Who Owns Bob Dole?

"Very few members of Congress during the past quarter century have raised more special interest money for their campaigns than this quintessential Washington insider," writes Charles Lewis in The Buying of the President, a book which lets you know to whom the 1996 candidates (President Clinton included) are beholden. Here's who owns Bob Dole:

Archer Daniels Midland

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) exemplifies the threat which capitalism sometimes represents to democracy. Living largely off of corporate welfare--government subsidies for its ethanol product, marketing money for exports, and other give-aways--ADM has replenished Senator Dole's coffers, contributing large sums to a variety of entities he and his wife control:

In a classic real estate maneuver, similar to one of which Lamar Alexander was the beneficiary, ADM's founder, Dwayne Andreas, sold a Florida condo unit to the Doles for $150,000.00. The unit, valued at $190,000 and for which they paid no maintenance for seven months, may actually have been worth $300,000.00. According to Dole's press secretary, he and his wife had no idea they were buying the unit from Andreas. "Ethics experts," Lewis writes, "generally agree that it is questionable for a lawmaker or their spouse to purchase real estate from the chairman of a company with business pending before Congress. Nevertheless, the Senate Ethics Committee has never formally investigated the Dole-Sea View matter."

What has ADM gotten in return for its support of Dole? Hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies, paid for by our tax dollars. ADM's most notorious product is ethanol, an alcohol distilled from corn and added to gasoline to produce "gasohol". ADM makes 60% of the country's supply. In a grant of corporate welfare as shameful as the equally famous chinchilla subsidy, Congress created and supports a market for gasohol that would not otherwise exist. In 1987 alone, ADM received $150 million in federal ethanol support. Senator Dole was ethanol's steadfast sponsor; to pick a single example, he held up a steel import bill until his colleagues agreed to extend the ethanol excise tax credit to the year 2000.

In a ten year period beginning in 1985, ADM received $424.5 million in other federal subsidies, from corporate welfare plans such as the Export Enhancement Program (EEP). All of these programs were approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee, of which Dole was a senior member. Dole also supported EEP in speeches, legislative amendments, and letters he has written to government agencies.

Dole also helped ADM by introducing a peanut subsidy program in 1985.

Koch Industries

Koch Industries is a Kansas-based oil company. Its owners, the billionaire Koch brothers, have given almost half a million dollars to Senator Dole's campaigns, PAC, and think tank.

Back in 1989, Koch was accused by a Senate committee of stealing more than $30 million in oil from Indian tribes in Oklahoma and elsewhere. According to Kenneth Ballen, counsel to the Senate Select committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Dole intervened with the Justice Department to help Koch avoid prosecution.

In 1995, Koch was facing a $54 million law suit filed by EPA under the Clean Water Act, involving 300 incidents in which it had spilled oil in the past five years. That same year, Senator Dole introduced the Regulatory Reform Act, which gave defendants in pending federal lawsuits a new affirmative defense of inconsistent enforcement of the regulations. A Natural Resources Defense Counsel attorney observed that the provision "raises the question of who is trying to get their lawsuit fixed."

Tobacco and Alcohol

Philip Morris, RJR/Nabisco and US Tobacco have given Dole more than $300,000.00 in his career. As we all know, he recently observed in a campaign speech that tobacco is not addictive. In 1993, Dole's counter to the Clinton health plan lacked the alcohol and cigarette taxes Clinton proposed to finance health care-- a benefit also to another big Dole supporter, the Gallo wineries, who gave Dole almost $200,000.00 that year alone.

Dole is moderately dirty

Based on this record, Dole is only moderately dirty--cleaner than Lamar Alexander or Bill Clinton. I'm going to get email saying that he is only helping constituents, that this is the way the system works, etc. Fair enough. The campaign finance system is legalized bribery. People give Dole money and he fixes legislation to suit them. Dole takes legal bribes. He is owned by the people who give them to him.