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Rep. Dingell, Please Get Out of the Way

by: willy mugobeer

Mon Jun 18, 2007 at 17:54:00 PM EDT

Recently at the Monroe County Unity dinner, Debbie Dingell said...

"...Democrats must put the needs of families above the interest of corporations in order for the party to win the 2008 presidential election."

Is anyone else gobsmacked by this irony?  Her husband John is currently carrying massive amounts of water for some of America's biggest corporations (the Big Three) on one of the most important issues facing America these days (fuel economy standards, which are linked to consumers' pocketbooks, global warming, air pollution and national security.)

But you know, Representative Dingell's behavior can be better understood if we consider the following...

willy mugobeer :: Rep. Dingell, Please Get Out of the Way
  • Dingell's top three sources of campaign contributions in the 2005-2006 cycle, and three of his top four sources historically, are employees and PACs affiliated with auto companies: General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Daimler/Chrysler.
  • Debbie Dingell was a lobbyist for GM up until their marriage in 1981.  She is currently vice chair of the General Motors Foundation and executive director of public affairs and community relations for GM; she has been on General Motors' payroll for more than 30 years.

  • After last fall's elections, Dingell hired Dennis Fitzgibbons to be chief of staff to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Fitzgibbons came directly to our government from Daimler-Chrysler, where his principal job was to block Congressional proposals for better fuel efficiency.
  • As of 2005, John and Debbie Dingell owned at least $1.1 million -- possibly a great deal more -- in GM stock, stock options and other assets.  These holdings far outstrip their assets in any other industry or investment class.

None of this is illegal -- but it raises some troubling questions about who John Dingell is really working for.  Statewide, 58% of Michigan residents favor better fuel economy standards for our cars and trucks.  Off-the-shelf technology already exists for American trucks and cars to get much better mileage -- but GM and other automakers are "stuck in reverse," even as their market share drops, gas prices keep going up and consumers' interest in high-mileage vehicles reaches new levels.

In the upcoming debate over fuel economy standards, will Representative Dingell act in the best interests of our nation?  Or will he act according to the wishes of the corporate bosses at GM?

Mr. Dingell needs to step aside and let the forces of change roll on.  As this New York Times editorial points out, he did it before, and our nation is better off as a result.

If you're a resident of MI-15, click here to ask John Dingell to show leadership on this vitally important issue -- or get out of the way.

(adapted from a previous post on the Working Assets blog.)

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