Saturday, February 9, 2008

Another Reason Obama Sold Out to Utiliity Companies

The New York Times wrote on July 30, 2007 that while he was in the Illinois Senate, Obama had "positioned himself early on as a protégé of the powerful Democratic leader, Senator Emil Jones, a beneficiary of the Chicago political machine."
When Obama lied to Iowa voters, claiming that he passed a bill regulating nuclear power plants when he actually caved into the utility companies, and stil failed to pass the bill that allowed voluntary regulation, he was probably only helping out a friend. According to :"Since the fight over electric rates in Illinois began to sizzle like a transformer on an August day, ComEd, its extremities and employees have been power-loading the campaign accounts of several top state politicians.
Edison's favorite recipient: the president of the Illinois senate, Emil Jones from Chicago, and there are allegations that ComEd is trying to buy political favor and a rate increase.
"The senate president is the No. 1 recipient of ComEd money over the past couple of years," said David Morrison, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
The senate president is South Sider Emil Jones. According to contribution records examined by the ABC7 I-Team, Senator Jones has accepted dozens and dozens of donations from ComEd, its parent corporation Exelon and from corporate executives and employees -- more than $200,000 in campaign funds, much of it since a move began to freeze electricity rates in the state.
"There always is a chicken and egg issue. Are they giving to him because he supports them or is he supporting them because he gets the money?" said Morrison.
Senate President Jones is leading the charge for Edison's 22 percent rate hike, telling constituents that they need to pay more for reliable service.
A spokeswoman for Jones said Friday he was too busy to be interviewed, but stressed that "There is no connection whatsoever" between ComEd's donations and Jones' support of a rate increase. "I want that point made clearly," she told ABC7 on behalf of Jones. "There is absolutely no connection. All the leaders have received funds."
That is true. But the past three years none of them has come close to receiving the $218,000 senate President Jones has, and in the last six months, as a debate raged over the rate freeze, Edison donations to Jones have outpaced other leaders 10 to 1.
"I don't think that public officials should be allowed to accept campaign money from utilities. We have a job to be watchdogs over the public utilities and I don't think there should be an appearance that public utilities can come forward with campaign money and cloud our vision," said Lt. Gov Pat Quinn.
Lt. Governor Quinn says he doesn't accept donations from utilities and wants a state law banning such contributions.
Senate President Jones connection to ComEd goes beyond his bank account. Utility president Frank Clark is a close personal friend who even threw Jones a fundraising party in June 2005. Clark paid for the party tent, flowers and even performing dancers. Of Jones' friendship with Clark, the senate president's spokeswoman says, "Jones has many close relationships ... as do many of the state leaders."

So by caving into the utility companies, Obama helped out his friend and mentor Emil Jones and insured his coffers would be full for when he ran for President. As noted previously, Obama's biggest contributors now are those same utility company executives that he allowed to re-write his nuclear regulation bill.