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Just kidding. The alternative title for this diary is Saxby the Sugar Stooge

One of the biggest Corporate Stooges in the Senate, Georgia Senator Saxby Chamblisstook corporate loyalty to a new level on Friday.  Based on his demeanor at a Senate hearing on Friday you would think Saxby owned Imperial Sugar Company.Well maybe Imperial Sugar owns him.

Saxby is arguing that a "whistleblower" is responsible for a February explosion that killed 13 people at the company plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia. Keep in mind that Graham. H. Graham had only worked at the plant for three months, while others allege years of safety violations.

Let's follow Saxby's quotes and then follow the money. (Remember there is a Georgia Senate Runoff for the Dem nomination on Tuesday) Click here to give to Martin on our page (if you can't give then rec the diary)

The Article in the Houston Chronicle says

Chambliss also said he has not been influenced by any lobbyists for the Sugar Land, Texas-based company or by his son, Bo. The younger Chambliss is an in-house Washington lobbyist for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which also is represented by an outside firm that lobbies for Imperial Sugar (so they say).
"My purpose has been to try to get the facts out," Chambliss said. "This guy (Graham) is an agent of the company. How anybody can interpret that I'm doing something for the benefit of the company when really I'm chastising their agent is beyond me ... The company's got to stand on their own. I'm not about to defend them in any way."

However that is countered by Graham and his attorneys as well as the other Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson

Hilder and others have accused Chambliss of doing the company's bidding on Tuesday when he sharply questioned Graham at a Senate hearing. Chambliss' questions raised eyebrows because no one aside from Imperial had publicly doubted Graham's claims. That includes Chambliss' fellow Georgia Republican, Johnny Isakson. The two rarely split, but Isakson says he has full faith in Graham's account.

Let's follow the money for a second

This might show a little inisght as to why the questions of bias arise.

  1. Take Imperial Sugar's PAC

$1,000 to Saxby Chambliss this cycle- $2,000 of which was contributed by John Sheptor

John Sheptor is listed as President and CEO  who is Compensated quite handsomely

Saxby comes pretty cheap at a $1,000 contribution.

  1. There are several others with ties to Imperial Sugar that have contributed to the PAC

Harold Mechler - CFO is a $500 Contributor to the PAC
 
  Gaylord Coan - $1,000 contributor to the PAC is a director

(Apparently Savannah Congressman John Barrow returned some of the money he was given by Imperial and he's not even questioning them at a Senate hearing)

  1. Saxby Chambliss has received $21k from the Sugar Cane industry this cycle.
  1. Saxby Chambliss has a son Bo Chambliss who works for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as a registered lobbyist

Not sure Bo does much work as he carries a 3 handicap in golf according to the Golf Digest

Clarence "Bo" Saxby Chambliss has given $2,000 to the Chicago Mercantile PAC.

Interestingly CME  does lobbying work for several companies involved in Sugar

Googling lobbying and CME, we found one article that shows that

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is employing the son of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to lobby members of his father's congressional committee and other lawmakers on legislation that may increase trading at the exchange. Clarence Saxby "Bo" Chambliss Jr. is one of two staff lobbyists at the Merc charged with "providing information on issues that impact our industry to decision-makers in Washington," Merc spokesman David Prosperi said Friday.  Saxby Chambliss heads the Senate Agriculture Committee, which jointly oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and must this year pass legislation reauthorizing the futures regulator through 2011. The CFTC's current authority expires Sept. 30. The panel may vote as early as this month on a bill to reauthorize the CFTC, said a committee spokesman.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/...

Now there isn't much recusing Bo Chambliss can do with one other lobbyist unless that lobbyist is doing the heavy lifting while Bo is giving mulligans to Judge Smails

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  1. Probably not much of a stretch to say that Saxby has some questions to answer about his claim that he is not biased. We will keep searching to see if we can find more connections between Saxby and Imperial Sugar. Or we will let you know if Saxby follows suit of John Barrow and returns the PAC contributions.

Take Action
Donate to Jim Martin

Martin is easily Georgia's best chance to defeat Saxby Chambliss this fall. Take a chance on Jim. Donate what you can even if it is $5.00. We could do another good diary on Vernon Jones. Not having Jim on the ballot in November could be a disaster for all Dems.

Click the thermometer to give (if you can't please rec)

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Originally posted to alpolitics on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:01 PM PDT.

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