Jeff Ballinger says money in politics is a problem
Of course, “single payer,” repeal the tax-cut and improve education – here’s what sets me apart from the field:
I think Congress has to debate the issue of Afghanistan, it is not enough to have the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction issuing 200-page reports every six months. When I was there for a year, I was willing to go toe-to-toe with our ambassador and tell him we needed to build up the mining industry. We have been helping that Ministry of Mines for 17 years, spending tens of millions of dollars and still no mining law has been enacted. So, if you want to have a mining business you have no legal framework to work within. They need to stop the smuggling to develop “regular” mining jobs and collect the revenue.
My biggest problem with American foreign policy has to do with money in politics. I believe that there’s no other issue that can explain the following: one year ago, 60 percent of House Democrats voted for a defense budget $50 billion more than Donald Trump proposed. The only explanation for such a vote is to curry favor with defense contractors; until we get money out of politics we really cannot reform the Department of Defense, the way it needs to be reformed.
Recently, Rep. Jim McGovern spoke very boldly about how we need to deal with Pentagon waste, fraud and abuse; nothing like that is going to happen as long as the defense contractors have friends on both sides of the aisle. So I really think this is the major problem: money in politics.
I pledge to be vocal in defense of workers: Right here in our district, the technology of a local wind turbine company was stolen by its biggest customer, SINOVEL. This was in 2011 and they lost 700 jobs. We just won this case in January; the Department of Justice worked on it for 7 years. It’s historic because it is the first criminal “intellectual property theft” case ever won against a Chinese company in a U.S. Federal Court. What makes me angry is that no Democrat from the House Energy and Commerce Committee said, “Let’s call the CEO and some workers down to Washington for a press briefing to put heat on the Trump administration to get the full $800 million in damages the court found.” Partly because of their dissolute posture, AMSC agreed to a settlement of just pennies on the dollar: $57 million! Whether I win or lose in this race, I pledge to fight for restitution for those cheated workers.
We have a lot of good laws, they are just not enforced very well. And look at the Internal Revenue Service. We keep cutting the staff there while every $.45 you spend on the IRS yields $100 in revenue. Enforcement is also important in the North Korea context: We are actually stopping ships using satellite technology. This means that we are stopping ships that are offloading goods – transferring to other ships while at sea; this deals a devastating blow to sanctions-busting. This is what got Kim Jung Un to the bargaining table – stopping the flow of luxury goods that keep his generals loyal.
The Department of Justice needs to establish a Corporate Crime Database and Annual Report (first introduced in the 112th Congress). Prominent among the crimes to watch and report on are: union-busting – often a form of psychological persecution of union supporters and, also, the refusal of bosses to bargain, even after workers win bargaining rights. Both are addressed in the new ″Workplace Democracy Act,″ recently introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders.