Journalism in the Public Interest

House Finance Chair Hensarling Goes on Ski Vacation with Wall Street

Shortly after becoming chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling held a weekend fundraiser with lobbyists in Utah’s swanky Deer Valley.


Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In January, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, ascended to the powerful chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee. Six weeks later, campaign finance filings and interviews show, Hensarling was joined by representatives of the banking industry for a ski vacation fundraiser at a posh Park City, Utah, resort.

The congressman’s political action committee held the fundraiser at the St. Regis Deer Valley, the “Ritz-Carlton of ski resortsknown for its “white-glove service” and for its restaurant by superstar chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

There’s no evidence the fundraiser broke any campaign finance rules. But a ski getaway with Hensarling, whose committee oversees both Wall Street and its regulators, is an invaluable opportunity for industry lobbyists.

Among those attending the weekend getaway was an official from the American Securitization Forum, a Wall Street industry group, a spokesman confirmed. It gave $2,500 in February to Hensarling’s political action committee, the Jobs, Economy, and Budget (JEB) Fund.

Len Wolfson, a lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, which gave the JEB Fund $5,000 that month, posted a picture on Instagram from the weekend of the fundraiser of the funicular at the St. Regis. (It was labeled, “Putting the #fun in #funicular. #stregis #deervalley #utah.”) Wolfson did not respond to requests for comment. (UPDATE 1 p.m. Wolfson has now set his account to private.) 

This photo was posted to Instagram by Mortgage Bankers Association lobbyist Len Wolfson on Feb. 24.

This photo was posted to Instagram by Mortgage Bankers Association lobbyist Len Wolfson on Feb. 24.

Visa, which gave the JEB Fund $5,000, also sent an official. A Visa spokesman told ProPublica that in attendance were not just finance companies, but also big retailers and others.

Hensarling, a protégé of former Texas senator and famed deregulator Phil Gramm, has a mixed record regarding Wall Street. While he has been critical of “too big to fail” banks and voted against the 2008 bailout, Hensarling recently said he opposed downsizing big banks, according to Bloomberg. That stance matters now more than ever as a bipartisan duo in the Senate, David Vitter, R-La., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced a bill last week seeking to constrain the too-big-to-fail institutions. While the bill is considered a longshot, it has provoked intense opposition from the industry.  

Meanwhile, Hensarling recently barred the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from appearing before the House Financial Services Committee, citing a legal cloud over recess appointments made by President Obama.

Whatever his stance on the industry, Hensarling has been more than happy to court Wall Street’s money.

Donors working in various financial industries are Hensarling’s biggest supporters, giving him over $1 million in the last election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The congressman’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Others donating to Hensarling’s JEB Fund around the time of the Utah ski weekend: Capital One; Credit Suisse; PricewaterhouseCoopers; MasterCard; UBS; US Bank; the National Association of Federal Credit Unions; Koch Industries, which is involved in sundry financial trading; the National Pawnbrokers Association; and payday lenders Cash America International and CheckSmart Financial. All either declined to comment or did not respond to requests.  

A spokeswoman for one large bank that donated $5,000, Alabama-based Regions Financial, told ProPublica the company doesn’t discuss events employees attend for “a number of reasons, including security.”

Also donating $5,000 to Hensarling’s political committee around the time of the ski weekend was Steve Clark, a lobbyist for JP Morgan and the industry group the Financial Services Roundtable. (In 2011, a memo written by Clark and his partners for the American Bankers Association proposed an $850,000 public-relations strategy to undermine Occupy Wall Street. It leaked to MSNBC; the plan had apparently never been executed.)

Clark didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The ski weekend was a large, apparently family-friendly affair. A Utah entertainment booker told ProPublica she had hired two caricature artists for a Feb. 23 event at the St. Regis for a group of 100, including 20 children. Hensarling’s JEB Fund, paid the bill. The fund also reported spending about $1,000 on “gifts and mementos” at Deer Valley as well as charges at the upscale restaurant Talisker on Main.

Campaigns and political action committees of a few other GOP congressmen also show charges totaling more than $50,000 at the St. Regis around that time: House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas; House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan; and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon. None responded to requests for comment.

This is at least the second consecutive year that Hensarling has attended a fundraiser at Deer Valley. During the same February congressional recess last year, the National Republican Congressional Committee hosted a “Park City Ski Weekend” for Hensarling along with Sessions and Walden. Hensarling’s JEB Fund also reported about $60,000 paid to the St. Regis Deer Valley in the last election cycle. (The NRCC said it did not sponsor this year’s event.)

