Why No Interest In Mike Castle’s Corrupt Lobbyist Problems?

September 12, 2010

I recall the Standard's John McCormack getting pushed into the gutter once, shame he hasn't had the wherewithal to lift himself out of it, yet. It strikes me as odd that some are so willing to assist Mike Castle in what amounts to the politics of personal destruction against his challenger, Christine O'Donnell, yet none of these supposedly Right-side publications have any interest at all in exposing Mike Castle's alleged corruption during his many years in Congress.

In 2006, the Washington Post pointed out the cost to taxpayers of sweetheart deals struck between elected officials like Castle and lobbying firms who offer what amount to kick backs in campaign donations. People have asked how Castle became a millionaire on such a relatively small salary. This may have something to do with it.

Each legislative season, corporate executives and lobbyists quietly draft hundreds of bills to suspend tariffs. Over time, the changes cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue, a Washington Post analysis of U.S. trade data found. Most of the tariff suspensions involve obscure chemicals and dyes, but many other products show up, including boilers for nuclear reactors, green peanuts, child potty seats, unicycles — even chocolate coatings for laxatives.

Yet, Castle has gone without scrutiny despite an established pattern of doing this very thing. He must really be courting friends in the press, or something. But for years, a Delaware blog has been pointing out Castle's habit of allegedly doing lobbyists favors that cost taxpayer's big dollars in exchange for campaign donations.

Since 1993, Mike Castle has been the sole sponsor of 103 bills which apparently were intended to provide relief to certain chemical and agribusiness companies from customs duties imposed by the federal government on the importation of certain chemicals. During the same period of Mike Castle’s congressional career, the chemical industry, including some (if not all) of the companies directly benefiting from these Castle-sponsored bills, contributed over $106,000 to his campaign committee.

Here's a look at just one year. But that's just the tip of the iceberg, it would seem. It's all there in a series of posts beginning here. Moving on to herehereherehere and here. McCormack can look through the archive himself. Or, maybe he can only see stories handed to him by GOP operatives supporting Mike Castle from down in the gutter where he looks to live.

Let’s focus on the current Congress, the 109th. Since the beginning of this Congress in January 2005, Mike Castle has been the main sponsor of 63 bills. Of those 63 bills, 29 are pieces of legislation which, if passed, would suspend a tariff on a specific chemical, or extend a pre-existing tariff suspension on a chemical. You can review Mike Castle’s most recent legislation here.

Apparently, as part of the process for this type of legislation, the United States International Trade Commission reviews these proposed tariff suspensions to determine the cost imposed on the US Treasury if the tariff is suspended. Of the 29 tariff suspension bills, Mike Castle sponsored, I was able to locate 18 memos on-line from the Commission, each of which discussed the effect of suspension of a particular tariff.

$120,000,000 to the chemcial industry. CHA-CHING!!

Based on our own government’s estimates, just these 18 of Mike Castle’s tariff suspension bills would cost the US Treasury over $21,000,000 in lost tariff revenue. I know this is a rough extrapolation, but if you take the average lost tariff revenue of these 18 ($1,166,666) and multiply that by the 103 bills like this Mike Castle has sponsored, it appears Mike Castle has provided over $120,000,000 of benefit to his chemical industry contributors. To see one of these Commission memos on one of Mike Castle’s bills, click here.

These bills are, in essence, earmarks to Mike Castle’s contributors. Isn’t that the same kind of pay-for-favors activities that is behind the Abramoff scandal? Shouldn’t someone in the main stream media be digging into this? Don’t any of the News Journal reporters aspire to win a Pulitzer Prize? Drew Volturo, you seemed hungry. What about our sassy bloggers?

(….the sound of crickets chirping in the distance…)

Okay forget about the papers and the bloggers – What about us? Shouldn’t we have a problem with having a Congressman who is basically on the payroll of DuPont and Syngenta?

Don’t we have any better uses for the $120 million Michael Castle saw fit to give away to the drug companies? Isn't America still a Democracy?

