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Friday, February 20, 2009

Concrete bandits are stimulus package profiteers

Many industries will pocket billions from Obama's stimulus bill, but my Examiner column today focuses on the cement industry:

With so much new business at stake, it’s no wonder the cement lobby ramped up its efforts. As of last year, the PCA was already spending $1.4 million per year on lobbying with a team that includes former assistant secretary of Energy John Shaw, and Chad Bradley, the former chief of staff for Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-OK, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW).

This year, the day after the new Congress was sworn in, the PCA hired lobbyist Edmund Graber, specifically to lobby on the stimulus bill. Graber is a prolific political donor, in this last cycle lining the pockets of 23 lawmakers, including all the crucial infrastructure lawmakers. Of course, PCA also has its own political action committee.

Between PCA’s lobbyists, employees, and PAC, politicians brought in $128,600 in the last election alone. Recipients among EPW members include Inhofe and chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-CA, and a top Senate appropriator, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL. And this is just the trade association. PCA’s members—the cement companies themselves—have their own lobbyists, PACs, and employees who fund politicians’ campaigns.

Read the whole thing here.

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