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Friday, September 30, 2016

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica

In January, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) ascended to the powerful chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee. Six weeks later, campaign finance filings and interviews show, Hensarling was joined by representatives of the banking industry for a ski vacation fundraiser at a posh Park City, Utah, resort.

The congressman’s political action committee held the fundraiser at the St. Regis Deer Valley, the “Ritz-Carlton of ski resortsknown for its “white-glove service” and for its restaurant, helmed by superstar chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

There’s no evidence the fundraiser broke any campaign finance rules. But a ski getaway with Hensarling, whose committee oversees both Wall Street and its regulators, is an invaluable opportunity for industry lobbyists.

Among those attending the weekend getaway was an official from the American Securitization Forum, a Wall Street industry group, a spokesman confirmed. It gave $2,500 in February to Hensarling’s political action committee, the Jobs, Economy, and Budget (JEB) Fund.

Len Wolfson, a lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association — which gave the JEB Fund $5,000 that month — posted a picture on Instagram from the weekend of the fundraiser, of the funicular at the St. Regis. (It was labeled, “Putting the #fun in #funicular. #stregis #deervalley #utah.”) Wolfson did not respond to requests for comment.

Visa, which gave the JEB Fund $5,000, also sent an official. A Visa spokesman told ProPublica that in attendance were not just finance companies, but also big retailers and others.

Hensarling, a protégé of former Texas senator and famed deregulator Phil Gramm, has a mixed record regarding Wall Street. While he has been critical of “too big to fail” banks and voted against the 2008 bailout, Hensarling recently said he opposed downsizing big banks, according to Bloomberg. That stance matters now more than ever as a bipartisan duo in the Senate, David Vitter (R-LA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), introduced a bill last week seeking to constrain the too-big-to-fail institutions. While the bill is considered a longshot, it has provoked intense opposition from the industry.

Meanwhile, Hensarling recently barred the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from appearing before the House Financial Services Committee, citing a legal cloud over recess appointments made by President Obama.

Whatever his stance on the industry, Hensarling has been more than happy to court Wall Street’s money.

Donors working in various financial industries are Hensarling’s biggest supporters, giving him over $1 million in the last election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The congressman’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Others donating to Hensarling’s JEB Fund around the time of the Utah ski weekend: Capital One, Credit Suisse, PricewaterhouseCoopers, MasterCard, UBS, US Bank, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, Koch Industries (which is involved in sundry financial trading), the National Pawnbrokers Association, and payday lenders Cash America International and CheckSmart Financial. All either declined to comment or did not respond to requests.

  • docb

    It is definitely time for a FEC investigation and public skewering of this scam of a politician…a texas crook for sure!

  • Sand_Cat

    “There’s no evidence the fundraiser broke any campaign finance rules.”

    One of the greatest threats to the liberty and security of middle-class and poor people in one simple sentence.

    • You are right. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that most congressional rules and many of our policies are designed to protect the rich and powerful at the expense of the general populace and that, sometimes, they allow transgressions by elected officials and the elite that would put most of us in jail.

  • adler56

    hensarling is a typical pos repugnant.

    • GreginPottsville

      Adler, when the national memo is described as left-wing by Wikipedia, wow, you are really freaking left wing then. These are your people here Adler, all left-wing nut cases. No wonder you are so out of touch. The other day you said I was lying when I said people on food stamps and disability is at an all-time high and you had no clue what I was talking about and was stupid enough to call me a liar. Now I know why. I see where you get your low-info from.

      • Independent1

        Are you that clueless?? The reason food stamp usage and welfare sucking is at an all time high is because of the nitwits in Red States that have cut budgets and state services during a recession which has thrown millions of RED STATE residents out of work and onto food stamps and welfare. And these nitwit Red State legislators are going around bragging about balancing their budgets on the backs of their own citizens – and only a few of them are worse than TEXAS – one of the biggest welfare sucking states in the nation!!! Not only that but 8 of the ten states with the most residents living below the poverty level are all, you guessed it: RED STATES!!

        More than 70% of food stamp users are in RED STATES and 15 of the 20 states that suck the most welfare dollars for the taxes they pay are all RED STATES (many of the Red States getting 2 plus dollars back for ever $1 they pay in taxes!!!) Whereas, it’s actually 8 BLUE STATES that pay the most taxes in America and get the least welfare dollars back for the taxes they pay; these 8 Blue (liberal) States are basically supporting the country. Wake up and realize that it’s the GOP that’s destroying the country!!!

        • GreginPottsville

          Wake up and see who is in power!!! (oh, sorry about the link below, seems to contradict you a bit)
          http://www.cnbc.com/id/31910310

          Try that link, get your facts straight, then get back to me.

          One question, if the 8 blue states you say are supporting the country, who is supporting California?

          PS, CNBC is hardly a right wing source.

          Why are most liberals so venomous and hate filled?

          • Independent1

            Here’s a list of the 21 states that have 15% or more of their residents living at or below the poverty level. You’ll note that the 1st 15 states are RED STATES, and I’m counting NM and MI as Red States because they’re run by a GOP governor and legislature, and that of the 21 states with 15% or more of their residents living at or below the poverty level, only 2 are clearly Blue States (CA and NY); there are two battle ground states on the list: FL and OH. Here’s the list:

            States with 15% or more of their Residents living in Poverty as of 2010
            R -Mississippi/22.7%
            R-Louisiana/21.6%
            R-Georgia/18.7%
            R-Arizona/18.6%
            R-New Mexico/18/6%
            R-Texas/18.4%
            R-Kentucky/17.7%
            R-N. Carolina/17.4%
            R-Alabama/17.3%
            R-S. Carolina/17.0%
            R-W. Virginia/16.9%
            R-Tennessee/16.5%
            R-Nevada/16.4%
            R-Indiana/16/3%
            R-Oklahoma/16.3%
            B-California/16.3%
            BA-Florida/16.0%
            B-New York/16.0%
            R-Arkansas/15.5%
            R-Michigan/15.5%
            BA-Ohio/15.3%

        • GreginPottsville
          • Independent1

            I don’t think you’re comparing the same thing – my comment was on Welfare, or federal funding, per the amount of tax dollars paid, in other words, the contribution that states are making toward keeping the country running. I did notice I was using a little older table, so here’s some stats from Mother Jones that’s more recent – 2011; which still shows that 8 out of thet ten states drawing the most federal funding/dollar of taxes paid are GOP run RED STATES:

            Dollars in Federal Funding per Dollar of Taxes paid (2011)

            1. New Mexico / $2.63 (Gop run)
            2. West Virginia /$ 2.57
            3. Mississippi/$ 2.47
            4. Hawaii/$ 2.38
            5. Alabama /$2.03
            6. Alaska/$1.93
            7. Montana/$192
            8. S. Carolina/$1.92
            9. Maine/$178
            10. Louisiana/$1.75

            Red states were more likely to get a bigger cut of federal spending. Of the 22 states that went to McCain in 2008, 86 percent received more federal spending than they paid in taxes in 2010. In contrast, 55 percent of the states that went to Obama received more federal spending than they paid in taxes. Republican states, on average, received $1.46 in federal spending for every tax dollar paid; Democratic states, on average, received $1.16.

          • Independent1

            Why are liberals so venomous and hate filled?? Wow!! You must not post much on Yahoo news where virtuall every Conservative spews a steady stream of off-handed, snide, hateful remarks about liberals and for opposite reasons: Conservatives spew hateful remarks because liberals are trying to do things today that help the people and the country, while it’s clear that the GOP is nothing but the American version of the Italian Mafia – doing everything it can to steal taxpayers blind so they can stuff as much money as possible in their pockets and the pockets of the rich donors that keep them in power where they can steal even more money. Wake up!!! Where do you think a lot of those federal welfare dollars are going to all these red states??? Into the pockets of the GOP rulers!!!! and their cronies!!!

          • GreginPottsville

            If you have so much evidence, why are you complaining here? Contact the AG office in each state and present the crimes you are so sure are committed. Stop being a keyboard coward and do something.

