italco's Place

Government information blog with an Anti-Corruption agenda.

  • View all my Pages

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 5 other followers

  • My Posts

  • Ed’s Stuff

  • Advertisements
  • Country First

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

Sam Granato for US Senator?

Posted by italco on August 16, 2010

I was able to catch up with Utah Democrat Senate Candidate, Sam Granato at the Centro Civico Mexicano in Salt lake City. Leaning against the back wall of the autotorium, I asked Sam 3 basic questions…

1) Where do you stand on Immigration reform?

Sam told me he has had the pleasure of working directly with the hispanic community here in utah and supports their efforts towards finding a viable solution to the issue. He does not agree 100% with the Whitehouse approach to throw $600 million at the problem and expect more  “policing”  to work. He is willing to work within both parties Dem/Rep as a moderate thinker to develope solutions that take into consideration the concerns of the undocumented immigrant as well as the citizen of Utah who send him to washington to represent their concerns. He is for working towards a comprehensive reform package that “does not” include putting undocumeted immigrants in box cars and shipping them back to their perspective countries.

2) His thoughts on Ethics in Washington?

He looked me in the eye and said…”it’s broken and needs to be fixed”. Greed is the root of corruption and just like in business, ethics have to practiced in order to bring credibity to the office. Ethics isn’t something we just talk about, it is a life style. He assured me that he has always followed ethical business practices throughout his business life and would “not” be swayed by the $ of corporate lobbyists. He will represent Utah citizens, not industry.

He did clarify that industry is needed to create jobs but not at the expense of the environment or un-ethical business practices. We just need to eliminate the conflict of interest when governing WallStreet.

3) How he was going to bridge the divide between the liberals and conservative so Washington can start working together to get things done? 

He told me it is not his intent to go to Washington and be a “yes man” to President Obama. His intent is to represent the voices of his constituents and the United States Of America. To best serve his country, it is his duty to work with the republicans as well as the democrates so that all voices are heard and considered. He reiterated that his moderate views affords him the ability to see both sides of the issue and make rational decisions that best serve America and Utah.

After conducting this interview I came to the conclusion that Sam Granato is the best choice for Utah.

Sam Granato represents my beliefs in how politics should be conducted. With thoughfullness, integrity, ethics, and good common sense politics.

I proudly endorse Sam Granato for US Senator


Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Senate Race Heats Up in Utah!

Posted by italco on June 24, 2010


Mike Lee wants to limit liability for BP, Chevron and other companies whose activities lead to environmental disasters, and pay for clean-up and recovery efforts on the taxpayer’s dime. That is unacceptable. We need to hold these corporations fully and completely accountable for their actions; We will not bail them out! 

I have to agree…Mike Lee does appear to be the “Representative Of Industry”. Isn’t Mike Lee the attorney who represents Energy Solutions to bring Nuclear Waste to Utah?

We just witnessed a “reputable company” named Chevron have an “Oil Spill Accident” that made an oil slick out of Liberty Park. All I can say is, I sure am glad it wasn’t a “Nuclear Accident”.

Check out this article by “redstate”


Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Accountability in 3, 2, 1…

Posted by italco on May 10, 2010

“Bennett, seeking a fourth term after 18 years in office, became the first sitting senator to fall in the ideological battle being waged in his party. Although he has long been viewed as a reliable conservative with deep Mormon roots, Republicans rallied behind two other candidates — neither of whom has held political office — who will compete for the nomination at a June primary.

Until this year, Bennett faced few challenges in this reliably Republican state. In 2004, no one opposed him for the Republican nomination, and his general election victory was so assured that he didn’t spend a penny on television ads. In 2006, he earned a 93 percent approval rating among Republican primary voters.

But Bennett came under fire from conservative activists for voting for then-President George W. Bush‘s bank bailout measure in 2008 and, more recently, for working with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on a health-care overhaul bill. Bennett has also taken heat for reneging on his campaign promise in 1992 to serve just two terms. He is also a close adviser to McConnell, and he sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which opened him to blame for ballooning government spending.”

The two remaining candidates — lawyer Mike Lee and businessman Tim Bridgewater, both of whom courted tea party voters — faced off in a third ballot. Because neither won 60 percent of the vote, they will compete again in a June 22 primary election. Either way , Utah is all but sure to elect a candidate in the fall with significant tea party support.”

I do not believe anyone was more upset over the 2008 “TARP” bailout than I was. It was a massive last minute special interest money grab allowed to occur by the sitting congress. Accountability is an absolute must in this election cycle. That being said, I do feel the pain of Senator Bennett, his family, and his staff. Thank you for your service to Utah. 

