Takes Aim at Top Democrat Daschle For Corrupt Ties to Big Business
Armed with a soft-spoken demeanor and down-home populist charm, few would suspect what Judicial Watch knows to be true about Senator Tom Daschle that he is among the most corrupt and ruthless politicians in Washington. (Remember, it was Daschle who led the Democrat effort to prevent Clinton from being removed from office by the Senate.) Now, with his recent rantings against the Bush Administration for its close ties to big business, the word hypocritical can be added to the list.
While most politicians find themselves securely in the back pocket of one special interest or another, Daschle has extra incentive to “play nice” with corporate America. Not only do corporate donations fuel his election efforts, but also, his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, is one of Washington’s most powerful lobbyists on behalf of corporate interests, counting American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Schering-Plough among her high profile corporate clients. In other words, both the Daschle family budget and campaign budget depend heavily on the success of big business.
All of this would be enough cause for concern, without even considering the legacy of corruption and conflict of interest that have characterized the Senator¹s career. Consider the following:
* Linda Daschle’s client, American Airlines, has lobbied for years to water down safety and security regulations that might have helped foil the World Trade Center attacks. Further, with the support of both Tom and Linda Daschle, the company received a whopping $583 million taxpayer bailout in the wake of September 11.
* As reported on CBS 60 Minutes, Tom Daschle was charged with inappropriately intervening to reduce safety inspections of an air-charter company owned by a family friend after one of the planes crashed in 1994, killing four. While at the FAA, Linda Daschle acted to exempt the friend’s airline from intensified safety inspections.
* Linda Daschle’s client, Boeing, is attempting to strike a sweetheart deal to lease 100 aircraft to the U.S. military. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the lease plan will cost taxpayers $37 billion, while outright buying the planes would only cost $25 billion. Tom Daschle will be responsible for scheduling a vote on the bill.
* The FAA is forced to buy baggage scanners from one of Linda Daschle’s clients, L-3 International, according to the 2000 transportation budget, despite the fact that the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General from the Transportation Department found the equipment to be substandard, some even leaking radiation. The inspector general told Congress that the FAA’s requirement to buy L-3’s machines is one reason airports will not be able to meet the new mandate to screen all luggage for bombs for many years, placing Americans seriously at further risk.
* The air transport industry donated more than $100,000 to Daschle’s campaign in the last election cycle. Linda Daschle’s client, Northwest Airlines, is the second largest contributor to the Senator¹s campaign in 1998.
* Linda Daschle was recently cited in an FAA report for failing to enforce a “zero tolerance” policy she announced in 1996 while Deputy Director of the FAA against violent airline passengers a pledge that some say could have prevented the 9/11 terrorist hijackings. “Watching Tom Daschle rail against President Bush for corporate ties is a lot like watching a Bill Clinton speech on sexual harassment,” said JW Chairman Larry Klayman. “He has no credibility on this issue.”
JW has filed FOIA requests with the FAA to uncover Linda Daschle’s role in the selection of the faulty L-3 bomb detecting equipment prior to September 11 and to uncover Senator Daschle’s role as well. JW is now in court to try to force the release of these documents. Once obtained, JW will consider legal action against the Daschles.