The Texan congressman has long had a taste for mixing skiing and politics. On the same February weekend in 2009, for example, Hensarling’s political action committee invited donors “to the second annual ‘JEB Fund Takes Jackson’” ski weekend for a minimum contribution of $2,500. The setting was the Snake River Lodge and Spa in Jackson, Wyoming, which boasted “wintertime activities fun for the entire family” including dog sledding tours and sleigh rides, according to the invitation. 

Reporting contributed by Al Shaw.

For more on politics and lobbying, read Jesse Eisinger's take on the 'Animal Farm' of Washington's revolving door politics or Justin Elliott's last piece on Lockheed's lock on a key Senate job.

Lord, we are so messed up!

For every day that the Congress or Senate goes out with their blatant conflict of interest (friends who own them), that day or days should be docked from their pay and their benefits should be adjusted accordingly because clearly they are not doing the people’s/constituents business!
In their oath for running for office, they are to protect the U.S.A. I don’t see them doing this even when they on their job in D.C.but clearly, they aren’t doing this when skiing with the real (to ski or not to ski) bums of our society!

Frankie Malcuit

April 30, 2013, 2:37 p.m.

It’s difficult to see how this will ever change.

The fact that the APPEARANCE of wrongdoing doesn’t even phase them anymore is telling. We need to separate money and politics. Until it happens, there will be no quality in gov’t.

Everyone of you who are outraged that this continues to go on needs to write, call, email your congress and senate members and tell them to do something about it.

If enough people make this an issue they just might respond. After all they are only concerned with losing their power and influence by losing their seat.

I know you will get a canned response but again, if enough squawk something will happen. Look at the response to people have problems flying the last couple of weeks. We need more media involved especially TV. Said to say that print isn’t large enough to get the message across.

Despite the scandals including the one with lobbyist Jack Abramoff this purchasing of access and influence continues to persist.

It is up to us, the people by the people, us voters, who need to know exactly who we are going to elect and elect those who aren’t owned by corporations and demand from them who they do represent, we the people or corporations! That’s is why voting is what we have, that our democratic tool! And thanks to Probulica,  one of the true bastions of democracy, which is here to inform us of all those who we need to know about and who isn’t and is representing us and why!

Squawking is good. cause it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil or in this case, get the political frauds out of office

Our nation has always been run by political whores as PJ O’Rourke calls them in his best-selling book.  Political bribery wasn’t even illegal until about 150 years ago.  Congressmen used to send annual letters to corporations and rich fat cats and remind them that payment was due if they wanted their services.

Then bribery became illegal for Congress and the White House with the passage of legislation ..... but NOT the Supreme Court.  Not too long thereafter, the Supreme Court ruled corporations are people or so our self-interested elites at Harvard Law School interpreted the 1866 decision.  This opened the doors to legalized political bribery of Congress and the White House now that corporations were people.  ie, They had a right to lobby government and give political donations as free people.

It may be difficult to see how this will change as Frankie remarks but that is the opinion of a despondent mind.  This is exactly how history is made.  When despondency sets in and the overt acts of criminal behavior of elites become public.  They can’t put any of this back in the bag. Their behavior is out in the open like it has never, ever been. 

The party is up.  It’s only a matter of what trigger is the tipping point.  It will be soon.  ie, Within months or years and not decades.

By the way, don’t bother writing your representative as someone remarks above.  No disrespect but they don’t care about you.  They can raise billions from corporations and elites.  And then leave office and go to work for them lobbying government.  Do you think they really care about someone writing a letter?  Even if it’s millions of people.  They DON’T care.  You don’t have any money.  You can’t pay to play.

This system will end through some unforeseen event that causes massive crisis.  Not because we write or vote.  Corporations pick the candidates.  Voting doesn’t matter.  Both parties are registered corporations…..............

The unforeseen event is people rising up to the corruption after they have no where else to go with their backs are up against the wall! That’s how other countries are doing it now. That’s history over and over again!
Not buying from these corporations or at least stemming the buying from the consuming is yet another way. Voicing your opinion is better than sitting and doing nothing while evil men prosper!

Grim Reaper, if the so called “Great Recession” wasn’t enough what will be?

An event that has profoundly impacted the globe and yet republicans gutted the Dodd Frank bill and despite that continue to focus on killing the remainder. Secretary Geithner fought the one fix to break up the big banks and the financial raping and pillaging goes on mostly unaffected. The President, apparently, in a bid to be bi-partisan surrounds himself with advisors from the very industry that should face greater regulation. What do we expect?

