Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Corporations pay for new governors' balls in OH, NV, OK

Inaugural balls, that is.

Newly elected governors are wasting no time collecting even more do-re-mi from their corporate puppetmasters. Corporations are paying for lavish inaugural parties -- and the opportunity to tell the governor how to run the state.

ThinkProgress reports that Ohio Gov. John Kasich's four-day, $1.15 million inaugural party... being bankrolled mostly by “about 130 corporations that gave maximum $10,000 donations apiece.” According to the conservative Cincinnati Enquirer, “many of the top givers” — including automakers, banks, insurers, energy consultants, casinos owners, and major lobbying or law firms — “are likely to benefit from government policies and contracts, or are regulated by state agencies and state law...
Kasich, by the way, blames unions for Ohio's financial woes. That must be a lot more convenient for Kasich than acknowledging Ohio's problems were caused by his former employer, Lehman Bros., which used dubious accounting methods in the run-up to its bankruptcy, which triggered the global financial crisis. 

The Las Vegas Sun tells us that Nevada's new Gov. Brian Sandoval is having an inauguration party sponsored by corporations "with some of the thorniest issues before the Legislature next year." Sandoval's inauguration, writes the Sun,
signifies a re-emergence of sorts for Nevada’s political and business establishment — a group accustomed to shaping public policy to protect its interests.
The mining industry, for example, will fight taxes to pay for better state services. The Las Vegas Gleaner notes (sarcastically) that Sandoval will side with the no-new-taxes crowd:
In his capacity as one of America's most respected economic theorists, Sandoval has repeatedly explained there is one and only one path to prosperity, and that is no new taxes. The magical power of no new taxes will mesmerize businesses the world over, forcing them to abandon whatever education-heavy economically diversified community they've been foolishly inhabiting and high-tail it to Nevada, a place where state government is proudly hailed as America's cheapest. The logic. It's ironclad.
Another pay-to-play governor is Oklahoma's first woman top executive, Mary Fallin. Even her own supporters were cheesed off that corporations got first -- and only -- dibs on tickets for the inaugural ball at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. A long-time financial supporter told Red Dirt Report,
"I've been told by three organizers on the inaugural committee that they sold out (tables) to the corporations before the invitations even went out."
A list of inaugural hosts, underwriters and sponsors reads like a who's who of Oklahoma's corporate world, from the health care industry to railroads to Indian tribes to retail heavyweights, reports Red Dirt Report. The donor who obtained the list said Fallin "certainly knows who is buttering her bread."

It's going to be a long four years in Ohio, Nevada and Oklahoma.