Monday, August 4, 2008

Pay to Play

In 1959, when deejay Phil Lind of Chicago's WAIT revealed that he had accepted $22,000 in exchange for playing a record, his life was threatened and he had to get police protection.

On June 16, 2008, John McCain flipped his flop on off-shore drilling, a prospect he once opposed.

On June 24, 2008, he received a nice, "Thanks for playing our record!" gratuity from the Hess oil family, to the tune of over $256,000:

J. Barclay CollinsHess Corp. Attorney$28,50019-Jun
John B. HessHess Corp.Executive$28,50024-Jun
Susan K. HessHomemaker$28,50024-Jun
Norma W. HessRetired$28,50024-Jun
John J. O'ConnorHess Corp. Executive$28,50024-Jun
Lawrence OrnsteinHess Corp. Senior VP$28,50024-Jun
John ReillyHess Corp. Executive$28,50024-Jun
Alice RocchioHess Corp. Office Manager$28,50024-Jun
John ScelfoHess Corp. Senior VP of Finance$28,50024-Jun
F. Borden WalkerHess Corp. Businessman$28,50024-Jun
table from TPM

That's a nice little thank you, if you ask me. (As a side note: Wow! That's one grateful office manager--either that or Hess pays it's office managers a little bit more than average.) As Paul Krugman notes,
A McCain campaign ad says that gas prices are high right now because “some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America.” That’s just plain dishonest: the U.S. government’s own Energy Information Administration says that removing restrictions on offshore drilling wouldn’t lead to any additional domestic oil production until 2017, and that even at its peak the extra production would have an “insignificant” impact on oil prices.
Still, if you drill, you get paid. Considering the profits reaped by oil companies, $285,000 is an insultingly small tip.

I'd be pissed, too, John.

UPDATE: From TPM, it turns out that ol' Alice the Office Manager was joined in her largesse by her husband Pasquale, a track foreman for Amtrak. The couple rent their home in Flushing, Queens, where the median household income is $58,069. The two also maxed out their yearly single-candidate limit at $2,300 each. For those of you counting at home, that's $61,600 in campaign contributions this year alone from an office manager and a track foreman. My friends, it would seem I am in the wrong industry.

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