WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other top Democrats leading the charge on the United Airlines passenger-removal scandal have accepted campaign donations from United Airlines’ political PAC.
The airline has a prominent lobbying operation in Washington. Past Schumer and Democratic initiatives to reform air travel were quickly shot down after the corporation got its lobbying muscle involved. The airline’s relationship with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — including Democrats leading the charge to wrist-slap the airline — could crash the public’s chance to get any real concessions out of the embattled company.
United Airlines is under fire after video of police officers forcibly removing a man from his seat — due to alleged overbooking — went viral, with the money shot of the man’s bloodied face played endlessly on cable news and late-night TV. Washington is pretending to be very concerned about it.
Senator Schumer and fellow Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, Brian Schatz, and Maggie Hassan took the lead in writing a letter to United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz expressing concern. The letter was signed by various other Democratic senators including Bob Menendez. But the letter failed to make some important disclosures.
The United Airlines Political Action Committee has doled out money to politicians on both sides of the aisle, including former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Barack Obama, who took from the Chicago-based PAC in his first Senate run in 2004.
Schumer took $3,000 from the United Airlines PAC during the 2010 campaign cycle. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) also took $10,000 from the airline’s PAC that election year, during a period in which the DSCC was chaired by Menendez, who took over from Schumer in 2009.
But Durbin is the biggest hypocrite of the bunch. The Illinois Democrat has raked in campaign cash from the airline’s PAC in election cycles dating back to at least 1998. He took $4,000 in 2000, $5,500 in 2002, $5,000 in 2006, $5,000 in 2008, $3,000 in 2012, and $2,000 in 2014.
Durbin even gave a quote in 2002, when United was dealing with bankruptcy, calling it a “terrible tragedy” and adding, “I regret that the federal government, specifically the ATSB, refused to play a more constructive role in stabilizing United — the nation’s second largest airline — and protecting its nearly 80,000 jobs.”
At least Patty Murray, who took $8,000 from the PAC in 2010, and Cory Booker, who took $10,000 in 2014, did not join her fellow Democrats in signing the letter.
In order to get real airline reform, it seems like some lobbyists are going to have to be “re-accommodated” out of the Capitol building.
FLASHBACK: Three Recent Supreme Court Justices Were Confirmed Within 45 Days
There’s ample precedent for a quick confirmation.
There are 45 days until the November 3rd presidential election, and there’s ample precedent for an expedited confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice in such a timeframe following a vacancy.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg died on Friday, setting up a possible contentious confirmation process to fill her seat. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pledging that a tentative Trump administration nominee for the position will receive a vote on the Senate floor, despite outrage and indignation on the part of progressives falsely maintaining that McConnell is breaking precedent he set by refusing to confirm Merrick Garland. President Obama tried to get Garland confirmed when the opposing party controlled the Senate, a divided government that does not exist in 2020.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg herself was formally nominated by President Clinton on June 22nd, 1993. Her confirmation process began on July 20th, and she was confirmed on August 3rd, with a total of 42 days elapsing between her nomination and confirmation.
John Paul Stevens’ nomination was advanced and confirmed in a speedy 19 days, and Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed in 1981 in a total of 33 days.
In fact, every single Supreme Court nomination of the past 45 years was nominated and voted upon within a shorter duration of the time remaining in Donald Trump’s first presidential term.
Yes, Trump has time to nominate and get his nominee confirmed to the Supreme Court. EVERY SINGLE VOTE ON A #SCOTUS NOMINEE OF THE LAST 45 YEARS was voted on in less time than what Trump has between now and the end of his current term. pic.twitter.com/og5aOZsiw1
— Matt Batzel (@MattBatzel) September 19, 2020
There’s actually wide precedent for nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice within the confines of President Trump’s first term, and Democrats are being untruthful or erroneous to suggest otherwise.
McConnell is beginning initial work to advance confirmation hearings, with potential liberal Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski presenting themselves as possible holdouts. It is possible to approve a judge with 50 votes in the Senate and a Vice Presidential tiebreaker.
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