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  1. Hayeksheroes says:

    Silly commentary. The tariffs increase the cost of goods. Tariffs restrict free trade.
    Castle’s actions might have hurt the treasury, but helped the US consumer.

  2. Sissy Willis says:

    Just a darned minute. I hold STOCK in DuPont …

  3. Dan Riehl says:

    That’s dumbassery, hh, the exclusions were exclusive. And you ignore the quid pro quo. Better go back to your economics 101 reader and try again.

  4. Terry in GA says:

    Ouch — that ought to leave a mark.

  5. Hey, we had a Senate Tea Party candidate (Chuck DeVore) leading in the polls until McPalin connived with the GOP establishment to cram liberal inkblot Carly Fiorina down our throats and no one batted an eyelash. We could have place a Tea Party candidate in the Senate from California. Why was no one upset about that? It’s not just Castle. Lots of “conservatives” have their heads up their butts.
    And then there is this:
    Our “too big to fail” banks are now so big, that they can’t be regulated nor managed (as the CEO’s testified to Congress earlier this year). Yet no one ever asks why these banks have to be this big in the first place. Modern technology and the new global requirements are not good answers. We did just fine against the mega-huge foreign banks for a very long time and the reason why haven’t changed. What HAS changed is the eye-popping profits to be made in money laundering.
    The international drug cartels are the largest business in the world. Most of the trade is transacted in US currency and not on credit, checks, or bank transfers. It’s hard cash on the barrel head. Once they have the cash, they don’t bury it. It’s a business. The money has to be laundered or it is useless. You need a huge US dollar-based economy to do that. There is only one of those. Us. It is so much money that there is no way to hide the laundering unless the banks were big enough. Think of snakes swallowing pigs. It is so much money that you cannot do it without paying off bankers, politicians, regulators and anyone else who is in the way. Pretty obvious isn’t it? Is it any wonder that our politicians send troops to AZ protect illegal immigrants?
    Yet just try to get a ripple bringing it up. No one cares.

  6. Sally says:

    I don’t really have a dog in this hunt but it seems like you can’t really come up with anything in the way of a defense for O’Donnell and her multi-million lawsuit claiming conservatives don’t like women so instead you ridicule another reporter and try to smear Castle. Is there anything in the McCormack piece that you find mis-reported or inaccurate in some way? Is it true or isn’t it? Because if your argument is that it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, look at what Castle did, well that’s not much of an endorsement for a woman who’s supposed to represent everything that’s true and good about conservative principles. Uh, except when she’s sueing for millions of dollars claiming she was discriminated against because she’s a woman. Wow. A conservative did that? That kind of victim play is usually a Democrat move.

  7. X11B1P says:

    “That kind of victim play is usually a Democrat move.”
    And voting for Cap and Trade IS a Democratic move – what’s your point? Are you really claiming that O’Donnell is somehow more liberal than Castle? Please link to the data to support your claim, I am really interested in reading information about O’Donnell’s lawsuit because this is the first time I have heard about this issue – thanks

  8. Moobs says:

    hey paadena why did james inhofe vote for fiorina?
    is he a lib too?
    and btw sally castle voted for crap and trade so don’t complain when your electric bill skyrockets

  9. Moobs:
    I didn’t know that Imhofe had a vote in CA. And BTW, didn’t Jeb Hensarling, solid conservative, endorse Scuzzafava in NY? Out of staters should look before they leap. DeVore was endorsed by the Tea Party and Jim DeMint. If Imhofe is opposing DeMint, maybe I am giving him more respect than he deserves. He is, after all, only a senator which makes him suspect. It’s all one big country club in the Senate.

