is stronger than any threat of an OSHA penalty.” He also objected to McCarthy’s column, saying that, “He didn’t like my ideas, so he attacked me as a pointy head who’d never been in a mine.” 7. Senator Christopher Dodd and Securities “Reform” A bitter legislative fight erupted last year over securities “reform,” a measure that will make it difficult for investors to recover their money when defrauded by financial swindlers. The man most responsible for winning approval for the bill, which passed last December over President Clinton’s veto, was Christopher Dodd, who serves as both a Democratic Senator from Connecticut and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dodd is the second biggest recipient of contributions from business groups pushing the securities legislationnamely Wall Street, accountants and high-tech firmsraking in more than eighty thousand dollars between 1991 and 1995. Last October, Ben Stein wrote an article for The American Spectator, in which he recounted a conversation he had with an accountant at a Washington fundraiser: ‘You must love Chris Dodd,’ I said. `He’s been fighting for you guys for a long time. You must have given him a ton of money.’ A ton,’ he said eagerly. ‘But he earned it.'” Democratic support for the bill was initially tepid, but Dodd lined up at least ten votes. Dodd carries special weight with colleagues because as head of the DNC, he controls the flow of campaign money that will be made available to Democratic senators up for re-election in 1996. Ralph Nader wrote a letter to Dodd following passage of the bill, saying that even Democratic staffers were “repulsed by your hectoring demands, greased by ‘tons’ of political campaign contributions…You have driven the phrase ‘a mess of pottage’ to new lows.” Dodd’s spokesman, Marvin Fast, said charges that the senator was working on behalf of his campaign contributors were “absolute bunk.” Fast added: “He [Dodd] took action because there was a problem in the industry. It was a bipartisan solution because people on both sides of the aisle recognized that the problem existed.” 6. Edward van Kloberg and Guatemalan Democracy Even within the amoral world of Washing ton lobbying, Edward J. van Kloberg III stands out for handling clients that no one else will touch. His past clients have included dictators Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania, and Samuel Doe of Liberia \(his work for the last two abruptly ended when his clients were murdered by In January of 1995, the Foundation for the Development of Guatemala \(FUN contracted van Kloberg to conduct a three-month, seventy-five-thousand dollar public relations campaign on its behalf. FUNDESA was espe cially eager for van Kloberg to “balance the PR campaign implemented by…sympathizers” of Jennifer Harbury, the American woman whose husband, guerrilla leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, disappeared in 1992 after being captured by the armed forces. Van Kloberg’s firm drafted and placed letters to the editor describ ing supposed strides toward democracy taking place under the current government in The New York Times, The Miami Herald and a few other newspapers. The flacks also produced Guatemala News, a three-page newsletter directed at Congress, the press and business leaders. The publication informed readers that guerrilla groups battling the government had been committing heinous abuses “against the civilian population,” such as the imposition of road blocks and “attacks perpetrated against the electricity grid.” Guatemala News somehow failed to mention that a few weeks prior to its April 1 publication date, a U.N. Verification Mission released a report on human rights in Guatemala which detailed twenty-seven extrajudicial executions, eight attempted executions, ten cases of torture and seventytwo death threatsall between December of 1994 and February of 1995. Unfortunately for van Kloberg’s client, the timing for a PR offensive was poor. In mid-March, the mid-point of the contract’s life span, Representative Robert Torricelli of New Jersey revealed to the press that Guatemalan soldiers on the CIA payroll had murdered Harbury’s husband. That and other disclosures produced a flood of denunciations of Guatemala in Congress and in the press. When van Kloberg was asked about the ethics of representing dictators, he faxed an old column he had written for the Journal of Commerce, “Consulting Is a Public Service,” in which he argued that “lawyers represent both guilty and innocent clients. Why should a different standard be applied to public relations and government affairs counsel?” 5. The Coalition to Kill Medicare Since corporations find it embarrassing to directly press for measures designed to enrich their bottom lines, business groups increasingly have taken to setting up soothingly-named front groups to lobby for their agendas. A classic example is the corporate-backed Coalition to Save Medicare, a group formed last year whose goal, needless to say, is to destroy Medicare. It proposes higher premiums for Medicare recipients and backs medical savings accounts, the plans issued by private insurers like Indianapolis -based Golden Rule, which is a big campaign funder for Newt Gingrich. And who are the good people working so diligently on the Medicare issue? Lurking behind the Coalition is a second level of front groups, including: The Alliance for Managed Care, which musters big insurers like Aetna, CIGNA and Prudential. The Healthcare Leadership Council, uniting pharmaceutical giants and hospital corporations. The Seniors Coalition, a group founded with the support of right-wing direct-mail specialist Richard Viguerie and which was once investigated by the New York State attorney general’s office for participating in a “pattern of fraud and abuse.” ‘Citizens for a Sound Economy, an out: fit that receives millions annually from corporate funders and whose top officer is David Koch, the oil and gas magnate who once ran for president on the Libertarian Party’s ticket. His platform included a call to kill Medicare. Vicky Lovett, a spokeswoman for the Seniors Coalition, a member of the Coalition to Save Medicare, did not return calls seeking comment. 4. UPS and Worker Safety Among trucking and delivery companies United Parcel Service has the highest injury rate in the country, fifteen lost-time injuries per every one hundred full-time workers. Since the early 1990s, the Occupational Safety and Health Administramore than one thousand three hundred safety violations. With such a poor record, UPS might THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.