Mike Oxley (R-OH-4), the chairman of the House Financial Services committee, is one of the major fundraisers for Republicans nationwide. Despite representing a working class industiral district, Oxley has been the archetypal Republican corporate shill, grabbing tons of corporate money from PACS in exchange for writing tax breaks and corporate giveaways for the banking and financial services industry, as this overview
of Oxley's fundraising details. Indeed, Oxley's indefatigable thirst for corporate money and influence peddling has helped Ohio Republicans dominate state politics.
Now comes word that he may be implicated in a scandal involving one of his chief fundraisers - the top lobbyist for mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac.
That's the same Freddie Mac that Oxley, as chairman of the House Financial Services committee, has a responsibility to oversee. Instead, Oxley's has pushed for dramatic softening of oversight
and regulations after being the featured figure in 19 fundraisers
held by the Freddie Mac lobbyist. This is a clear cut case of influence peddling. And now with Freddie Mac in trouble, this has the potential to be a Keating 5-type scandal.
Finally, the worm is turning, and Oxley's ethical breaches may finally be investigated, as the Washington Post reports, for trying to force mutual funds companies to hire Republican lobbyists, an action that, as the story suggests, is "not only unethical, but possibly criminal."
On Super Tuesday, a surprising number of Republican primary voters failed to punch the unopposed Oxley's name. By contrast, Ben Konop, his Democratic opponent, saw his votes increase by 37% over the 2000 OH-4 Dem challenger. Turnout has been high among Democrats, and dissatisfaction with Bush, Republican governor Taft, and Oxley has been palpable in this district.
OH-4, an area just east of Toledo, is one of those Midwestern industrial districts that's been hemorrhaging jobs. People are hurting and stirring for change.
Konop has been campaigning tirelessly in the district since the beginning of the year. Having galvanized traditional Democratic groups by speaking to core party values, he's reaching out to the discouraged voters living paycheck by paycheck or unemployed, the very working class voters that Democrats must win over to take Ohio in the presidential election. Konop's populist pitch has already struck a chord, but he has to raise more funds to put into place an organization that can get out the vote - the key to winning Ohio for both him and Kerry on election day.
Check out his website and contribute what you can. After Chandler and Herseth, we should be looking not only the clear swing districts, but also devastated districts like OH-4 neglected by Republicans that's ripe for plucking. Support the Ohio candidates on the ground to fight a close race, and Kerry will benefit accordingly.
Don't let Repug bigwigs like Oxley off the hook.