          • Independent1

            Greg, sure wish I could turn these crooks in that people vote into office – unfortunately, the way things have been going the past 30 years or so, it’s like they have totally immunnity to rob us (the taxpayers) blind. Why do you suppost Bush and Cheney were planning an attack on Iraq within the first months of taking office back in 2000? And why they actually went ahead with the war on Iraq by ignoring evidence from the CIA that there were no WMD’s in a Iraq and instead based the war on lies and distortions; and then just by happenstance gave no bid contracts to Haliburton (the company Cheney had just headed) and several other defense industry side contractors that Bush and Cheney had ties with??? Why do you suppose that took place?? It was an intentional set up (actually planned before the elections even took place) to allow these companies to pocket billions of taxpayer dollars by, for example, Haliburton deliberately overcharging for things like gasoline for jeeps and other vehicles at $100/gal (yup! they were caught doing that); and just the fact that something like 8 billion or much more of reconstruction money just ‘disappeared”. You can call it what you will – I call it robbing the taxpayers blind. And even just with the GOP constantly trying to pass legislation that grants billions in subsidies to oil companies that are earning billions in profits and not paying zero taxes on those profits – what else can you call that but robbing the taxpayers blind??? And what makes it even worse is that the GOP Houses wastes millions voting for bills they know are dead in the water and will never get through the Senate – they estimate that when you factor in everything that it takes to run a vote of the House reps it costs over 1 million dollars/bill voted on. They’ve voted more than 33 times to repeal Obamacare knowing full well the votes were a wasted of time and waste of around 50 million dollars.

          • GreginPottsville

            At least Republicans put up a vote to repeal Obamacare. Dems hate it but are stuck with it.

            You can let Russia, France, the UK and Germany know that their intelligence was either wrong or they just lied to line Cheney’s pockets. You liberals really can fantasize, I will give you that.

            I hear from nutcases like you all the time. Good thing nobody takes you seriously, except maybe terrorists.

            I am sure all the tax money you pay in is going to some good, somewhere. My guess is you work for some liberal (choke) non profit. Me, I’d rather give to charities.

            Oh, PS, I think the CIA was the agency that concluded Iraq had WMD’s. So, by your logic, if the Bush administration ignored the intelligence, there would not have been a war. But hey, you can live in your fantasy land.

          • Independent1

            Sorry Greg, my fantasy land is real. And Bush knew that Iraq did not have WMD’s; here’s an article from back in 2002 that says that George Tenet (who was head of the CIA) told him that Iraq did not have WMDs but because Bush refused to believe it because he was hellbent on starting a war with Iraq so he could fulfill his vendetta against Saddam for trying to kill his Dad at the end of the 1st Gulf War; and so both he and Cheney could benefit from the raping of American taxpayers by the defense industry – he refused to believe it – so as it says here, Tenet figured it was a lost cause and never brought the subject up again (knowing that after 7 warnings Bush refused to believe that bin Laden was going to attack the homeland):

            On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior IA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam’s inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again. Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD.

            No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.

            On April 23, 2006, CBS’s “60 Minutes” interviewed Tyler Drumheller, the former CIA chief of clandestine operations for Europe, who disclosed that the agency had received documentary intelligence from Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, that Saddam did not have WMD. “We continued to validate him the whole way through,” said Drumheller. “The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy.”

            And so it’s okay with you that the GOP just wastes millions of dollars voting on nonsense legislaltion!!! Wow!! No wonder you GOP lovers are so weird – pretend to care about fiscal conservancy but throw away money for no good reason!!!!

        • sigrid28

          This is a great post.

          • Independent1

            Sigrid, you may have gotten a post I intended for Pottsville – Sorry!! Guess I clicked on the wrong reply button.

          • sigrid28

            No problem. It’s as if we are sitting around a big table at a favorite coffee shop in a small town. A little blowback is the price of keeping political discourse alive.

        • old_blu

          Thank you Independent you have made a great comment my friend, too bad I didn’t see it until two days later, I’m getting slow. I love it when you let them have it with facts. (I just get my easy chair and popcorn and watch)

          • Independent1

            Good morning old-blu!! Thanks for the encouragement! It’s a pretty day here in Maine – hope it’s nice where you are too. I see that some places in the midwest are still getting winter weather. Hopefully that won’t last much longer for them.

          • GreginPottsville

            I am jealous. I love Maine. Beautiful state. Haven’t been there in nearly a decade. Might be time to take a drive up.

      • adler56

        You are a lying pos.

