Sunday, January 29, 2006

Rebutting the Endorsements of Congressman John Shadegg for Majority Leader

The conservative wing of the blogsphere is replete with endorsments for Congressman John Shadegg for House Majority Leader. Some examples include:

  • Club For Gowth Endorses John Shadegg for U.S. House Majority Leader

  • Instapundit's non-endorsement endorsment:

    SHADEGG FOR MAJORITY LEADER: I won't call this an "endorsement," because that's pretentious. I'm just a blogger, and not somebody in a position to issue endorsements.

    But it seems to me that the GOP would be very wise to choose John Shadegg to replace Tom Delay as Majority Leader. Blunt, despite some reformist comments, is basically the candidate of business-as-usual. Boehner seems a bit better, but not tremendously different. Shadegg is the only one who seems like a plausible agent for reform, and it's going to be hard to persuade people who would like to see the GOP get back to its small-government, clean-Congress 1994 roots that there's any chance of that if they choose a business-as-usual Majority Leader...
  • The Truth Laid Bear: John Shadegg for Majority Leader

Porkopolis is generally in agreement with the positions these fellow right of center blogs take, but the record shows that we risk placing another fox in the hen-house by having Congressman John Shadegg voted in as House Majority Leader.

Representative John Shadegg has used his office to benefit two lobbyists in Arizona at the expense of the the American taxpayer. Specifically, Mr. Shadegg:
  • Cosponsored a bill (H.R. 400) with Democratic Congressman Ed Pastor to transfer federal land and facilities (the Western Cotton Research Laboratory) to the Arizona Cotton Growers Association and Supima. This inspite of conflict of interest that existed as a result of campaign contributions from the lobyist.

  • Voted for passage of H.R. 2744 which contained the following provision:

    SEC. 783. As soon as practicable after the Agricultural Research Service Operations at the Western Cotton Research Laboratory located at 4135 East Broadway Road in Phoenix, Arizona, have ceased, the Secretary of Agriculture shall convey, without consideration, to the Arizona Cotton Growers Association and Supima all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to the real property at that location, including improvements.
    This provision, when signed into law by the President, circumvented the well established surplus federal land disposal procedures.

  • Was quoted in a recent article in the Arizona Tribune justifying his actions by stating that there was an "understanding" that the land once belonged to the lobbyists, was donated to the federal government and was to be returned to them if the federal government was no longer using it.

    Mr. Shadegg does not provide any documentation for this "understanding" which our federal government participated in over three decades ago. Porkopolis has yet to find any official government records demonstrating that any public official conducted a due diligence review to verify the assertion that such and "understanding" existed. If anything, all the evidence that has been uncovered to date shows that the conveyance was atypical.

    In the same article, the lobbyist (Rick Lavis, executive vice president of the cotton growers association) receiving the free federal land was quoted as saying:

    This is a case of where if we had to stand in line, we would never have gotten a shot at it.

    "Stand in line"; that's what Joe Six-pack and every other American has to do if they want to purchase surplus federal land...To say nothing of receiving it as an outright gift.

    Moreover, Porkopolis has documented that such an "understanding" does not exist with any similar land the lobbyists donated and that in fact the sale of similar land (held by both the University of Arizona and the federal government) previously 'donated' by the lobbyist is being utilized to fund a new joint facility.

    Porkopolis has also documented that the original intent of the President's budget was to actually sell the Western Cotton Research Laboratory to fund the new facility; a new facility that will ulitmately benefit the very same lobbyist that are getting the free land at the taxpayers expense.
In light of this, Mr. Shadegg should answer to his fellow Republicans on why he is worthy of being our House Majority Leader. Fellow S.O.B Alliance blogger, BizzyBlog, has asked the question, "Why is John Shadegg getting a pass for his involvement in questionable legislation and with lobbyists?"

If Mr. Shadegg were to be elected to the leadership position, the questions raised over his involvement with this sweetheart deal will not go away. They may even take on added significance; allowing the charge of hypocrisy to be leveled if Mr. Shadegg were to seek to reform the party's dealings with lobbyists.

All previous posts on the research conducted on this topic can be found in the blog roll at the top right of the blog entitled 'Special Series: Western Cotton Research Lab'.


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