Reform? New Congress members learn to use pork

West Virginia Rep. David McKinley: New wave, old corruption

Didn’t take long for the new wave of so-called reformers swept into Congress in the 2010 elections to learn how to play the Washington game of piling on the pork.

West Virginia Republican freshman Rep. David McKinley, one of those who campaigned on tea party themes of cutting spending and ending waste, needed only three weeks to drop a bill to help a big campaign contributor, Arch Coal.

McKinley’s bill, Politco reports, would help the coal company by overturning an Environmental Protection Agency ruling.  Then McKinley would introduce another bill, doing after an EPA regulation that places restrictions on architectural and engineering firms that promote coal-ash bricks and drywall.

And it turns out McKinley founded one of those firms before running for Congress.

While McKinley’s actions didn’t directly violate any ethics rules, they did skirt the limits of propriety for a member of Congress and his actions, along with those of other members of the tea party “reformers’ show that they quickly learned how to do things the old-fashioned Washington way.

A review by Politico shows at least nine members of the freshman class of House Members introduced bills that would directly help major donors or industries in their districts.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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