The two candidates left in this election will be interesting to watch. Do they gamble that the far right now has the power to get them elected? or does the winning candidate reach out to the moderate and less conservative Utahns?

It is my humble opinion that this opens the door for a moderate Democratic candidate to step in and steal this open Senate seat. To assume it is automatic that a republican conservative is guaranteed to win would be to under-estimate the democratic party (again). Utah has many moderate voters on both sides of the aisle and the Republicans are split in their decision of Mike Lee (who appeals to the extreme right) and Tim Bridgewater (Moderate to Conservative). If these two republican candidates can keep from conducting negative campaigns against each other, then one of them might win. If they go negative, a democrat is more likely to swoop in and steal the seat! 


SC Senator, Jim DeMint (R) has been anointed the “Conservative Kingmaker” and may be a key component behind the removal of Senator Bennett in the republican primary. He has endorsed Mike Lee…

Posted in news, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Republican Congress Says NO! Again?

Posted by italco on April 18, 2010

All 41 Republican senators have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying they are opposed to the financial regulation bill put forward by Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office announced today.

Republicans had sought to send Democrats a letter threatening a filibuster of the financial reform bill, but Sen. Susan Collins of Maine would not sign onto the letter, the Hill reports.;lst;2

“Obama said he still hoped to win Republican support for the bill but lashed out at Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of making a “cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts — when he knows that it would do just the opposite”

18 months ago I was involved in a debate on CNN ireports with several conservative republican bloggers in reference to the conservative republicans “circling the wagons” and immediately attacking President Obama and his agenda before President Obama was even sworn into office.

Over the past 18 months, I have witnessed the conservative and republican bases develope into  movements (tea party, birthers, constitutionalist, independance caucus, ect…) and have watched as  the republican congress have “unsuccessfully” attacked, obstructed, and voted against every single piece of legislation the President has attempted to get passed into law.

On the flip side, I have watched the democrats broker industry and personal agenda deals which have only served to fuel the public’s mistrust in them. Talk about handing the conservatives and republicans the ammunition to attack them with.

I warned the conservative movements then and have continued to advise that the answer is not “anger”. Anger will only back fire on the party spewing the rhetoric. The answer is to truly put your country before self, party and industry (with sincerity). That means getting behind your President and working with those on the opposite side of the aisle. Didn’t we vote and send them to Washington to represent us?

Posturing, spinning, and just saying No just doesn’t fly with me.

I am disgusted with our Congress on both sides of the aisle. There is no ethics and too many conflicts of interest. I plan on supporting the candidate(s) who runs on ethics reform and means it. With 88% of congress up for re-election, this election should be about “Accountability”…after all, isn’t this the same Congress that took us to the brink of economic collapse?


“Beat The Drum”


Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Coffee Anyone?

Posted by italco on March 14, 2010

We demand a government that responds to the needs of the majority of its citizens as expressed by our votes and by our voices; NOT corporate interests as expressed by misleading advertisements and campaign contributions.

We want a society in which democracy is treated as sacrosanct and ordinary citizens participate out of a sense of civic duty, civic pride, and a desire to contribute to society.  The Coffee Party is a call to action. Our Founding Fathers and Mothers gave us an enduring gift — Democracy — and we must use it to meet the challenges that we face as a nation.

Unlike their Tea Party counterparts, who want a smaller government with less influence, coffee partiers believe government can provide solutions, and they want politicians to work together in a more civilised way.

“We need to get together as citizens and show them [politicians] that we can sit down and talk about these issues; that we can solve problems and develop solutions; that we may not agree on everything, but that we can agree on a lot,” says Mr Clayton.

Despite the reactionist origins of her group, Park says the Coffee Party doesn’t want to be seen as the anti-Tea Party. Like the grass-roots conservative movement, Park says people drawn to the Coffee Party feel the federal government doesn’t represent them, either. The two groups might even have a lot to talk about.

“I think it’s important for us to actually meet with people who identify themselves as Tea Party members and sit down and have coffee or tea with them,” she says.

“In fact, after they dumped tea into the harbor, the Continental Congress declared coffee the national drink,” Park adds. “That became the solution to the problem.”

I am very happy to see a movement like this come along at the exact time it is needed.

No progress or even positive change will come with the anger of the right and the gloating on the left.  

We need to find the center and have civil discussions.

We need “tolerance” and solutions.

Beat The Drum

Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Ethics Committee – Guardian Of Our Law Makers?

Posted by italco on February 27, 2010

The House ethics committee ruled Friday that seven lawmakers who steered hundreds of millions of dollars in largely no-bid contracts to clients of a lobbying firm had not violated any rules or laws by also collecting large campaign donations from those contractors.

The Law Maker becomes the guardian of industry and their Ethics Committee’s become guardians of the Law Makers.

Who is the guardian of the citizen?

I always believed it was suppose to be the representatives we voted into office.

They all seem to be bought and paid for and shifted their loyalty to the industry.

It is time to change that!!

“Beat The Drum”


Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Independence Caucus Approach!!

Posted by italco on February 25, 2010

I was invited to participate in the selection process of 3 Conservative Candidates looking to derail Senator Bob Bennett in the Republican Senate Primary. My participation will also include a vote in determining who will be the Candidate that the Caucus will endorse in this Senate race.

I have been invited to ask any question I choose with no limit in the number of question I can ask. Rather than abuse this privilege, I elected to ask 4 questions that are important to me. I hope they are important to you as well. I asked the following four questions to each of Candidate’s; Mike Lee, Cherilyn Eagar, and Tim Bridgewater.

“Many feel there is a need for ethics reform in congress. We feel owning stock in corporations you govern, to be a conflict of interest. Ethics committee members in the House and Senate do not have to answer to the general public and only answer to their specific constituents. With this in mind, do you agree there a need for “ethics reform” if so, are you willing to champion that cause in Washington?

What is your stand on Term Limits in congress?

How will you approach the corruption issues in congress? (gifts in kind, stock ownership, lobbying,etc…)

What is your plan to bridge the divide between liberal democrats and conservative republicans?”

I will post their responses here as they answer…this should be interesting.

“Beat The Drum”

Received replies:

Tim Bridgewater

From Tim:

Term Limits: I have committed to support term limits legislation every year for the six-year term if elected. I believe three terms for the Senate and six terms for the House is the right number to ensure a regular turnover of representatives. I am not optimistic that I will win a majority of support among the permanent political class, but if elected you will see a bill proposed every year to that end.

Corruption in Congress: Transparency and disclosure must be strengthened. All existing ownership of stock, real estate or other assets must be disclosed and then placed in a blind trust. Anyone who votes on issues which impact those holdings must publicly disclose before the vote any holding and a conflict of interest. It is better to abstain from votes where there is a conflict of interest and I will do so. No gifts in kind should be received outside of those allowed under the current campaign finance laws, all of which must be disclosed and reported quarterly in campaigns. People do contribute their time and/or materials in helping my Senate campaign and I am grateful for their support. Every three months those contributions are reported publicly by my campaign.

Bridge the divide: The country needs sound principles to guide us. We are all Americans and in order to get the country on sound footing, we will need to work together. The out of control spending is a major hurdle to our country’s ability to compete and succeed and I believe that many Democrats will join with me in the 2010 class in reducing the debt and returning control of the country to the states in order to reduce spending. It is a imperative that we take action quickly on reforming entitlements and balancing the budget for future generations.”

Cherilyn Eagar

Question – “Many feel there is a need for ethics reform in congress. We feel owning stock in corporations you govern, to be a conflict of interest. Ethics committee members in the House and Senate do not have to answer to the general public and only answer to their specific constituents. With this in mind, do you agree there a need for “ethics reform” if so, are you willing to champion that cause in Washington?

Cherilyn’s Answer –
Ethics reform in the US House and Senate is absolutely necessary; however, not in the form of the unconstitutional Ethics Reform Initiative petitions now circulating in Utah. We can start reforming Congress by stopping unconstitutional and inappropriate earmarks and the horse trading of votes. The 2nd and 3rd Icaucus videos make this corruption very clear. I own annuities and mutual funds, but I do not have any governing ownership of any corporation outside of the company my husband and I own. That company provides Internet marketing for the real estate field. That is the source of our income. I have no conflicts of interest with any company I own outside of the U.S. or with any client directly paying me a salary or income. My vote cannot be bought, sold, traded or gambled away in a senatorial back room deal

Question: “What is your stand on Term Limits in congress?”


Answer: I do not support a term limit amendment or amending the Constitution. No one who understands the original intent of the Founders would support the amendments that are being used as clever sound bites in this race. We would do better to eliminate the power of the incumbent party, as promoted by the Icaucus videos.