All of us complain about our elected officials but we keep putting them back in. Why is that? Could it be because we all want our own sacred cows protected but not the guy’s in the next county, district or state?

The clever marketing campaign of the extreme right wing has us fighting to protect the interests of the wealthiest in our nation rather than all of the nation and we fall for it.

We are likely headed for another collapse.  This one being the end of corporate capitalism. 

Republicans may have gutted Dodd-Frank but Democrats overturned Glass-Steagall in the first place.  And 2500 pages of Dodd-Frank is simply rigging the game so that corporations can maintain their looting. 

Why is voicing your opinion better than doing nothing?  Doing nothing is what will cause the system to end.  If we do nothing, if we refuse to participate in their sham elections, if we refuse to rack up massive debts to overconsume, if we refuse to buy anything associated with the mainstream media, if we turn off our TVs, they will simply go away.  Doing “something”: is overrated.  They need us more than we need them. 

Sit back and wait for the coming collapse.  Get some popcorn.  It’s going to be the game of the century.

Hey , whats the problem ? You can rob and steal enought money from the poor , weak and the elderly too. Then you can buy any politican
you can afford to champion your cause. It’s all about the money.
The only way it will ever change is to vote every one of them out of office and outlaw special intrest PACs , cap campain finance limits for
all evenly. Let the candidates compete with exactly the same amount of money .
Select campain ethics board members from private citizens from different states to monitor . Jail time for offenders!

Congress showed us who they really care about last Friday, when they had to get home and air travel was delayed because of sequestration.

Poof, the did the air travel part of the legislation so fast, it was hand written instead of typed, to get the jets flying again - pronto!!

Now we have a financial chairman being bought out by Banks that are STILL To Big To Fail, with the assumption that we will bail them out again, when the next depression starts all over again.

So am I suppose to be “surprised” that the chairman of a finance committee gets lavished gifts and trips?  Only if I’m an ostrich, with its head still in the ground.

Unfortunately, “gerrymandering” the districts keeps members of Congress like Hensarling safe from any opponent.

If past dealings with/on behalf of Wall Street are any example, this article will prompt this Republican to have someone further down the food chain in Congress author a bill to “deregulate” the transfer of gratuities and monetary “gifts” from Wall Street to this Republican and his peers.

That’s the way Wall Street and their pawns play the game:  If it’s illegal but would make Wall Street or one of their friends/pawns/politicians [choose one or more] more money, then change the rules to make it legal.

And any rule change is kosher - as long as said rule change doesn’t “promote the general Welfare” of the American people as a whole, but rather gives the advantage to the politician and/or their owners.

Timothy McKeever

April 30, 2013, 10:19 p.m.

Vote these people out. Keep hammering away at money influencing policy. It will go away sometime. Wall Street is a den of thieves. Any elected official that goes-a-courting them is nothing more than a moral hypocrite. That puts nearly everyone of them in the batch, which also includes Supreme Court Justices.

James M. Fitzsimmons

May 1, 2013, 3:38 a.m.

We have a legalized system of graft and influence. It needs actual change brought about by a concerned, informed public through representatives on a short leash. Create another political party that is dedicated to this single mission. Avoid ideology and recruits will come from all spectrum of serious thought. Good catch and report Justin Elliott and ProPublica.

Joseph Wilson

May 1, 2013, 8:20 a.m.

Greed and electoral perpetuation go together like grits and gravy.

Neil C Denver

May 1, 2013, 10:43 a.m.

Hensarling’s relationship with Wall Street is no different from Obama’s except that most of Obama’s Wall Street relationships are rarely portrayed as ‘evil’ by the main-stream press.  Obama has had more one-on-one meetings with the highest Wall Street CEOs than any President in recent history. 

It is worthwhile to note that in P.J. O’Rourke’s final paragraph of his best selling book, ‘Parliament of Whores’ he suggest that in the last analysis, “We are the whores”. 

Now more than ever, America needs a centrist party that is socially moderate and financially responsible.  We need to reflect on President Kennedy’s thought provoking advice , “Ask not what our country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”.

James M. Fitzsimmons

May 1, 2013, 11:09 a.m.

Neil C Denver,
Well said. We are responsible for the future of our country.

Debbie Hanrahan

May 1, 2013, 1:50 p.m.

Worshipping at the feet of the golden calf.

i fully agree hensarlings turned into a low class butt of a chicken

Byard Pidgeon

May 1, 2013, 10:11 p.m.

Grim Reaper…doing nothing and not taking part in elections will not put anyone out of office or get anyone to make changes.
We have no necessary minimum number of voters casting ballots in order to decide an election; if only 1 person votes the candidate getting that vote will win. The system will not self destruct because of voter apathy…just the opposite.

Reality Check

May 2, 2013, 9:25 a.m.

“The machinery of the state and the machinery of re-election have become conterminous. Prying them apart would entail sweeping constitutional surgery: amendments to give the president and members of Congress a single six-year term, with no re-election; providing 100 percent public financing for candidates; strictly limiting the duration of campaigns (say, to eight weeks); and prohibiting, for life, lobbying by anyone who has been on a legislative or executive payroll. It would also require overturning Citizens United.”  - David Stockman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget ‘81-‘85

How is that voting working out for you?  Just curious if in history you actually can cite real reform through voting.  Did voting end slavery?  Corporate slavery?  Private banks looting the public treasury?  200 years of corporate and elite theft?  The class-based system of capitalism that has created your master?

If you think change is coming through voting, you are living in a dream world of delusions.  If you stop participating in the system as Gandhi did, it will collapse.  You can’t fight power with power.  That’s their game and you will NEVER win.  NEVER.  EVER.  This system will only change when the crisis becomes large that something unpredictable happens to stop its existence.  You know, like Saudi Arabia collapsing and causing the petrodollar to collapse and our ability to print endless streams of money and force people around the world to accept it for their slave labor to our corporations and government. 

Wake up.  Voting doesn’t matter.  It never has.

Dina J Padilla

May 2, 2013, 10:26 a.m.

Well, then we all should do nothing as the grim reaper suggests?
We’d all be living in caves with that attitude with no fire. Change never happens over night and we still cannot let all the bastards win all of the time! Outlawing lobbyists IS one idea and not being allowed to revolve from politician to private or the other way around to secure laws for corporations is 2nd. Get rid of the incestuous rats or cannibalistic snakes that they truly are. It only happens whether we as a society wants something better instead of the mob like run D.C.

You are taking liberty with doing nothing with your sarcasm about living in caves.  By the way, you live in a cave.  It’s one created by your corporate and political masters.  You are a slave.

How do you propose to use voting to end lobbying?  Tell me?  And tell me how you are going to get this past the political parties?  Are you going to start a third party?  One that is excluded from the debates because both political parties are corporations who have the right to do so?  Are you going to march on Washington as MLK did?  What did that get him?  Other than killed?  What did that get black Americans?  Yes, they don’t see the signs on the restrooms anymore and they can ride the bus but they are denied society’s capital as they have been since the Civil War ended.  So, a tremendous number live in abject poverty because they have no rights.  Did voting for Obama change that?  Yeah, it made their plight worse with 15 million new people added to welfare since Obama took office. 

Wake up.  You don’t get it.  You can’t change a system by being part of the system.  You have to be outside the system.  Like Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Paine, etc.

Byard Pidgeon

May 2, 2013, 4:45 p.m.

GR…I’d love to be “outside the system. Like Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Paine, etc.”
This is outside the system? These guys were deeply embedded in the system, but briefly stepped outside it in order to once again become the system itself…the system that further institutionalized slavery and the rule of the wealthy over the rest.
You’ve been advocating doing nothing, and calling others slaves? It appears that you are angry and confused.

You are one of these people who apply today’s social norms to 1776.  So, that some didn’t wish to abolish slavery or give women the right to vote made what they did somehow less worthy.  Even though what they did was more radical than anyone today seems to imagine.  They rewrote government and freedom.  And, some of them said that it’s up to future generations to continue this radicalization.  But, you seem to side with revisionist history.  I suppose you don’t know that Jefferson, Paine and others wanted the removal of European slavery in our Constitution?  Or that Paine envisioned a Social Security system for all Americans.  Or, that Jefferson tried to give all Virginians, all of them, even the poor, their own property because it was so important to being free.  Give.  Free.  Courtesy of the government.  So, they would never have to rely on the government for their freedom.  I suppose there’s a lot you don’t know about a lot. 

They were all labeled as treasonists and would have been hung were they not successful.  Are you doing anything to further humanity on that scale?  Are you willing to sacrifice your cushy job, your savings and your life as you know it to change the system?  I didn’t think so. 

