Author Topic: Did Boehner take money from Freedom Industries, responsible for W. Virginia spill?  (Read 637 times)

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Offline flowers

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A report by New Republic alleges that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) received donations from Doug Simmons, vice president of Freedom Industries, the company whose storage facility leaked about 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol into the Elk River, the source of drinking water for 300,000 people in and around Charleston, W.Va.

According to New Republic, a campaign finance filing with the FEC lists “Doug Simons,” an employee of Freedom Industries, as having contributed a total of $5,000 to Boehner’s campaign.

The Boehner donor is believed to be the same person as Doug Simmons, vice president of sales and marketing at Freedom Industries.

Boehner's campaign, according to the report published by New Republic and The Huffington Post, received two separate sums of $2,600 and $2,400 from Doug Simons.

The report has drawn public attention following Boehner’s comments at a press conference on Tuesday in which he opposed calls for stricter environmental regulations, arguing that there are already enough regulations and that Freedom Industries’ chemical leak was the fault of the Obama administration, which he accused of failing to enforce the existing laws.

New Republic said it published the story following a tip from Walter Klapper at Colorado Front Range.

However, after New Republic and The Huffington Post published the story, some questioned the identification of the donor Doug Simons at Freedom Industries with the Freedom Industries executive Doug Simmons.

Elana Schor with Environment & Energy Publishing pointed out the difference in the spelling of the last name of the Boehner donor and the Freedom Industries executive.

The last name of the Boehner donor listed as an employee of Freedom Industries in the FEC filings was spelled "Simons," while the last name of the Freedom Industries executive is spelled "Simmons."

The donor also listed his address as Marion, Ill., while the Freedom Industries is located in Charleston, W.Va.

New Republic reached out to Boehner‘s campaign and Freedom Industries for clarification and comments, but Boehner’s office has declined to comment on the matter since the story was first reported by New Republic on Jan. 14, suggesting that the Speaker has no denials to issue about the identification of donor "Simons" with Freedom Industries executive "Simmons."

After the story about the West Virginia chemical contamination broke, members of the public and US Congress called for improved safety regulations.

But speaking at a press conference, Boehner pooh-poohed the calls for stricter regulations, saying, "The issue is this: We have enough regulations on the books. What the administration ought to be doing is actually doing their jobs. I am entirely confident that there are ample regulations already on the books to protect the health and safety of the American people."

However, the allegation that he received $5,000 in donations from Freedom Industries in July 2013 suggests to critics other reasons for his widely criticized stance on the matter.

It is clear from disclosures by West Virginia authorities that the relevant state laws are inadequate. West Virginia law does not require regulatory inspection of storage facilities such as Freedom Industries'.

Storage facilities are also not required to obtain permits.

Regulatory inspections and permits are mandated only where the facility produces industrial chemicals.

Opinion: Reckoning costs under deregulated capitalism

The glaring inadequacy of West Virginia laws explains why some lawmakers called for stricter regulations.

However, Boehner appeared to believe that stricter safety regulations are "cumbersome" and are "costing the economy jobs."

But what about the cost of the spill that left more than 300,000 people without access to safe drinking water for days?

What about the damage to the environment resulting from contamination with a chemical whose toxicity authorities admit they know very little about and even less how it acts as a pollutant?

Authorities admitted frankly that they have very little information about treatment process to decontaminate the water and what level of the chemical is safe.

The attitude that takes a nearsighted view of corporate profits and economic gain in a deregulated system and ignores the often bigger, sometimes irreversible damages to the environment in the long-term is reflected also in the ongoing heated debate over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Supporters of the pipeline project point to immediately quantifiable economic gains in new jobs and extra tax revenues while blatantly ignoring the long-term costs to the environment that could wipe out all the short-term economic gains.

It seems that for some in the corporate world, greed for profits compels the view of the environment as a magically inexhaustible resource we do not need to charge depreciation costs against in our account books.

Further evidence of the corporate links of Freedom Industries provides insight into the culture of limitless greed behind the West Virginia disaster.

Daily Kos reported that the Freedom Industries has links to the billionaire Koch brothers.

Offline Atomic Cow

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You just knew the Democrats were going to try and find a way to tie this all back to the GOP.
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

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Online Once-Ler

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Frank J. Fleming ‏@IMAO_

You voted to burn down the GOP. Mission Accomplished. Stop pretending you were voting to stop Hillary.

Offline Cincinnatus

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Company involved in W.Va. chemical spill files for Chapter 11

Freedom Industries, the unfortunately named company whose chemical leak contaminated the water supply for parts of West Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday.

The company voted to pursue bankruptcy protection during a voluntary board meeting on Friday, according to WVNS-TV. The Wall Street Journal reports official company papers from the meeting estimate their debt at roughly $10 million, which does not include the impending clean-up costs and lawsuits, which will no doubt be immense...

Much of the initial blame was heaped on Freedom Industries Inc. for the chemical leak. The site where the spill happened not been inspected by state authorities since 1991. Of course, the company now faces federal and state investigations, new oversight from federal regulators, and a mile-high stack of lawsuits. The Journal guesses why the company chose the Chapter 11 route:

Bankruptcy offers Freedom a break from having to answer the suits, some of which demand punitive damages. It also opens the door to court-supervised probes into what led to the disaster, and what resources are available to pay any damages.

Well, that move makes enough sense then. As a legal and business decision, it's pretty much a no-brainer. But it will not be so easy for Freedom Industries to get off the hook with federal authorities. "U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said the filing does not change anything from his perspective, in terms of a federal investigation," WVNS reports.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 05:00:06 PM by Cincinnatus »
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Offline Carling

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Who cares if he did?   :patriot:
Trump has created a cult and looks more and more like Hitler every day.

Offline mountaineer

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Doug Simons/Simmons giving money is not the same - necessarily - as his employer contributing to the campaign. Who blames my employer for any campaign contributions I've made?
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.

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