Saturday, February 04, 2006

ohio 1, 2 punch

there was a piece in one of the weekly news mags recently about the possible scope of the abramoff lobbying scandal and who might rise from the ashes amid the republican reshuffle... it looks like the winner is... Ohio Rep. John Boehner, a real ironic choice for majority leader to replace DeLay, given Boehner's similarly scandalous proclivity toward campaign contributions. outside of lavish trips and beachfront parties for high donors, he's got Sallie Mae on his rolodex, and as a member of the House's Education and Workforce committee, he is called "the rep from Sallie Mae." (Borosage, GOP's Pre-owned leader,

Borosage's article continues:

"Sallie Mae is the leading provider of loans to college students and their parents, and Boehner has consolidated his leadership by dispensing big bucks raised from lenders in campaign and party contributions. In fact, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that Sallie Mae is the biggest donor to Boehner's political action committee, called Freedom Project. In return, he protects their interest. Most recently, he helped develop and push through legislation that may weaken the loan industry’s competition — the Direct Student Loan program, where students bypass Sallie Mae and others and borrow directly from the government. While taking it to their competition, Boehner openly reassured bankers that they would not be harmed greatly by this legislation — as reported in the Chronicle of Education — he informed a group of bankers that they could rest easy in his “trusted hands.”

"College tuition is soaring, and grant levels aren’t keeping up. Under Boehner’s leadership, Congress has refused to raise the top level of Pell grants, despite repeated campaign pledges by George W. Bush to do so. As a result, more and more students have to work part time, while taking on ever greater levels of debt to pay for college. Already, hundreds of thousands are having college priced out of reach; thousands more drop out, unable to sustain the burden of classes and work and debt. And those that do make it will find the difficult burden of paying of those loans just got harder."

and what could be worse?
How about House Bill 3, Ohio's answer to "election reform?" Some of the highlights from Columbus LPOV:
  • require all voters to show an ID when they vote. This will disenfranchise a very targeted 10 to 20% of Ohio voters, with African Americans, college students, the elderly, and the homeless being hit the hardest.

  • open voter registration activists to prosecution making it virtually impossible for groups to register large numbers of voters

  • exempt electronic voting machines from public scrutiny

  • quintuple the cost of citizen-requested statewide recounts

  • make it illegal to challenge a presidential vote count in the state of Ohio

  • create 14 different situations that would bar a voter from voting on a machine. Instead, those voters would be required to cast provisional ballots. In 2004, at least 22% of Ohio's provisional ballots were thrown out.
Read the full text of HB3 here


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