We are facing huge long-term problems: a real unemployment rate of 18%, dysfunctional banks that are "too big to fail", a regressive tax structure that's stifling economic growth, prisons that are bursting at the seams, urban schools that are struggling, a health care system that still needs major reform, the lack of a coherent national energy policy that will protect our economy and the environment, and a government that has been encroaching on our civil liberties. For decades we have lived with irresponsible public policies from career politicians in Congress who care more about increasing their party’s power and getting re-elected than they care about solving long-term problems. They haven’t been honest with us, and they have been lousy public servants.

I’m different. I do not want to be a career politician. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m a Problem Solver. I want to force members of Congress to be responsible, and implement sustainable solutions to real problems. Please read the positions I present on this website, and spread the word to friends and family.

Please email me at John@Mertens2010.com, and become a supporter on Twitter at @mertens4senate or Facebook: John's FB

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Corruption in Congress

There are 35,000 registered lobbyists in Washington D.C. Members of Congress take huge donations from companies the lobbyists represent. This is a conflict of interest, plain and simple. For example, Senator Dodd has received over $13 million dollars of donations from financial, industry, and real-estate related firms since 2000, during which time he was a member of the Senate banking committee, and chair of the committee since January 2007 (Hartford Courant, 9/29/08). This is legal, but it shouldn't be. (See my entry "Campaign Finance Reform".)

Look at these numbers:

-In 1991, 546 pork barrel projects passed in Congress, costing us taxpayers $3 billion.
-In 2005, 14,000(!) pork barrel projects passed in Congress, costing us taxpayers $27 billion!

This explosion of waste and corruption helped Democrats take Congress in 2006. They pledged to rein in pork barrel spending.

-In 2007 there were 11,000 pork barrel projects, costing us taxpayers $15 billion.

Those are pretty slack reins.

This explosion of waste and greed in the last 15 years is a result of Congress giving lobbyists the keys to the bank. Pork barrel riders have been attached to bills at 2:00 AM the night before votes, and passed without anyone but the lobbyist and the member of Congress knowing what had happened. This is corruption, pure and simple, and it must be stopped. The current rules of Congress must be strengthened and enforced.

How can any member of Congress acknowledge these facts and not hang their head in shame? Why haven’t some members of Congress spoken out loudly about this? I will.

Please support our efforts! We will gladly take any amount. You can donate here, or send a check made out to "John Mertens for U.S. Senate" to the address below. The maximum contribution per individual is $2,400. For donations of more than $50, federal law requires that you provide your name and address. For contributions above $200, you must also provide your profession and employer name. Thank you!

John Mertens for U.S. Senate
P.O. Box 330452
West Hartford, CT 06133-0452