I support restoring the Constitution and repealing several amendments that have removed the accountability of the Senator to the state. Term limits would be my last resort because they would not solve the problem about which we are concerned, and they would make that problem worse: The Incumbent Party which sends 90% of them back election cycle after election cycle is a “follow the money” problem, not a term limit problem.

In addition, the unconstitutional 4th branch of government would gain more control than it already has. The agency wheels already keep on turning administration after administration and this would increase and we would be controlled even more by bureaucrats.

The states that have term limits have given us some history now which shows what an ineffective solution this would be: The elected officials play musical chairs from one house to the other.

The other problem, seniority, is more easily solved by simply requiring a rule that the committee chair position be rotated each session.

We need to rip out the roots and stop merging business with government, follow the money and audit the Federal Reserve. The best term limit is at the ballot box.

I do not foresee my serving more than two terms. If I can’t get my goals accomplished in that time, I need to pass it on to someone else.

Question: How will you approach the corruption issues in congress? (gifts in kind, stock ownership, lobbying,etc…)


Cherilyn’s Answer:
First, I will not take corporate contributions. I am funding this campaign primarily with grassroots funding. In the Fourth Quarter, we raised more grassroots funding that each of the reporting candidates combined. We need an earmark moratorium and transparency, bills our incumbent opposed. Transparency is better than limiting donations.

McCain-Feingold caused a different problem: favoring incumbents and the wealthy.

A Senator that discloses a conflict of interest should not be allowed to sponsor or vote on that bill. If the federal government would stop meddling in the private sector and stop merging business with government, there would be fewer lobbyists.

If you follow the money, you will follow the corruption. Corporations fund both sides of the aisle, hedging their bets. Earmarks are payback for campaign contributions. For example, EnergySolutions funded our incumbent Senator about $50,000, then it turned around and funded Sen. Harry Reid. Then Senator Bennett championed ES’ bill to bring foreign nuclear waste to Utah while Cong. Chaffetz opposed it. The only candidate in this Senate race that supports that legislation is the candidate that receives income directly from that corporation.

Mike Lee

 “Reply by Dan Hauser 4 hours ago

Edward, I apologize for having to answer in pieces to your questions. Since Mike has been doing events across the state, we have been answering as fast as possible. This is the first of his answers to your questions:

in regards to term limits (per Mike): I support term limits

As to your other questions, I will have the answers as quick as I can”

It is now 11:30 pm and I have posted the responses to my 4 questions to all 3 Candidates. I have to go cast my vote now. I am not certain I will announce who I voted for because I still need to see what other races and Candidates are doing. In this particular cacus, I was impressed with the respect I was shown and to find out the things I have in common with the Conservative thinkers in our State.

Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reforming Congress On Way Out?

Posted by italco on February 21, 2010

“Bayh has issued a call for the Senate to change its venerable filibuster rules, making it tougher for a minority to block action.

Right now, it takes 60 of the 100 senators to overrule a minority that wants to block a vote on legislation or nominations. Bayh said the number should be changed to 55. Bayh also wants to require filibustering senators to be physically present, something that used to be the rule as the above Sleeping Beauty shot attests.

Defenders of the Senate filibuster argue that it’s an integral part of an institution and that the nation’s founders wanted the upper legislative chamber to act as a parliamentary speed bump, forcing deliberation and compromise into the law-making process. Critics say it’s an undemocratic and outmoded piece of legislative arcana that thwart the will of the nation’s majority.

And just who are the defenders of the filibuster? Why Republicans. . . and Democrats. And who are the critics? Why Democrats. . . and Republicans. Which side they take depends on whether they happen to be in the majority or minority at the time.”

I am getting a clear picture.

If they are planning on staying in congress they have no intention to call for reform of any kind…but, once they decide they have had enough, they want make the “correct” changes for America.

I am starting to like the “Term Limits” reform of an earlier post. Maybe knowing they are leaving sooner than later, they will want to leave a legacy for others to follow.

“Beat The Drum” for an honest and ethical Candidate to step forward and run on “Ethics Reform”! 


Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Lone GOP Vote!

Posted by italco on February 14, 2010

“Mr. Corker, in the middle of his first term in the Senate representing Tennessee, said he “absolutely” would be willing to buck his party if necessary to pass a bill cracking down on financial market abuses and creating new rules to prevent firms from becoming “too big to fail.”

The comments came the day after Mr. Corker and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D, Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced that they would be negotiating the wide-ranging legislation after Mr. Dodd reached an impasse with the panel’s top Republican. Mr. Corker, speaking Friday in an interview to be run on C-SPAN on Sunday, suggested discussions on Capitol Hill on regulatory overhaul matters have not always been made in good faith.

