Monday, July 23, 2018

Pete Sessions is a liability that should have been dealt with YEARS ago

"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly."
Proverbs 26:11

This isn't good, via the Texas Observer:
Golf outings at an exclusive country club. A catered suite at a Dallas Cowboys game. Swanky ski resort getaways in the mountains of Utah. Life is good for Congressman Pete Sessions.

As the chair of the House Rules Committee, Sessions is Congress’ gatekeeper — the man who controls if and when legislation is considered on the House floor. And he’s used his position, aided by an under-the-radar political action committee (PAC), to finance a pampered life among fellow elites.

A new report released this week by Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center, campaign-finance reform groups based in Washington, D.C., explores how leadership PACs — special pots of money meant to help other politicians and build influence — have become lawmakers’ “preferred ticket to luxurious living.”

Leadership PACs are an obscure fundraising tool ostensibly used to support other candidates directly, or to subsidize a lawmaker’s travel while campaigning for other candidates. In other words, they can cover some peripheral expenses a lawmaker’s campaign account can’t. But with next to no spending restrictions and little oversight, politicians are increasingly using the money as a personal slush fund for extravagant flourishes and expensive events. In fact, less than half of the $160 million that leadership PACs spent in the 2016 cycle — about $74 million — actually went toward other federal candidates or political committees.

Sessions is spotlighted in the report for using his creatively named leadership PAC, People for Enterprise Trade and Economic Growth (PETE) PAC, to finance expensive golf outings. But a closer look at PAC records shows that he’s also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at some of the most luxurious places in the country while he wines and dines corporate donors.

Sessions’ PAC hasn’t given more than 50 percent of its funding to other candidates or PACs since 2013 and has instead spent more and more of its funds on courting donors, according to the report. For instance, in the 2013-14 cycle, PETE PAC spent about 45 percent of its money — $303,000 — on political contributions and about 50 percent on fundraising expenses. For 2015-2016, the PAC spent 49.8 percent – $214,100 — on contributions to other candidates.

“The way you raise funds is to make donors feel comfortable and give them an experience, which is fine, but the problem is that a comparably small percentage of the funds raised for leadership PACs are going to other candidates,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform for the Campaign Legal Center. “It gives the appearance that you’re holding fundraisers at a high-end steakhouse to bankroll the fundraiser you’re holding at a Cowboys game.”
The Observer article goes on to detail the PETEPAC's various events and expenditures that have benefited the Congressman; we strongly recommend you read the whole thing here.

Hillary won Sessions' district.  It's not a secret Sessions' district is the most likely Texas CD to flip this fall.  This type of corruption drives voters insane.

Sessions has had challenges almost every cycle for the past decade.  Unfortunately, on each occasion, Dallas did what it usually does.  That being said, no regrets on our end about supporting previous challenges to Sessions.

[Note: That none of Sessions' previous challengers found this scandal hiding in plain sight is an act of political malpractice.]

Bottom Line: This was SO predictable.  It was ALSO preventable.  Now it's too late.

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