Mitch McConnell

Big Money Mitch, Wiretapping, and the Telecommunications Industry

In July 2008, Congress gave a “get-out-of-jail free” card to three major telecommunications companies – AT&T, Sprint and Verizon – that had handed over customers’ private telephone records to the government without a warrant. Civil liberties activists and pro-privacy organizations fiercely opposed this provision, which was included in the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The three companies directly and knowingly participated in an illegal program, yet were held above the law by the FISA legislation.

Big Money Mitch, Lobbyists and iPods for Afghans

Mitch McConnell had a staffer, Hunter Bates, who left the senator’s office and became a lobbyist. A lucrative move, Bates began reeling in clients for his “boutique” firm, Bates Capitol Group, which catered to those who wanted and needed access to the powerful senator.

Big Money Mitch and BAE Systems

Although earmarks make up a small amount of the federal budget, they are also the locus of many of the backroom deals between politicians and lobbyists that have corrupted Washington in recent years. This is especially true for congressional leaders like Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is better than almost anyone else at getting his way when it comes to inserting language into appropriations bills.

Big Money Mitch and Privatizing Social Security

With the economic downturn putting pressure on individual stock portfolios, the reliability of a Social Security check is becoming ever more important to the more than 500,000 retired Kentucky residents who depend on it to pay for rent, food and medical care. In 2003, the average Kentucky retiree received $10,441 a year, or $870 a month, in Social Security benefits – a significant amount that in many cases makes up the totality of his or her income. [1]

Big Money Mitch and the Love of Money

Due to a volatile stock market and the entire economy falling under the weight of a failing, unregulated mortgage industry, more Americans than ever believe wealthy interests have had their way in Washington for too long. Voters viscerally connect what’s wrong in Washington with campaign money.

McConnell Hurts Miners

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his wife, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao seem to be collaborating on blocking laws that would make work a little safer for coal miners. Depressing, but hardly surprising: McConnell is far and away the favorite Senator of the coal mining industry. They've given him over $100,000 in campaign contributions in the last year alone, nearly $20,000 more than any other Senator according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Let's Take Those Indictments Off Your Hands

The Senate just passed the FISA bill, passed by the House last month that gives telecommunications companies immunity from prosecution for their involvement in government wiretapping of their customers without a warrant. Why the eagerness in Congress to hand over a big "get out of jail free" card to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint?

Block It Any Way You Can

Wait, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) combating legislation to create new carbon emission standards because it'll hurt oil company profits, or is he fighting the bill as a political maneuver to get revenge for Democrats holding up judicial nominations? When fighting legislation to make corporate interests happy, it's so hard to keep those flimsy excuses straight.

McConnell Breaks Record

Everyone's favorite opponent of Clean Elections just broke a Kentucky fundraising record, reporting $12.2 million in contributions for his Senate re-election bid. And from where is Sen. Mitch McConnell raising such massive sums?

What Then?

Pundits and press folks have been understandably distracted by many other stories surrounding the presidential race, but despite the fact that the debate over public financing in the general election has died down somewhat, the fact remains that the Federal Election Commission is still short the necessary number of commissioners it needs to do its job, and that's just begging for trouble down the line.