Tag Archives: criticized

‘Corporate-friendly’ Corker’s Praise of JPMorgan Draws Fire

Critics took aim at Republican Sen. Bob Corker last month after he called for a hearing to investigate more than $2 billion in trading losses at JPMorgan, then used the occasion to heap praise on CEO Jamie Dimon, reports The Tennessean.
Corker called Dimon “one of the best CEOs in the country for financial institutions” and deemed the losses, which the New York Times reported last week could total as much as $9 billion, a “blip on the radar screen.”
Those statements have fueled claims by Corker’s challengers from both parties that the senator’s allegiance lies with big campaign donors and not ordinary Tennesseans — a theme they will try to hammer home as elections draw near.
Seven Democrats, four Republicans and five independents will vie for the chance to unseat Corker in the Aug. 2 primary. (Note: Actually, the independents won’t vie until November.)
JPMorgan has contributed more to Corker’s campaign than all but two other organizations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The senator, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, has received $10,000 from the company’s political action committee and $54,000 from individuals who work for the bank. His No. 1 contributor is Goldman Sachs, whose employees have given $71,700.
In a recent interview, Corker dismissed claims that he is too closely allied with big banks. He said he was just “being a gentleman” when he praised Dimon at last month’s hearing.
“I tend to ask very tough questions and end up in a place of supporting very good policy in our nation,” he said, adding that he was the senator who first called for the hearing on JPMorgan’s losses.
The Democrats vying to oppose Corker in November say corporate influence excludes ordinary Tennesseans from the political process.
“He’s a hollow suit,” said Park Overall, an actress and environmentalist from Greeneville who said she entered the race at the urging of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “He goes to the highest bidder.”
Corker’s Republican challengers say the senator’s financial ties to large corporations partly explain why his voting record isn’t as conservative as they think it should be.
They point to vote ratings by the conservative group Heritage Action for America, which said Corker voted conservatively only 74 percent of the time, and by the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly, which found Corker voted with President Barack Obama’s position 61 percent of the time last year.
“Just look to see who’s contributing to his campaign,” said Zach Poskevich, a tea party-backed Republican from Hendersonville. He said that might explain why Corker voted for the 2008 bank bailout and for the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program that offered consumers rebates to trade in gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient cars.

Alexander Taking Flack from GOP Conservatives, Tea Party

Sen. Lamar Alexander has won favor with pundits for his decision to quit his Republican leadership position in January to focus on reaching bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems. But Jeff Woods observes that he’s drawing scorn from the GOP’s Tea Party wing, which sees any attempt to accommodate Democrats as a betrayal
of principle.
An excerpt:
On Steve Gill’s conservative talk radio show, as Gill asked pointed questions about whether a Republican senator should reach across the aisle, a clearly frustrated Alexander tried to make himself understood.
“I’m a very Republican Republican, as you well know,” said Alexander, who phoned in to the show from Washington. “But if you’re going get 60 votes in the Senate, we’ll have to find some things that Democrats and Republicans agree on.
“I think you can still be a good Republican and look for opportunities to get results. I tried to do that as governor and was successful, and I’d like to try to do more of that here. My voting record is very Republican and will continue to be. I said when I ran for this office that I’d serve with Republican principles and independent attitude, and that’s the way I expect to continue to do it.”
The show’s callers and emailers weren’t buying the senator’s insistence that he was putting country above party, and they pounced on Alexander when he hung up and it was their turn to speak out.
“This guy has got to go,” one said.
“As a Republican’s Republican, doesn’t that make him Obama’s doormat?” another said.
Later, Gill stated the obvious: “There wasn’t a lot of love lost for him in the calls that he got.”
Alexander, who is 71, wouldn’t have to worry about the Tea Party except that he seems to want to keep his options open for 2014 when he’s up for re-election.
When he announced he won’t seek another term as Senate Republican Conference chairman, his party’s No. 3 position, he also said he plans to run for a third Senate term in three years. But most insiders have discounted that statement as not indicating that Alexander has made up his mind yet. If he had said he planned to retire, it would have triggered a free-for-all of politicians scrambling to succeed him, and the senator was trying to prevent that from happening as long as possible.
“It’s what he had to say to keep the chaos to a minimum,” Gill said. “If he said he’s not running, he immediately becomes a lame duck. Whether he’s going to run or not again in 2014, I don’t think is determined by what he’s saying he’s going to do. He may run. He may not run. But what he’s saying now about reaching across the aisle isn’t helping his re-election prospects. If he does run, I think he definitely will face a Tea Party primary challenge.”
(Memphis Tea Party founder Mark) Skoda doubts Alexander will run again. He said he thinks the senator is preparing to retire and thinking about his legacy.
“I believe what he’s trying to do is solidify his position in his own mind as a statesman, so he’s taking this very conciliatory approach to Democrats,” Skoda said. “He’s trying to play the elder statesman as he’s coming into the twilight of his career.”