  10. John Burke says:

    OMG, no, acting as Delaware’s sole member of the House, Mike Castle has actually introduced bills to help lower the input costs of DELAWARE’S MOST IMPORTANT INDUSTRY. Dan, I guess you were snoozing in American history class when they were talking about the first DuPont founding a powder mill in Wilmington in 1802. And you’ve obviously missed that Wilmington is still called “the chemical capital of the world.” These, days, not only is DuPont still headquartered in Delaware but a half dozen other major chemical manufacturers are located in the tiny state as well. Production of (chemical-based) plastics and rubber is still one of Delaware’s biggest industries, a major employer and a big driver of the state’s economy.
    I guess you were also snoozing when they taught about the continuous ups and downs of import duties from the Washington Administration through yesterday — an ongoing effort by members of Congress to, oh no, REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS.
    You might actually be a more persuasive advocate for O’Donnell if you knew much of anything. What’s more, as one commenter said above and beat me to it, various tariffs and duties inhibit free trade and distort markers — stuff that conservatives usually oppose. And what’s this crap about fretting over how “lost” federal revenue — i.e., money that duPont did not have to pay to the feds and pass along to consumers — might be better spent on something else. You sound just like the liberal Democrats.
    Finally, if this is an issue, are we going to hear O’Donnell promise not to sponsor any more of these ‘corrupt’ customs bills. Let’s hear that and watch Delaware voters smack her down.

  11. Sandy says:

    Sally- If you didn’t have a dog in the hunt, you wouldn’t have posted the comment that you did. Fail.
    So, you would rather see someone one who has a long long record of Liberal votes, while claiming to be a Republican, go back to Washington, and, continue to help the Liberals agenda? Is it Conservative to only want to tweak Obamacare. What exactly would it be that he would want to leave as is, and what would he tweak, to make the entire mess more conservative, or even pallatable? What is it about Cap and Trade that’s even remotely Conservative?
    There’s a very good reason why the “moderate” Republicans have been fighting for other moderates in the primaries. They are all just as guilty as the corrupt Democrats, and, if they supported conservative newcomers, they might be found out. There’s a reason why most of the Republican Leadership has not gone full tilt against the Liberals legislation, and tactics. They are guilty of many of the same offenses themselves, and, they have no intention of changing.

  12. Moobs says:

    pasadena inhofe opposes cap and trade but still you have a good point though as usual
    btw o’donnll is acon artist or something well castles pro lobbyist agenda makes him twice the con artist Jenfidel you moron

  13. Moobs says:

    a con artist*

  14. WillOTP says:

    So Dan, you may be 100$ correct about Castle having ethical problems. How is John McCormack writing an article about a serious issue with O’Donnell’s judgement an example of him being in the gutter? Just because you prefer O’Donnel over Castle (as I did at one time)?
    I think you’re may be correct about the right needing to look into Castle further. Now address the problems with O’Donnell openly and objectively.

  15. moobs:
    Thanks for calling me a moron. Stay classy.
    And that was the same defective and intellectually bankrupt logic Arizona’s “conservatives” used to re-nominate McCain. You can’t reform the status quo by re-electing the RINO leadership nor by promoting lesser RINOs like Castle to higher office. If the other candidate turns out to an idiot, we can vote him/her out in next election before they get entrenched. In the meantime, we have derailed another RINO career and reset the game to “start”.
    Why is it that we only demand perfection of the conservative candidate? Arguing that O’Donnell is not perfect is not a logical argument for supporting a Democrat like Castle running as a Republican. When RINO candidates win the nomination, we are always ORDERED to hold our noses for the good of the party. The “lesser of two evils” argument. Now it’s time for RINO’s to learn to hold their noses too and support the conservative candidate when he/she wins for the good of not only the party but of the nation.
    As with Hayworth in NV, I don’t care one bit if O’Donnell is a steaming pile of crap. That has yet to be proven. But we already know that McCain and Castle are a steaming, eye-burning piles of dysentery crap so it would be an improvement. The days of arguing party over principle by the GOP elites are over. Get with the program or follow the Whigs into extinction.

  16. Moobs says:

    i apologize for calling you a moron btw jnfidel is tearing this post apart i mean you must hate america if you vote against this guy right jenfidel?

  17. Jenfidel says:

    Moobs, why are you addressing me on this blog?! I’m over at HA. Hello?!
    Sorry, Dan–it seems my attackers are everywhere! ;-)
    But I’m going with John McCormack on this one.

  18. KW64 says:

    Castle will not vote for Harry Reid as Senate Majority leader. Coons will. Thus a vote for O’Donnell (who will lose overwhelmingly to Coons) is a vote for Harry Reid. Yes, Harry Reid will beat Sharon Angle who also is a weak candidate. We can beat the Democrats if Republicans will quit conceding defeat by nominating hopeless candidates like Angle and O’Donnell.

  19. Voting for O’Donnell is voting for Reid? Let’s see. Isn’t he behind in the polls? Besides, McConnell is not much of an improvement over Reid. Unless, of course, you suffer from the delusion that Assistant Democrats are better than Democrats. Sorry, don’t follow.

  20. Patrick Glenn says:

    The progressives and their RINO enablers (e.g., Castle) are probably the worst offenders of an elite political class that has promoted elements of “progressive” crony corporatism that are not necessarily (or usually) corrupt in intent; however, they contribute to a gradual corruption of classical liberalism, in nature (and results). Mike Castle epitomizes a deeper form of institutional/civic/philosophical corruption that, in important respects, is far more detrimential to the body politic than the cheap, cash-in-freezer shenanigans.
    Maybe some conservatives feel that, at this critical juncture, it is imperative a clear message is sent to the ruling class rejecting progressivism in its many forms (including the Castle variety) even if it means electing an alleged con woman or two.
    Let’s say, for sake of argument, that O’Donnell is a good old fashioned con woman. So what? Please explain to me how she, as one of 50 senators, could do more damage than Castle? Are you suggesting that she’s going to pull unsophisticated larcenies? Heck, those are child’s play (and much easier to unravel than the good intentioned “policy improvements” that the ruling elites pull off). If all we had to worry about was old school political corruption, we’d be in much better shape today.
    Or, are you suggesting that O’Donell will end being a RINO, herself, and so we’ll be stuck with a crazy, unsophisticated, unethical RINO instead of the worthless (and probably just as unethical) RINO Castle, but that the latter is more acceptable to our ruling elites and therefore will be less likely to taint the precious Republican Party brand?
    I’m confused. Maybe someone can explain to me why the O’Donnells would necessarily be more dangerous to the body politic than the Castles . . .

  21. HayeksHeroes says:

    I’ve gone back to Economics 101 and darn, the same result.
    The effect of tarrifs are a regressive tax, effecting the poor more than the rich.
    X-inefficiency — means monogenial laziness; with weaker competition, managers won’t be as efficient, won’t cut costs as much; the same amount of goods will be produced, but using more resources.
    Tariffs cause rent-seeking — income transfer from consumers, competitors, tax-payers.
    The more time you spend pursuing rent-seeking (income-transfer), the less time you spend working, investing, producing wealth. This is waste.
    Reduces the size of the market, hinders the division of labor.
    Tariffs reduce innovation.
    With no competition, there is no incentive to make better products.
    Increases costs.
    Pass-through effect — tariffs have disproportional effects on export-dependent areas; the extent to which they can pass on the costs of the tariff:
    Tariff is an indirect tax on exports through imports.
    If restrict the number of dollars that leave the US to other countries, we restrict foreign investment.
    Retaliation against tariffs:
    Smoot-Howley tariff, passed in by Hoover. Raised the average tariff rate around 45-50%. US exports had declined by 53% in 1932.
    These tariffs strengthened the Japanese Fascists, just like Versailles strengthened Hitler.
    Quotas produce similar effects, though there’s no government revenue.
    Look, I want O’Donell to kick Castle’s rear. Castle is a RINO. But you’ve got to come up with something better than this.

