Monday, December 21, 2009

'Sensenbrenner not a crook -- just a dumb jerk'

I've heard of damning with faint praise, but this Capital Times editorial defending Sensenbrenner's honor takes it to a new level.

"Jim Sensenbrenner's probably not a crook," the headline says, leaving the dooor open a crack.

The "defense" of Sensenbrenner against a claim by the Shepherd-Express concludes:

The congressman has been on the wrong side of science, the law and common sense more times than anyone can count — on issues ranging from global warming to civil liberties to immigration reform.

That may make him a jerk — indeed, his record suggests that, rather than a “jerk of the week,” Sensenbrenner is a more a “jerk of the year” or “jerk of the decade.”

But he is not necessarily a crook who has been bought by the special interests.

It may well be that the congressman simply is not the sharpest tack in the box.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Rules or no rules, Sensenbrenner still flying high

The House of Representatives can pass all the stinking rules it wants, but nothing's going to get in between Jim Sensenbrenner and a free junket.

That's the message in today's New York Times story, where Sensenbrenner gets top billing in the top story on page one:
WASHINGTON — Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican, toured a prince’s vineyard and castle in Liechtenstein and spent an afternoon at a ski resort in the Alps — all at the expense of a group of European companies.
Sensenbrenner has long been at or near the top of the Freddy Freeloader list of Congressional members taking trips at anybody's expense but their own. Even though he is a multi-millionaire, he's a tightwad looking for every freebie he can scarf up.

The House has tried to crack down on the practice of flying at lobbyists' expense (it looks unseemly), but left more than enough loopholes in the law for Big Jim and his wife to fly right through. More from the Times:
While lobbyists are not supposed to pay for a lawmaker’s travel, for example, Mr. Sensenbrenner’s $14,708 trip to Liechtenstein and Germany in 2009 was organized by a nonprofit group whose president is a lobbyist. It was underwritten by European companies that, in many cases, lobby in the United States...

When Mr. Sensenbrenner and Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, traveled to Liechtenstein in February to learn about its banking system, they attended business meetings. But they and their wives also visited the Malbun ski resort, stayed at a first-class hotel and toured the wine cellar at the prince of Liechtenstein’s historic vineyard, according to their itinerary.

The cost of the trip — $14,708 for Mr. Sensenbrenner and his wife alone — was picked up by a nonprofit group called the International Management and Development Institute. Just since 2005, International Management has paid for 34 trips to Europe for lawmakers and staff members, totaling more than $400,000, including five for Mr. Sensenbrenner to Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway and France.

The trips were largely financed by contributions from companies like Deutsche Bank and Lufthansa, which have American lobbyists and therefore would have been prohibited from directly paying for the weeklong trips. Top executives at these companies were often offered special meetings with the lawmakers. The president of the institute, Don Bonker, is a Washington lobbyist, whose firm, APCO Worldwide, has served as a registered agent for the German government.

Foreign agents are also prohibited from sponsoring travel.

Because International Management is an American nonprofit and does not retain a lobbyist, none of the rules applied. As a result, a group of big corporations were able to indirectly pay for a weeklong visit to Europe, and their executives got to meet with powerful lawmakers.

Mr. Bonker, the lobbyist, and Mr. Sensenbrenner, the congressman, said they stuck to the rules, and that the trips had been approved beforehand by the House ethics staff.
Sensebrenner's flack explained with this bit of gobbledegook:
“Many organizations that are seeking to educate Congressional leaders on a range of topics receive money from a variety of sources to better enable them to do so, without any cost to taxpayers,” Wendy Riemann, a spokeswoman for Mr. Sensenbrenner, said in a written statement.
Right. Thanks for clearing that up, Wendy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Surprise! Obama doesn't ask Big Jim's advice

Big Jim Sensenbrenner is unhappy that (a) Louis Butler has been nominated for a federal judgeship and (b) even more importantly, that Sensenbrenner wasn't consulted. Sniffs Jimbo:

"The fact of the matter is that Mr. Butler lost a state-wide election, held by the people of Wisconsin, to continue serving on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court," Sensenbrenner said. "Now, the man who was voted off the bench in Wisconsin is being given a promotion, a lifetime appointment and a pay raise."
Speaking of elections, we had one for President last year and Sensenbrenner's guy lost. We also had one awhile back in which Democrats took over the House. All of that helps explain why Big Jim, former House Judiciary chair and friend of the Bush White House, is out of the loop these days.

And, speaking further of elections, we find that Louis Butler received 402,798 votes from the citizens of Wisconsin last time he ran. Jim Sensenbrenner got 47,144.

