Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ipods In Afghanistan

I am all for USAID appropriating $8.3 million in aid to the countryside in Afghanistan. Surely, the money is better spent there than it is on more contracts to Halliburton. However, the $8.3 million grant from USAID in 2005 was not for food or medicine being sent to Afghanistan. It was spent on mp3 players! Why? The contract was awarded to a Kentucky group called Voice for Humanity that spent $240,000 in lobbying fees to hire former Chief of Staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell, Hunter Bates. As many of you already know, its not unusual for Bates to profit off his relationship with McConnell:

From his seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, McConnell has recommended about $45 million in federal funds for four of Bates’ clients, interviews and public records show. The senator has filed or rewritten bills for three other clients, loosening pension contribution rules and making it harder to sue businesses.

Overall, Bates, who is 38, reports that he has charged about $2.4 million in fees to clients helped by McConnell — more than half of the fees he reports for his first three years as a Washington lobbyist. Those clients have given McConnell about $120,000 in campaign contributions. Most did not give to McConnell until they hired Bates. They declined to say whether Bates, who asks people to give to McConnell, solicited their own donations.

Cross-posted at


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Paddy said...

Seems all I can say today is "UGH".

At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder if I'm living on a different planet.

Oh dear: run out of gas - $30; get Rx refilled - $40; horse cut her leg - $120 for the vet; fix the roof - $550: utility bill (oh we knew about that one - comes every month) - $320; buy Ipods for Afghanis while lobby firm makes more than I ever will in a decade - $priceless, oops, no actually $240K.



Post a Comment

<< Home