  22. Tourdefrance says:

    We need to nominate conservatives who can win, and who can persuade others to our POV. If we nominate conservative clowns, we damage our brand more directly than if we nominate RINOs. Nobody likes Castle, but we need to use judgement in who we choose to replace him.
    Can someone please tell me what O’Donnell has done in her life to qualify her for US Senator? At least Castle has proven himself in Congress. O’Donnell is nothing but a pretty face and a set of opinions. Half the commentators on this board are probably better qualified to represent the state then her! I mean, she lies, she cheats on her taxes, she bites the hand which feeds her, she makes wild statements…a;ll of this and she hasn’t even been elected yet.

  23. Patrick Glenn says:

    Tourdefrance: I think you have the best anti-O’Donell argument, that she’s not a good tribune of conservative ideas and that she might harm the conservative brand. That prospect is worrisome. However, not many “grassroots” conservatives, classical liberals, (non-left) libertarians are really that sympathetic about protecting a Republican brand that was diminished by the Republican elites who now seem to be well represented among the phalanx attacking O’Donell.
    The qualifications point seems less convincing to me. Before now, the way to become qualified was to be a member of good standing with the elite Republican hierarchy, which has not always been a solid (or even) genuine steward of conservativism/classical liberalism. Who was qualified? John McCain, Chuck Grassley, Olympia Snowe . . . (and a lot of Democrats).

  24. Tourdefrance says:

    Funny you should say that, as I was open minded towards her until I looked into her qualifications, after which I moved towards Castle. I would support her in a run for the House, but not for the Senate.
    I think it’s important to separate O’Donnell’s opinions from who she is as a person. Here is someone who clearly lied on her tax returns, sued her former employer for an outrageous sum, is nearly 40 years old and only this month completed her Bachelors degree, has major debt problems, etc etc. We need to ask ourselves whether this person has the character to be a leader and to execute on her ideals. It looks to me that the answer to this question is clearly no. At the very least, we would be wise to send her to Congress for a couple 2 year stints to see how she does before we put her up as a Senate candidate.
    when I talk about qualifications, I talk about real world accomplishments achieved in private enterprise. Having a brief stint with a conservative think tank before suing them for all their worth does not fall in this category. A lesser measure of qualifications would be holding some sort of elective office for a period of time without seeing it implode in scandal etc. McCain, Grassley, Snowe have all have one or both of these qualifications; O’Donnell has neither.
    I think it would be a mistake to nominate a candidate who appears to be ideologically pure, but suffers from critical character flaws; and in the process destroy a successful Republican who has the ability to deliver us the majority in the Senate.

  25. papertiger says:

    The way I remember it Sen Cornyn on the NRSC was the one who sank Chuck DeVore’s campaign, by snubing CHuck and backing Fiorina December 2009.
    Palin didn’t climb on board with Fiorina until May of this year.
    You have to wonder where John Cornyn gets his campaign advise. I think maybe from back issues of the SF Chron.
    Water under the bridge. I loved DeVore, and he would have beaten the crap out of Boxer – despite the SFChron, but he’s not in the race any more. So Now I”ll learn to love Fiorina.
    But here’s the key – I’m voting against Al Gore and the climate nazis.
    What’s the worst single thing that can happen to the Warmers?
    Barbara Boxer defeated in California – easily the worst thing that can happen to ruin Joe Romm’s year.
    O’Donnell is still on the ballot, and Castle is the last of the Waxman Markey traitors still running for a seat.
    So I love O’Donnell. But I would vote for Coons over Castle.
    Never vote for a traitor.