      • Guest

        Many people that get foodstamps are also working. Their jobs are either parttime or only pay minium wage or both. Walmart one of the biggest companies in the US is only hiring people part time and are advising them to apply for food stamps so they can feed their famililies. Unfortunely in most small counties in the Red states Walmart is the only big Company there so there are not other places to apply for better paying jobs. By the way there is no such thing nowdays as better paying jobs, people are still being paid the same salaries they have drawn for the last 20 years while the Companies and their owners get richer, the working man gets poorer.

        • GreginPottsville

          Oh I agree. The only people getting raises are those in government or a union (or both). The rest of us pay for those raises.

      • Independent1

        Texas is probably one of the key Red States. Let me give you some stats on just how much in disrepair this shinning example of GOP mismanagement is:

        Texas is 49th in the country in tax revenues collected per capita and 50th in revenues spent.·
        .It’s 44th in tax progressivity, which means it collects most of its taxes from working people and it comes in 50th in the percent of its population that have a HS diploma.
        .It ranks 46th in the overall SAT scores it’s students get on entrance exams; and 49th in what it pays its teachers.
        .It ranks dead last (50th) in having the most people without health insurance and also dead last in the number of children covered by insurance.
        .Its 49th in the support it provides to women & children in the WIC
        program, and it leads the nation in teenage births.
        .It ranks 8th in the nation in the number of people living in poverty and 50th with regard to the affordability of homeowners insurance.
        .Texas ranks 45th in the overall health of its population and 47th
        with respect to mental health.
        .The quality of the highways in Texas is ranked 42nd and its parks and recreation facilities are ranked 48th and environmental protection 46th
        . Police protection is ranked 49th and government administration 50th.
        .Texas comes in 3rd in the nation in the number of public officials that are convicted for a crime; while being dead last in the percent of voters who turn out for elections.
        .It’s 46th in the hourly earnings of its workers and 48th in the payout of
        worker’s comp benefits.
        .And Texas ranks as having the most polluted environment in the nation because of its many oil spills and the smoke spewed from its refineries.

  • AlfredSonny

    I hear that these fat cats and their Republican puppets, especially Hensarling, are homeless and need several more mansions. My heart bleeds for them.

  • David Turrentine

    This hypocrit represents my Congressional District. He believes that the only people who count are the superwealthy. No One else counts in his opinion and he does not listen to differing viewpoints. he is a sorry SOB

    • sigrid28

      He may be a skondrel, but the problem with that is, he’s pulling our economy around by the ear. Part of getting rid of him and his kind has to do with savvy voters in your district, like yourself, working to vote him out of office. Another part of it, has to do with Democrats taking over the House and holding the Senate in 2014, to remove him from his seat as Chair of the House Finance Committee, which is certainly a case, if ever there was one, of the fox “guarding” the chicken coop. Finally, we need more substantive articles in the NM like this one by Justin Elliott.

  • midway54

    Just another rightwing clown sent to the House by the Loon Star State. The article reports that his mentor is Phil Gramm…well, now,that figures. Behind him in the photo is none other than Mike Pence, mercifully no longer in the House but now governor of Indiana, which has become even more a political peninsula extending northward from Dupedom South.

    • I was raised in texas and enjoyed it I did however move when bush was eleted governor. The state has great potential and many people with wonderful abilities and attitude unfortunately all we hear about is these people who bought their elections Can we say term limits?

      • GreginPottsville

        Yep, that is the American way. When you are so brainwashed by the left, pack mini van, put the kids in, tell the husband to put the for sale sign in the yard, and go to wherever you can find a Democratic Governor.

        Wait, liberal women typically aren’t married. My bad.

        • Independent1

          Greg, you talk like there’s something about Conservative run states that makes them something to be proud of; sorry but I find the current GOP run states to be just the opposite: something to run away from. Rick Perry would like us to believe that Texas is just a shining example of all that’s great about Conservative governorship. Well here are some facts about Texas – you be the judge:

          ·
          Texas is 49th in the country in tax revenues collected per capita and 50th in revenues spent.

          .It’s 44th in tax progressivity, which means it collects most of its taxes from working people and it comes in 50th in the percent of its population that have a HS diploma.

          It ranks 46th in the overall SAT scores it’s students get on entrance exams; and 49th in what it pays its teachers.

          .It ranks dead last (50th) in having the most people without health insurance and also dead last in the number of children covered by insurance.

