Dan Benishek is the Republican who replaced Bart Stupak to represent Michigan’s gigantic first district.
Benishek was a typical tea party candidate, running on a typical tea party platform. He was endorsed by the major Michigan tea party groups and even Her Highness herself gave him her Wasilla thumbs-up.
Like all tea partiers, Dan Benishek hates politicians so much that he decided to become a politician.
Dan’s not a career politician. He doesn’t really have a political bone in his body. But when Congress passed a nearly trillion dollar stimulus bill in the middle of the night that no one had read, he shocked his wife, his friends and everyone who knew him: he declared that he could either shout at this TV set for the rest of his life, or he would run for Congress. So look out Congress…
Out with the career politicians. Out with the special interests. And in with the voices of taxpaying American citizens who agree that enough is enough.
That was a year ago. My how times have changed. Last week, the Public Campaign Action Fund (PCAF) released a report showing that 74% of the money Benishek has raised since he took office has come from sources outside of the state of Michigan.
Other details of their report:
- Rep. Benishek received $89,106 in total itemized contributions in the 1st quarter.
- Of that total, 74% was from donations outside the state of Michigan.
- 89% of these donations, or $79,000, were in amounts of $1,000 or more.
- A member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Benishek has also benefited from PAC industry donors with business before the committee over the past three months. Major industry donors include Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc. PAC ($5,000), COAL PAC ($1,000), DTE Energy Company PAC ($1,500), Exxon Mobil PAC ($5,000), MINEPAC ($2,000), and XCEL Energy Employee PAC ($2,000).
So, for all his tea party rhetoric, Benishek is just another politician, fast on his way to becoming a dreaded “career politician” who accepts money from anyone. Doesn’t need to be a Michigander. Doesn’t have to be an individual. It can even be from a corporation that represents a clear conflict of interest, little more than a bribe to vote “correctly”, for their benefit. The “voices of taxpaying American citizens” seem to have taken a backseat to Benishek’s corporate benefactors.
The PCAF is promoting a piece of legislation called the Fair Elections Now Act. From the press release:
Sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-Ill.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), the Fair Elections Now Act would give candidates the option of running a competitive campaign by collecting small donations of $100 or less from people in their home state. Those donations would then be matched five to one from the Fair Elections fund, paid for by fees on some of our country’s largest government contractors like General Electric. With Fair Elections, candidates can focus on their constituents and the policy-making process—not attending fundraisers or dialing for dollars.
Clearly Congressman Benishek, wouldn’t qualify for the public funding. Not as, you know, a fledgling career politician.
I’m just sayin’…