"Sure, Lynne, Come On In," Said Biden To The Shady Lobbyist Who Bundled A Quarter Million Dollars For Him

Yesterday, OklahomaWatch reported that 5 former legislators just joined the ranks of the army of state lobbyists working their former colleagues. The new malefactors are:

Pat Ownbey (R)
Josh Cockroft (R)
Bobby Cleveland (R)
Randy Bass (D)
Katie Henke (R)

"The moves," wrote OklahomaWatch's Trevor Brown, "come as the Oklahoma Ethics Commission has attempted to crack down on the lobbying revolving door at the Capitol by passing rules each of the past two years that would require a two-year “cooling-off period” before former lawmakers can register as lobbyists. The Legislature overruled the Ethics Commission last year by rejecting that proposal. Lawmakers have yet to vote this session on whether to accept or deny the Ethics Commission rule once again."

AOC describes how politicians like Biden, Steny, McCarthy & McTurtle sell their souls to grab power

AOC made the point Tuesday evening that lobbying is usually more about schmoozing and developing a "relationship between the lobbyist and the member of Congress-- the mark-- than about threatening or about outright bribing. She's really saying basically the same thing in her tweets that Biden said in the video up top, although AOC is repulsed by it and is working to shut it down, while Biden's life and career are inexorably tied up with the whole culture of corruption system. Bonus question: Who's been successfully schmoozed the most by more scumbag lobbyists over the last century, Status Quo Joe, McTurtle or Steny Hoyer?

I don't know if he resigned yet but when I started writing this, Jim Beck was still the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner for the State of Georgia. He was elected last year, beating Democrat Janice Laws 1,944,963 (50.4%) to 1,814,499 (47.0%). I'm guessing that Biden says that "lobbyists are bad people" because his brother is a lobbyist for charter schools (and a very bad person). But Beck was also a lobbyist-- for the Georgia Christian Coalition. Yesterday a federal grand jury handed down a 38 count indictment alleging a series of insurance schemes, some of which involved the Georgia Christian Coalition, including $2 million that Beck used to fund his campaign, pay his income taxes and paying his personal credit cards bills.

Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the frauds he committed were all insurance-related and that he "he spent thousands on personal expenses" and earned millions for the schemes. I thought these nuts would have learned from Ralph Reed, another right-wing Georgia lobbyist who used evangelical front operations-- he was the executive director of the Christian Coalition-- to scam millions of dollars. Maybe Beck would have though more carefully about embarking on a life of crime if Reed had been punished for his criminal transgressions.

Ralph Reed and Jim Beck, very typical Republican Christians

At the time of the alleged crimes, which date back to 2013, Beck was the general manager of operations for Georgia Underwriting Association, an insurance association in Suwanee created to provide high-risk property insurance to Georgia homeowners. He allegedly encouraged friends to start companies and send invoices to the Georgia Underwriting Association.

Beck then funneled money to himself through two Carrolton-based companies he controlled, Georgia Christian Coalition and Creative Consultants, the indictment alleges.

It isn’t clear if the friends, who are identified in the indictment only by initials, knew the invoices could’ve been improper.

Thomas said Beck “acted legally and in good faith” in his position at the Georgia Underwriting Association.

...Under state law, if Beck does not resign or ask to be suspended, the governor can act after a 14 day waiting period. If the elected official chooses to remain in office, the governor must appoint a three-person commission to look into the charges and make a determination whether they relate to his duties. The commission has 14 days to make that determination. If they find that they do, the governor must suspend the official and name a temporary replacement.

Beck largely self-bankrolled his GOP primary campaign for insurance commissioner last year, outspending all opposition and winning an overwhelming victory in the May primary. He won despite media reports that noted that, on more than one occasion, he’d held full-time state and private-sector jobs at the same time.

After Beck won the primary, [former insurance commissioner John] Oxendine held a fundraiser for him and the insurance industry started writing his campaign checks. He won a relatively close victory over a Democratic insurance agent in November. Throughout the general election campaign, and after the election, Beck was dogged by rumors that an indictment was imminent.

Down With Tyranny

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