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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Daily Political Wire 3-31-2010

George Wenschhof

Today, President Barack Obama will announce the lifting of the moratorium on offshore drilling -
he will make the announcement at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The NY Times has more here. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be with him to discuss the details of drilling which will now be allowed along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf coast and the north coast of Alaska.

An announcement that is sure to please conservatives and the oil companies, but anger liberals. Offshore drilling has major environmental impacts and the time frame from exploratory drilling to producing oil is decades. Research and development on alternative sources of energy over the same time frame would be more effective for future generations of Americans.


U.S. 35 Billion contract for air refueling tankers of concern to French President Nicolas Sarkozy -
seems there was more to his visit with President Obama than just discussing future sanctions on Iran and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. has more here.

He also wanted assurances the Pentagon bidding process would be fair and if so, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (EADS) would participate.

This is the same bid that drove Senator Richard Shelby (R-Al.) to block 70 Obama appointees from confirmation in the Senate. Northrup Grumman, who was in the bidding process and has since dropped out, happened to have a manufacturing facility in Alabama.

EADS was in the bidding previously with Northrup Grumman and is considering whether to compete with U.S. company; Boeing.


Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) predicts campaign finance reform bill will be passed prior to elections this Fall -
he along with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) will introduce a bill in April that will offset the unlimited campaign contributions afforded to corporations as a result of the recent Supreme Court "Citizens united' decision. has more here


Steele under fire for high rolling RNC expenses -
the staffer who was fired as as result of a nearly $2000 reimbursed expense at a "Bondage club", merely took the hit for what has been quite a comfortable ride for the RNC chair Michael Steele. has more here.

A GOP consultant has agreed to repay the $2,000 he received. Interestingly, the same consultant has been receiving funds from the GOP for services rendered. Why fire a low level staffer who submits the reimbursement request from a GOP consultant? The consultant, Erik Brown is who should be fired.

While the GOP is at it, suggesting to Michael Steele that he resign would be a good thing. At a time when many Americans are out of work and many more are doing what they can to make ends meet, the private jets, the limos, and the luxury resort stays by Michael Steele is not helping the Republicans with their image prior to the important mid term elections.

The unseemly, but legal use of political funds for personal use goes back to when it was reported Michael Steele was receiving a salary from campaign funds while running for Lt. Governor in Maryland in 2002. He would serve one term with Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich before being defeated by the present Governor of Maryland; Democrat Martin O'Malley.

Hey, if Steele resigned as RNC chair, he could team up once again with Ehrlich who recently announced he will challenge Martin O'Malley for governor in this year's election. Ehrlich's campaign war chest is a little light however, doubtful the private limos and luxury resorts stays would be available to Steele.


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