If I’m angry and confused, what are you?  Ignorant and blissful?

You are a slave living in a cave.  You are the slave in Plato’s Cave who believes reality is the shadows passing on the cave wall because that’s all you can see.  That’s all you can see because that’s all your masters want you to see.

Byard Pidgeon

May 2, 2013, 5:04 p.m.

GR…you’re hiding behind a pseudonym, flinging your little stones at anyone who doesn’t agree with you and recognize the image you have of yourself as the most knowing of all.
Write anything you choose. I’m not wasting any more time with you.

lol.  Of course, you are more enlightened.  So, when people disagree with you, your response is different how?  I suppose when someone points out you don’t know what you are talking about or make ludicrous remarks, you have to hide behind your superiority complex and say you aren’t playing anymore.  We’ve tried your way.  It has never worked.

I take the liberty of quoting “Neil C Denver”: Hensarling’s relationship with Wall Street is no different from Obama’s except that most of Obama’s Wall Street relationships are rarely portrayed as ‘evil’ by the main-stream press.  Obama has had more one-on-one meetings with the highest Wall Street CEOs than any President in recent history.

End quote.

I would think that the reason the “main-stream press” chooses not to label Obama’s meetings with Wall Street as “evil” but does use various similar terms and synonyms of “evil” to describe Republican meetings with Wall Street would be perfectly obvious.

I.e., the same reason why a forest ranger who uses controlled burns to manage the threat of wildfires is not labeled “evil” while an arsonist who runs around setting fires that threaten life and property is:  Motive.

Byard Pidgeon

May 4, 2013, 5:06 p.m.

ibsteve2u…I wish I could agree with you about what I think you’re saying about Obama’s motives, but find it increasingly difficult to give him that benefit of doubt when I consider his offers of an austerity agenda to the GOP.
Yeah, it’s “austerity lite”, but it’s still on the backs of those with the greatest needs, rather than those with the greatest resources.
Aaaand…his intention to appoint a former lobbyist for telecoms as head of the FCC? At what point can one legitimately call his actions “bad”, if not “evil”?

@Byard Pidgeon, re “Aaaand…his intention to appoint a former lobbyist for telecoms as head of the FCC? At what point can one legitimately call his actions ‘bad’, if not ‘evil’?</i>”

(To wander away from the subject at hand for a moment) that, I think, depends upon the actions of the FCC head once “installed”.  If Wheeler pursues the interests of the telecoms - that is, takes actions that reduce the affordability or reliability of the nation’s communications systems or encourages/enables the growing trend towards the formation of monopolies within the telecoms, then you can call both Wheeler and Obama “evil”...great betrayers of their offices, if naught else.

On the other hand if Wheeler uses his experiences as a lobbyist to curtail those anti-American activities the increasingly monopolistic telecoms are wont to pursue, then you cannot call either “evil” - rather, you end up calling Obama “wise”.

I would note that it is common practice in “high technology” to hire those people who have experience at illegal and/or anti-competitive and/or predatory practices to provide oversight and, for lack of a better term, “policing” - a snake to chase snakes, as it were.

I’m willing to withhold my opinion for the moment until such time as Wheeler is confirmed and proves his character one way or the other.  I’m quite sure that Obama is aware that the increasingly pervasive use of technology by the American people bumps the telecomms way up on the list of areas/issues/segments of Corporate America wherein any further increase in the amount of abuse the American people must endure might well prove to be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

Regarding your suggestion that Obama promises “austerity light” should be perfectly obvious that the Republicans have it in for the American people; for the last 40 year, every step they’ve taken - from enforcing America’s addiction to oil, to voodoo economics, to deregulation, to their attacks upon the EPA, to inequitable free trade - has been an attack upon the prosperity, well-being, safety, and security of the American people.

Something has to be done about the terrific debt that Bush and the Republicans caused to be America’s legacy.  That means that something has to pass both the Senate and the House.  The Republicans in both chambers have made their desire to hurt the American people clear; thus, if Obama wants to get something - anything - through Congress, he has to indulge the sadism of the Republicans.

If the American people want to avoid pain, they need to stop putting Republicans into Congress.

That is a lesson the American people should have learned long ago…way back in the 1970s when the Republicans first began blocking all mass transportation, alternative energy research, and energy conservation measures in their successful effort to saddle America with the economic cancer and strategic weakness of oil addiction in response to OPEC’s formation.  It is bad enough that the right betrayed America to the Islamic OPEC nations…but the consequential wars (aside from the issue of foundation lies) were a truly historic betrayal - and a source of great pain for families across the width and breadth of America.

Now the Republicans desire to inflict more pain upon the American people and their families, and Obama’s role - again, because the American people keep electing Republicans - is to attempt to limit the amount of pain the Republicans can inflict…to transform “austerity” into, to borrow your words, “austerity light”.

The Misanthrope

May 5, 2013, 8:08 a.m.

I fear that Frankie Malcuit summed it up: “It’s difficult to see how this will ever change.”

The wealthy and powerful have tipped the scales too far in their favor and have a virtually unlimited amount of weights to add to keep things that way.

Neil C Denver

May 5, 2013, 10:05 a.m.

The accusation that Republicans traditionally act against America and its people is ludicrous.  During the 2012 presidential election, they received 47.3% of the popular vote.  Additionally, President Obama received 3.7 million fewer votes than he did in 2008.

Unfortunately, there are all too many Americans who don’t want a centrist government.  In fact, many Americans have extreme difficulty with “compromise”, as evidenced by our extreme divorce rates. 

While I agree with the comments that Republicans have thwarted many initiatives that I believe are good long-term policy, the Democrats have done little when they controlled all branches of federal government.  And regardless who was in power, excellent legislation proposed by both parties in the past have invariably been laced with “pork”.  Because there is such enormous access and influence by self-interested lobbyists, we no longer have a government for and by the people.  Perhaps we should re-label our country a Corruptacy.  .

Byard Pidgeon

May 6, 2013, 2:44 a.m.

EyeBeeSteveTwoEwe…you point out the horror of our present governance, that Obama’s role is to limit the destructiveness of the GOP, and that is actually why I voted for him in both elections. The possibility of Sarah Palin becoming POTUS was hard to surpass for horror, until we got the possibility of first Mitt Romney and then Paul Ryan as POTUS after…and though Obama seemed a better choice, he seemed a better choice than he actually has been.
Obama is not a liberal, at least not in my sense of that term, but he is one in the older Republican sense of it, before that species became extinct…but that’s not enough.
He compromises before the battle is even engaged, gives away important things before they’re even on the table…and though he campaigned as center-left, virtually everything he’s done has been center-right at best.
You seem to still believe he’s forced to do as he does…that’s the major divide between us, because I believe he makes his choices of his own volition…he’s doing what he believes in.

To follow up on what Jim says, do contact your Congresscritters.  But—and this is key—be polite, be respectful (for their effort and their position, if nothing else), and be helpful.  Make yourself a solution to their problems, not accusing them of being a problem.

And, especially today, personal is memorable.

You want to be someone the staff sees as useful, not someone they want to file a restraining order against.  And your target is the staffer, not the politician, for obvious reasons.

Byard Pidgeon

May 6, 2013, 11:57 a.m.

John…your advice regarding contacting our Reps, and how best to do so, is very good.
However, your concluding paragraph about “You want to be someone the staff sees as useful, not someone they want to file a restraining order against.” isn’t very helpful to those of our fellow citizens whose Congressional Representatives are the very people who should have restraining orders filed on them.

Neil C Denver on May 5, 10:05 a.m. spoke thusly:  The accusation that Republicans traditionally act against America and its people is ludicrous.

I hold that the Republicans first turned against the American people in the first half of the 1970s - when their champion, Nixon, fell victim to the American people’s thirst for justice.  That made the Republican sell-out of the American people and the United States of America to Big Oil and the Islamic OPEC nations post-1973 OPEC oil embargo…easier.

And that latter sell-out made the further betrayals of voodoo (“flood-up/trickle-down”) economics, deregulation, and inequitable free trade…easier yet.

None of those policies have helped the American people as a whole or furthered the strategic and economic security of the United States of America; rather, they have weakened America across the board…most obviously through the destruction of America’s industrial infrastructure which is any nation’s true arsenal and war reserve - although if I did not also mention America’s monstrous trade deficits (and the currency flow offshore that requires the Fed to print ever more money) I would be remiss.

I don’t believe that the Republicans “traditionally” act against the American people…in fact, that is a “recent” - four decades old, now - change in their behavior when viewed in the context of American history.

And it is a first:  We Americans have never before had a tag team of politicians - the Republicans and the neoliberals among the Democrats - in our two-party system who have consistently prioritized the rate of wealth accumulation of a few over the safety and security of these United States of America.

I would likewise be remiss if I did not mention that it is a most despicable and shameful “first”.

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