criticized for their corruption. See http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,423701,00.html for an example.
Senator Bennett was the fourth-highest recipient!
Receiving a campaign contribution is not in itself corrupt. Letting it influence you to pursue destructive policy is corrupt. I became convinced of Senator Bennett’s corruption when a friend shared with me a report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, Republican from California, entitled “The Role of Government Affordable Housing Policy in Creating the Global Financial Crisis of 2008” dated 7 Jul 09. http://republicans.oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Reports/20090707HousingCrisisReport.pdf
This report thoroughly documents how the government created the economic disaster we are in. Among other players, it says this about our Senator:
REFORM OF FANNIE AND FREDDIE THWARTED: FOR A PRICE
The GSEs’ (Freddie and Fannie) political risk management succeeded in thwarting congressional and Bush Administration attempts at reform. In 2004, Senators Hagel, Sununu, Dole, and McCain, took up Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s call to create stronger regulatory oversight of the GSEs and limit the amount of leverage GSEs could use to invest in risky mortgage lending. While this would not have interfered with the GSEs’ role in providing a secondary mortgage market, it would have reduced their ability to fund high-risk lending with borrowed money and cut into the companies’ fabled profit margins and executive compensation. However, when the Senate Banking Committee took up the legislation, S.1508, Democrats and some Republicans opposed it as originally drafted. For example, the legislation was approved by the Committee only after Senator Robert Bennett, whose son was employed by the Fannie Mae partnership office in Utah, attached an amendment that stripped the provision which would have allowed a new regulator to limit the GSEs’ leverage. This led the Bush Administration to withdraw its support from the weakened legislation, which ultimately failed to pass the full Senate.
I conclude that Senator Bennett is corrupt because he accepted large donations and probably had influence in his son’s employment with the donor, and then acted to protect the donor, instead of doing what was good and right for his constituents and the country.
One might argue that the Senator learned his lesson and has repented. But disturbingly, opensecrets.org reports that in the 2010 election cycle, his forth-largest contributor is Freddie Mac at $38,399 and the 11th largest is Fannie Mae at $27,500.
My observation of Senator Bennett over the years is that he is a politician first and a conservative 1/6th of the time. In his re-election year he does much to make himself look conservative, and communicates substantively with this conservative base. Then he blows us off for 5 years. I always get a reply from Rob Bishop when I contact him, and I usually get one from Hatch. I almost never get a reply from Bennett. I have heard him speak at several conventions. His speeches usually focus on political details, not about fighting the conservative fight.
He claimed a huge victory at the Box Elder County Lincoln Day Dinner straw poll last week. I was there and had an opportunity to review the results and the attendance list. When the vote totals are adjusted for out-of-county people each candidate brought in, the results are:
Note that 95+37+25+4=161 non-Bennett votes. That puts him at just less than 40% of the vote, which would have knocked him out of the race at convention.
Senator Bennett said in an email recently that with the real possibility of Republicans regaining control of Senate, this is no time for a rookie. I am very tired of the seniority argument. I’ll take an articulate, passionate, and consistent conservative that is fighting for us over corrupt seniority any day.
Just like Scott Brown rocked the Democrats by winning Ted Kennedy’s seat, I suggest we rock the Republican Party by taking out Bennett at convention. The Party and the country will be better for it.
To the Bennett supporters—I hope you’ll reconsider with this corruption report. To everyone else, including those who have disengaged from the Republican Party—get to your caucus with some friends and get elected as a State Delegate.
As one of you emailed me recently: Fight organized crime, Don’t reelect anyone!
National Expositor Note: Not only, Don’t reelect anyone. Stop voting for the establishment parties.