Welcome to Part 2 of our series on Jim Clyburn: Congressman For Sale . Yesterday, we showed how 97% of Clyburn's donation came from outisde his own district. While it says a lot, even we will admit that many politicians in DC raise most of their money outside of their district. Maybe not to the extent that Clyburn does, but we'll cut him some slack on that. Our next installment will not be so forgiving.....
We know that Democrats live off of the donations from every union in America, and that most major companies have PAC's that pay every man and woman in DC. However, when there are examples of quid pro quo , where corporations that have NEVER donated to someone suddenly do so, then get a major government related contract, questions need to be asked. And we found a few of them...
This is a Fredricksburg, Va (read, DC Area) based development company, who after never having given a dollar to Clyburn, donated $10,000 last year. Silver Companies now has approval for Bella Vita, a large planned community near Hwy 501 and Carolina Bays Pkwy in Myrtle Beach. Why? We're not 100% sure on this one, but with Clyburn's ties to Burroughs & Chapin, there leaves some room for speculation..
GMK is a Columbia-based architechtural firm , specializing in university related construction. Among the places they have worked on is the Koger Center, USC, Clemson, College of Charleston, MUSC, Francis Marion University and USC-Aiken. Where is the tie-in? Well, after sereptisously adding SC State onto the TEA-21 Highway Bill for the James Clyburn School of Transportation, there is going to be a lot of cash flying around the Orangeburg campus, and GMK wants their share. On May 20, 2007, nine members of the GMK management all donated $1000 each to Clyburn - and with the exception of CEO Bruce Barragan, who donated to Clyburn once in 1998, none of them have EVER donated to a candidate on any federal level.
This group makes up 16% of all the total 6th District donations for Clyburn, all on the same day. Did they all suddenly realize Clyburn was a great man worthy of their money at the same time? I doubt it... This is an old-fashioned grease job, and the money we are talking about is not small potatoes. GMK is currently working on 21 projects totalling over $200 million.
Unless you are blind, connecting the dots on this one is easy. Clyburn and the Dallas, TX company go way back. Fluor is an engineering, construction and maintenance services company. Clyburn used them to pad the info on his Bridge to Nowhere feasibility study. If I made bridges, I suppose I'd say that they needed a bridge too. But that was nothing compared to what they got this year.
Flour Corporation is Clyburn's Number 1 donor, having donated over $20,000 to his campaign to date. In January of this year, Flour won a US Dept. of Energy contract to manage and operate the Savannah River Nuclear Site for the next five years, with a series of renewals that could double the contract. The amount of the contract? A guaranteed $4 Billion dollars, and double that if the full contract is extended. That is one hell of a return on investment, don't you think?
Even though SRS isn't in his district, we know that Clyburn is a huge supporter of SRS - and the directors at SRS definitely pay him back in donations. However, when a corporation suddenly skyrockets to being your top donor, and then they get a multi-billion dollar contract, it's a clear sign that something is rotten in Denmark. Is Fluor the best guy for the job? I don't know. Could someone else have done it? Probably. But why bother with the donations? Voters will have no problem with their Congressman coming out and saying "I support these guys, we need them, and I'll do whatever I can to help them." Just leave the money out.
Clearly, something is broken with Clyburn, and with Washington in general. If the companies could just keep themselves from trying to buy off Congress - and if politicians would just NOT TAKE THE MONEY - we might believe that peole like Clyburn are for sale.....
Coming up next... Part 3: Who is Fulbright & Jaworski, and what do they want?