Two Thieves Of The Federal Treasury
Back when the minority-party GOP was waging war against the entrenched Democratic House leadership in 1994, they attacked Democrats for relatively small-scale thievery like House franking privileges, misuse of the House bank, and book deals. Today, after a decade in power themselves, the entrenched GOP leadership makes the Democrats of old seem like amateurs. Richard Pombo, facing a tough reelection campaign this year in California's 11th district from Jerry McNerney, has been exposed by the Los Angeles Times for openly advocating a reduction in royalties from oil companies to the federal government. Pombo insists that the current 12.5% royalty from oil companies that extract oil from shale on public lands be reduced to only 1%, a loss to the federal treasury of tens of billions of dollars at a time of large federal deficits and huge oil company profits.
The same oil companies that would benefit from Pombo’s legislation constitute ten percent of all of Pombo's contributions this cycle. Even the Bush Administration and fellow Republicans are against Pombo’s giveaway to the oil companies, yet Pombo, who is already implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal, apparently has no shame. Worse yet, Pombo refuses to fix a Clinton Administration error that has allowed oil companies to escape paying the intended royalties from offshore oil drilling. In essence, Pombo is handing the federal treasury to Big Oil at the expense of the federal budget deficit and all taxpayers. And he does it from a position as chair of an important House committee, where he and Denny Hastert share something in common: neither of them cares about protecting the vulnerable or everyday Americans if it gets in the way of maintaining GOP power.