Illusory Tenant has little patience for his whining:
Neither your advice nor your consent are required, Congressman. So why should they even be solicited. When the Sarah Palin/Sean Hannity ticket triumphs, then you can nominate Michael Gableman.
And Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now asks:

"Where was Sensenbrenner's outrage when George Bush made John Ashcroft the Attorney General immediately after Ashcroft lost a statewide election to someone who had died?"
Good question.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sensenbrenner's consistent -- consistently wrong

Big Jim Sensenbrenner isn't one of those politicians who says one thing to one audience and something else to another. Whether he's in Washington, Wisconsin or China, Sensenbrenner sticks to the same kind of unfounded, misleading rationale for ignoring climate change.

Cory Liebmann has the details.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cow fart tax just a lot of bull

Jim Sensenbrenner's been getting some media mileage with a claim that Democrats want to tax cow flatulence as a way to fight climate change (which he doesn't believe is happening.) Actually, prim and proper F. Jim says farts, not flatulence, because that's more likely to get attention.

Only one problem: His "fears" are total bullshit.

Hard times for the Sensenbrenners

Who says Jim Sensenbrenner doesn't have any empathy for poor folks who are hit hard by the economic recession?

He no doubt feels their pain, even if he doesn't vote to offer them much in the way of help.

The Journal Sentinel reports that hard times have befallen the Sensenbrenners:

The Menomonee Falls Republican reported a net worth of $8.9 million as of March 31, a more than 20% decrease from the previous year. Most of the $2.4 million drop in the value of his assets could be attributed to declines in the stock market that have posed serious investment losses for millions of Americans.
It's a good thing he lets the special interests pay for his all-too-frequent junkets or he might have to consider trimmming the family travel budget -- or sell the stamp collection, valued last year at $110,000. the same as Gwen Moore's net worth.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sensenbrenner meets his match

Separated at the dinner table?

Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. [l] and His Serene Highness Johannes "Hans" Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marko d'Aviano Pius von und zu Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count of Rietberg, Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein and Sovereign of the Princely House of Liechtenstein, pictured at Vaduz Castle, the Royal Residence.

Lichtensteiners celebrate another Sensenbrenner visit.

Michael Horne has the gory details.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sensenbrenner to run again on Obstructionist ticket in 2010

From F. Jim Sensenbrenner, some kind words:
some of the goals of the Obama plan are admirable, like improving our economy and reducing the federal debt
Unfortunately, he totally disagrees about how to do those things, so will work his heart out to try to stop anything Obama might propose.

That was the gist of his message as he announced to the Repubs in his district that he will run again in 2010, despite having recently reached Medicare age. Sayeth Big Jim:
“The residents of this District certainly know by now that I say what I mean, and I do what I say. There isn’t a lot of sugar-coating here. What you see is what you get. I am humbled by the support and faith from those I represent. Together, we can dig our heels in and show our resolve."
Humbled? We'd like to see that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Sensenbrenner should resign'

From Milwaukee BizBlog:

Dear Congressman Sensenbrenner:

I believe it may be time for you to move on.

To say I was flabbergasted by what I read this morning about your trip to Liechtenstein would be an understatement.

What color is the sun on your planet?

Your constituents are fighting for their economic survival. They are struggling to keep their homes. Some of them have been laid-off or experienced foreclosure. Your actions are a slap in the face to each of us trying to work harder, create and save jobs, and set an example for our employees, neighbors and children...

Mr. Congressman, as the owner of three businesses, I see every day the anxiety in my clients' and customers' eyes. They struggle to keep their doors open. Worry about getting credit from the bank to make payroll. Or question if they even have enough money in their grocery budget to buy a six-pack of beer.

Junkets and freebies are no longer acceptable...

You have had a long and impressive career. I have admired your conservative voice in the crowd of moderates. But perhaps there are other conservatives standing in the wings who know what it is like to sign the front of a paycheck, not only the back...

You no longer have my support or my vote.


Craig J. Peterson
Chairman and CEO
Zigman Joseph Stephenson
Buffalo Water Beer Company
Hunter Industries
Does Peterson see himself as a conservative alternative "standing in the wings who know what it is like to sign the front of a paycheck?" Don't expect him to run, but maybe it's crossed his mind.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sensenbrenner boo hoos; Who cares?

Long time no post.

F. Jim Sensenbrenner seems irrelevant these days.

In fact, that's what prompts this post. He doesn't want to be treated like he doesn't matter, even if he doesn't.

Now that there is a Democrat in the White House the Democrats control both houses of Congress, and both of Wisconsin's U.S. Senators are Democrats, no one is consulting Sensenbrenner -- who used to be in the loop when there was a Republican president -- about federal judicial appointments.

And why should they? They are playing by the rules, which say:
According to the (federal nomination) commission's charter, the senators each appoint four members to the body when they belong to the same party as the president.
F. Jim boo hoos.

Who cares?