          .Its 49th in the support it provides to women & children in the WIC program, and it leads the nation in teenage births.

          .It ranks 3rd in the nation in the number of people living in poverty and 50th with regard to the affordability of homeowners insurance.
          ·
          Texas ranks 45th in the overall health of its population and 47th with respect to mental health.

          The quality of the highways in Texas is ranked 42nd and its parks and recreation facilities are ranked 48th and environmental protection 46th

          . Police protection is ranked 49th and government administration 50th.

          .Texas comes in 3rd in the nation in the number of public officials that are convicted for a crime; while being dead last in the percent of voters who turnout for elections.

          .It’s 46th in the hourly earnings of its workers and 48th in the payout of worker’s comp benefits.

          .And Texas ranks as having the most polluted environment in the nation because of its many oil spills and the dirty smoke emitted by its many refineries..

          By what other measure does Texas have to turn up close to last before people realize that by moving there they’re simply moving to what is really the cesspool of the nation. And I’m also amazed, that with a dismal record like the above, Rick Perry would even consider running for president of the US???

  • Pamby50

    Another Tom Delay. Time to have him investigated.

    • GreginPottsville

      Yeppers. If you got evidence, don’t be a coward. Call the AG office and lay out your case detective.

  • The Republican equivocation points to political trickery. It is sad to have a party that is opposed to Obama and the majority of Americans.

  • charleo1

    It seems to me, the problems we are having in this Country today, are
    not caused by wealthy people, or corporations paying too much in
    taxes. Or, because rank, and file labor is making too much money, or
    that Americans have become lazy, and their production levels have fallen.
    There is, however, this unhealthy competition of States, to entice the
    various corporations to locate with them. There is this mentality, that
    look, we’re not union here. We have strong, Right to Work Laws. And,
    we believe in rock bottom business taxes. And we understand a business
    like yours, has a lot of trouble with the EPA. We stand on State Rights here.
    And, have an Attorney General, that’s used to going up aganist the Federal
    Government, and their environmental wackos. Now, we know you guys are
    used to getting generous subsidies. And you won’t find a better package than
    we have right here. But, we go one better! We have what we call our pathway,
    to prosperity. Which eliminates taxes for the first 10 years, and doubles the
    incentive package, where your company can have 100% of it’s start up costs,
    paid for by a non-taxable stipend. Here’s the payout to corporations last year.
    Nice eh? We’re working very hard on a bill that would cut in half our State’s
    payments to Medicaid, and WIC. With the Federal Government making up most
    of the difference there. So, we will have even more money freed up for incentives
    to business in the next 5 years.

    • Independent1

      Charle, so on top of 300 of the Fortune 500 companies paying no Fed Taxes each year, states are also offering these crooks no state taxes either. Wow!! what a bonanza. No wonder they have so much free money that they can pour millions into boondoggles like Citizens United in order to keep their government lackies working for them!! It boggles my mind that the charlatans who run many of America’s corporations today and even sleep at night knowing full well that they’re doing nothing but scamming their fellow citizens; millions of whom struggle every day just to survive in todays ultra corrupt world. Apparently, long gone is any sense within the business community of playing the game FAIRLY (and that includes paying what anyone with common sense knows is paying your fair share of keeping our country running).

      • charleo1

        You’re exactly right. And on the Right, it’s all about blaming
        the poor, and deifying the wealthy. And the richer they are,
        the more they are worshiped. If they hallow out the consumer
        class here, to build one in Asia. That would be because, we
        failed them. We meaning the 47%. We meaning, the Govt.
        and taxes, and regulations. And workers expecting a living
        wage, and healthcare, and opportunities. It is us. With our
        constant concerns with the environment, or poverty, and
        our turning to the government for answers. After the job
        creators, the sources of all wealth, the creators of all financial,
        life, have said no. How can we blame the creators, the
        advocates’ case proceeds. When it was us, and our feelings of entitlement to their money, to their wealth, that have driven them
        out of the Country? That is their moral case for impoverishing this Country. And it’s what keeps the radicals, and Right Wing, extremist, hot, red faced, and verily seething with anger. That we are, in
        our calls, demanding parity, and fairness, disrespecting their God.

  • amazing can okay without signing in but when I disagreed with gregin pottsvile it required me to sign in to disagree. Hmmmm wonder if that censorship?