  26. John Burke says:

    Tourdefrance writes: “Can someone please tell me what O’Donnell has done in her life to qualify her for US Senator? At least Castle has proven himself in Congress. O’Donnell is nothing but a pretty face and a set of opinions. Half the commentators on this board are probably better qualified to represent the state then her!”
    Great point! What I’ve learned from this O’Donnell mess is that there is a certain cohort of holier-than-thou self-styled conservatives, led by people like Dan, who will vote for anyone who rattles off the right answers to litmus test questions, regardless of whether they have ever done a single thing in their lives to demonstrate that their answers are anything more than hot air. Conservative politicians, like the routinely maligned John McCain, who have not only a lifetime of service to the nation but decades of working hard to advance their conservative values in difficult circumstances where, heaven forefend, not everyone agress with them — these leaders ar dismissed as mere “RINOs,” and lumped together with such obvious charlatans as Arlen Specter. It doesn’t take much to get this treatment. You could be in the Congress for 30 years and cast 90% of your votes on the conservative side of issues but cross Dan and company on anything at all and you’re just another enemy to be defeated along with Obama, Pelosi, Reid, RINO’s the Republican Establishment, and something Dan now calls the “conservative establishment.”
    It’s mindlessness run wild with a dose of carelessness and a dash of selfish irresponsibility.

  27. JD says:

    My my, Castle comes VERY cheap if he’s only collected $106k over 12 years. That’s under $10k/year spread over many companies.
    I guess he wanted Cap-n-tax so he could double his immense contribution pool, less than 1% of a typical Congressional election expenditure.
    This isn’t nothing. It’s certainly not large scale corruption unless he comes too cheaply to take seriously.

  28. papertiger says:

    Dupont – Why didn’t I think of that before.
    From the American Spectator report: The Windsurfer’s Windfall,
    “…According to Senator Kerry’s statements for the last fiscal year, as of December 31, 2009, he and his wife owned large stakes in numerous prominent energy companies, many of which are currently lobbying Congress for legislation aimed at energy reform and stand the most to gain from passage of the APA (American Power Act – Kerry Lieberman’s version of the Cap and Trade). Yeatman and Lott singled out GE, BP, ConocoPhillips, Dupont, and Exelon as among the big winners in the APA scheme. GE in particular has been a staunch advocate of the APA. Surprisingly, or not, Kerry holds about $20 million worth of investments in all of these companies, among a slew of other energy sector giants.”
    And from the Green Hell blog: Problems at USCAP,
    “Today’s Washington Post features a full-page ad urging the Senate to adopt carbon caps this year (in the wake of the passage of Waxman Markey) — ironically, an ad that may signal the demise of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), the coalition of rentseeking big businesses and socialist activist groups lobbying for global warming regulation.
    The ad is signed by 22 companies and 6 green groups.
    While 15 of the ad’s signatories are USCAP members (Boston Scientific, Dow, Duke, Dupont, Environmental Defense, Exelon, GE, Johnson & Johnson, NRDC, Nature Conservancy, NRG energy, Pew Center, PG&E PNM Resources, Rio Tinto, and Word Resources Institute), 15 other USCAP members didn’t endorse the ad …”
    And this from the UK Guardian: Copenhagen Diary; mystery guests, taxpayer travel, and cheering up Yvo.
    ” The UN has just released the list of people accredited to the official conference so it is possible to see for the first time exactly who is here or is due to come. Actually it’s quite difficult. The list extends to three volumes and more than 300 pages. But just dipping in, we find that an organisation called TheCompensators has brought nearly 150 people… …as well as George Clooney, Tommy Lee Jones, Sir David Attenborough, Werner Herzog, the head of US chemical company DuPont, the Bishop of London and someone called “Mr Richard Benson, the “founder of Virgin Unite”.”

  29. papertiger says:

    So when Mike Castle voted in favor of Cap and Trade he was acting in his role as the congressman from the Great State of Dupont.

  30. Patrick Glenn says:

    John Burke and Tourdefrance: it’s not inconsistent to believe that John McCain – as a prime example – arrived at his position and standing via good character and intentions, strong qualifications/background, etc., and should be commended for his outstanding service to his nation, and YET still represents a type of moderate “conservative” who has (mostly unwittingly) played an important role in bolstering the status-quo, progressive crony corporatism. It’s not about litmus tests. It’s the growing awareness that we can no longer afford to elect leaders (whether so-called “conservative” Democrats or RINOs) who provide cover to, and play pattycake with, the larger progressive project.