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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Doug Thompson published his first story and photo at age 11 -- a newspaper article about racism and the Klan in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1958. From that point on, he decided to become a newspaperman and did just that -- reporting news and taking photos full-time at his hometown paper, becoming the youngest full-time reporter at The Roanoke Times in Virginia in 1965 and spent most of the past 55+ years covering news around the country and the globe. After a short sabbatical as a political operative in Washington in the 1980s, he returned to the news profession in 1992. Today, he is a contract reporter/photojournalist for BHMedia and owns Capitol Hill Blue and other news websites.