“Do you want to get to yes or do you want to get to no as quickly as possible,” Mr. Corker said, suggesting he thinks that he and Mr. Dodd can craft legislation that receives “overwhelming” support from both sides of the aisle.

Mr. Corker’s decision to work with Mr. Dodd puts him at odds with his party, not least because he is still new in terms of Senate seniority. He acknowledged the situation is “unpleasant” and “awkward,” suggesting he definitely isn’t being lauded by members of his caucus.

“I realize there are going to be repercussions,” he said. ”

Repercussions? Why?

Isn’t this what we  want our representatives to do?

Is it the republicans  goal to “obstruct” the democrats ?

Are the Democrats excluding the republicans from being part the solutions?

The right points at the democrats and accuse them of excluding the republicans from being a part of the solutions and the left is pointing at the republicans and accusing them of obstruction…

Can we see what they come up with, in their “joint” bill, before jumping all over them?

I am extremely tired of all the finger-pointing and would really love to see a joint effort to find solutions instead of tearing each other apart before the attempt is even made.

Good job Senator Dodd and Senator Corker…stand by your principles and don’t cave to your party’s interests. This is the United States Of America, not the Divided States! Good luck and thank you.

Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

“Beat The Drum” Success Story!!

Posted by italco on June 16, 2009


Fellow blogger and ireporter “CTLSS” wrote to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics because she was concerned about the members of congress that are helping draft new health care policy, that are heavily invested in the private insurance industry. Here is a copy of the letter she wrote on June 16th 2009.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing this because it has come to my attention that there are members of congress that are helping draft new health care policy, that are heavily invested in the private insurance industry. This is simply not an acceptable situation. These congressmen and women need to either get rid of the investments, or recuse themselves from serving on this committee. They simply cannot be trusted to make decisions based on what is best for the American people when their wallets may be affected.

“Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer’s debate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), for instance, has at least $50,000 invested in a health-care index, and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a senior member of the health committee, has between $254,000 and $560,000 worth of stock holdings in major health-care companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck.

The family of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee drafting that chamber’s legislation, held at least $3.2 million in more than 20 health-care companies at the end of last year.

While no congressional rules bar members from holding financial stakes in industries they regulate, some ethics experts suggest that it often creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, particularly if there is a chance that the legislation could result in a personal financial boost.

The first big congressional moment on health care comes Tuesday in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which will consider a liberal-leaning proposal that includes the creation of a “public plan” meant to be a government-administered alternative to private health insurance.

On that 22-member panel, at least eight senators have financial interests in the health-care industry wortha minimum of $600,000 — and potentially worth as much as $1.9 million. The investors include Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a senior member of the panel, who holds at least $165,000 in pharmaceutical and medical stocks, and freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who holds at least $180,000 in investments in more than 20 health-care companies.”

She received a response the very same day!!! Here it is.

“Dear Ms. Schmitt,

I am responding to your email sent to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) today regarding your concerns about conflicts of interest amongst members of Congress. Unfortunately, OGE does not have the authority to investigate individual instances of wrongdoing and has no jurisdiction over the legislative branch of the government. OGE was established by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 as the office responsible for setting policies aimed at the prevention of conflicts of interest in the executive branch of the Federal Government. OGEassists executive branch departments and agencies in implementing ethics rules and policies that deal with conflict-of-interest laws, post-employment restrictions, the standards of ethical conduct, and the public and confidential financial disclosure systems.

You may be able to obtain more information regarding your concerns through the Senate Select Committee on Ethics or the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Senate Select Committee on Ethics

House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct

I hope this information proves helpful for you.

Kim H. Kaplan
Government Ethics Specialist
U.S. Office of Government Ethics

Way to “beat the drum” Ctlss…you rock!

Our NO does count and and they need to know that we are not going to tolerate corruption.

It is not alright to have a vested interest in the companies they govern. That is insider trading…How can they govern us with ethics when it effects their pockets directly. None of us should be tolerating this behavior.

It is not alright to accept gratuities from these corporations or the lobbyist that represent them…that is where corruption starts

Thanks to CTLSS , we all know where to send in our concerns. Help us “beat the drum” and end corruption in congress…let your voices be heard…tell them what you think!

It is just a mouse click and typing on the keyboard for your voice to be heard. Links are provided. Also see and read Ctlss’ ireport on this subject.

Posted in news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »