In 2014, Montanans will get a chance to vote on whether or not to return Sen. Max (Maximus Cronius) Baucus to the Senate for another six years. He’s already been there for thirty-five years. That makes him the third most senior member of the U.S. Senate, behind only Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). (Hatch has one year more and Leahy three.)
Does Maximus Cronius represent the people of Montana, or the friends of his beltway staffers? According to today’s article in the Washington Examiner, Baucus is particularly good at making sure his cronies get the preferential treatment he clearly believes they deserve.
“Baucus’ Finance Committee passed a bill in August extending 50 expiring deductions and credits for favored industries. At Obama’s insistence, the Baucus bill was cut and pasted word for word into the cliff legislation…
Pick any one of the special-interest tax breaks extended by the cliff deal, and you’re likely to find a former Baucus aide who lobbied for it on behalf of a large corporation or industry organization.”
The following is an excellent example of the many special breaks won by Sen. Baucus for his cronies:
Extension of wind production tax credit. Important for the biggest manufacturer of wind turbines in the U.S.
Extension of subpart F exception for active financing income. This is the extension of the section that played a central role in GE paying exactly ZERO ($0.00) in U.S. corporate income tax while making $5.1 billion in U.S. profits. Now that’s a sweet deal! Peter Prowitt, formerly Baucus’ chief of staff, is now an in-house lobbyist and VP at GE. GE filings show Prowitt on the lobbying teams that won wind-tax credits, electric-vehicle tax credits, and “Extension of Subpart F Deferral for Financial Services. And if you think this all might be a major coincidence, two weeks before the Finance Committee hearing during which the bill was hashed out, GE’s political action committee topped off its contributions to Baucus’ Glacier PAC with a $2,000 check, according to the PAC’s federal filings. This brought GE’s contributions to Baucus’ PAC to the legal maximum of $10,000 for the election cycle.
If you can stomach it, there is much more, and even if you can’t, you should read the whole piece. This is a perfect example of what’s wrong with DC today. Regardless of party, guys like Maximus Cronius Baucus don’t belong in Washington DC. They don’t represent the regular people of their states. They only represent the special interests who are connected to them via ex-staff and political contributions.
And lest you think this is just some right wing attack on Sen. Baucus, there is plenty of noise coming from the left about Maximus Cronius Baucus. See this post on Daily Kos on the “Revolving Door of Corruption.”
“The Baucus revolving door cabal numbers in the dozens. In fact, his last revolving door scandal was less than a month ago. There was another Baucus revolving door scandal only six weeks ago. And another Baucus revolving door scandal only six months ago. Last year, Baucus had a revolving door scandal on tax policy. In the previous congress, there was his revolving door scandal on climate change. And of course, who could forget the obscene revolving door scandal during health care reform. And these are just some of the highlights from this term, which is only 2/3 of the way done. And Baucus is in his sixth, 6-year term in DC…
Unfortunately, Montanans are still represented by the most corrupt member of the House of Lords.”
Ouch. That’s gotta hurt. And it might, at least for most Americans. But Senators like Maximus Cronius Baucus don’t care. They consider themselves and their friends members of the ruling elite, extracting tribute from the subjects of a vast kingdom. How long will the people of Montana tolerate this kind of behavior?
Things could get very interesting for Baucus as we head towards 2014. Apparently there is already activity on the ground in Montana. It’s going to be a long couple of years for the Senator. Perhaps, like his good friend Sen. Harkin (who recently announced his retirement), he will see fit to retire and save Montanans the burden of having to put him out to pasture.