The Pete Sessions Sleaze Patrol

Perhaps making fun of Pete Sessions is just too easy, as when he compared the GOP to the Taliban. Stumbles such as that, and the attention they receive, obscure a deeper problem with the Dallas congressman. Sessions represents one of the wealthiest districts in America, yet he seems to have an insatiable appetite for money and not much concern for how he gets it.

Last July, I reported on his financial connections with the internet gaming world, after the News revealed he hosted a fund-raising event at a Las Vegas strip club. Park Cities People’s Josh Hixson even obtained a tape of a meeting with gamblers Sessions hosted in which they strategized about how to get internet gaming legalized.

Then there is the question of earmarks. Sessions grabbed more and received more money from recepients of his good graces than any other Dallas congressional representative.

Now we have the Allen Stanford swindle, and once again Pete Sessions is implicated, as reported in today’s NYTimes:

Around the same time, Mr. Stanford and his Houston-based company, Stanford Financial Group, burst onto the scene as players in federal politics. The White House was pushing legislation to make banks crack down on money laundering, so Stanford Financial hired a Washington lobbying firm and began donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans and Democrats alike. The sudden rush of money drew the attention of Public Citizen, which singled out Stanford as a case study of the influence of campaign donations in shaping legislation. Public Citizen concluded that it was “clear” that the Stanford contributions “were aimed at killing the bills,” although broader help turned out to be unnecessary because Texas Republicans simply blocked it from receiving a vote in both chambers.

Which Texas Republicans would those be? Pete Sessions was the #2 recepient of Stanford money, after Sen. Bill Nelson (D, Fla). The story continues:

Another lawmaker, Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, received $41,375 in such donations. He also went on two council trips, totaling more than $10,000 in expenses, according to Legistorm, a group that tracks lawmaker travel disclosure forms.

Mr. Sessions’s spokeswoman, Emily Davis, told Bloomberg News this week that Mr. Sessions did not know Mr. Stanford personally. But that account was called into question when the Web site Talking Points Memo published a photograph showing the two men talking during a trip to Antigua. (Ms. Davis declined to comment on Friday.)

So a quid pro quo seems to have been in place. Stanford gives Sessions money. Sessions stops legislation aimed at money-laundering (at the insistence of the Administration after 9/11, the legislation was re-introduced and eventually passed).

As with the internet gaming money, it was a perfectly legal form of bribery. It is the way business is now done in the U.S. Congress under Republicans and Democrats.  But does that mean that Dallas Republicans have to put up with it? Is this we want representing Dallas in Washington? Is this who Republicans want to uphold conservative principles?

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Comments

16 responses to “The Pete Sessions Sleaze Patrol”

  1. Jackson says:

    Good post, Wick. Obviously, in such a solidly red district it will take a fellow repub to knock him out in a primary. Where’s the modern-day Alan Steelman?

  2. I spoke to Pete the evening of the 2006 election around 6 or 7 pm when early polls already showed the GOP being routed and stomped. I asked him if he thought that meant they’d screwed up, gone off message, needed to rethink, etc. and he sat there with a shit-eating grin and said he believed the GOP leadership and agenda was doing great and he supported them and all that jazz.

    At first I thought he was in denial. Then when I looked in his vacant eyes I realized he hadn’t been told what to say in the event of an electoral catastrophe. He’s truly clueless and needs a script even more than Mr. Obama at the podium. I really believe the man has no independent, critical thinking skills.

    Meanwhile, Jeb Hensarling was already talking party sedition, criticizing the GOP leadership of the day, and admitting they’d failed to live up to their principles. He was already outlining what needed to be done to get them back to basics and back to what they claim to stand for, and praising the Dems for their successful strategy. There was an intellectual honesty I found surprising. He was willing to go on record criticizing the House majority leader (forget who it was) at the risk of hurting his own position. But his own prospects were less important than the bigger picture for Jeb.

    Two portraits of GOP congressmen. Night and day.

  3. grrgle says:

    Okay he’s a turd. But, legalizing internet gambling (or, more precisely, lifting the state monopoly on gambling) and getting the banks out of law enforcement sound like good ideas to me.

  4. Cindy says:

    Again, you neglect to mention Sessions is dishonest enough to have stolen campaign signs and stupid enough to be caught at it:

    http://dccc.org/blog/archives/tx_32_breaking_news_sessions_busted/

  5. White Rock Eagle says:

    Not much to add other than nice work, Wick. Info like this needs to see the light of day.

  6. Tom says:

    Thanks to Tom DeLay, he’s in a district where he can’t lose. Looks like he on his way to doing just that in 2010. Maybe DeLay’s redistricting plan came with a clause that you had to be just as sleazy as he was.

  7. VisitDallas!HomeOfAmericasWorstPresident says:

    You’re comparing Sessions extemporaneous abilities with Mr. Obama’s to draw a point of inadequacy? I’ll take those odds. Ten will get you one.

    Maybe you should observe more in that twilight between the meds being effective and that afternoon jello snack.

  8. NeitherParty says:

    I am all about exposing the hypocrisy of the vast majority of congress. Now lets see if you have the same vigor in looking at Eddie Bernice’s involvement in the community re-investment act. She does not see a connection in the the Fannie Mae and Freddie mess and the CRA. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are the face of the crowd that carried the water for the Clinton Admin in pushing the boundaries of acceptable lending principles….and EBJ was there doing her part as well. I look forward to you exposing this with the same intensity.
    FYI, she is now working on a ‘modernized’ version of the CRA….how many millions of our tax dollars will go to ACORN in her plan?

  9. You're not fooling anyone says:

    It won’t happen NeitherParty. Wick still thinks he can get away with the “Republican speaking truth to Republican power” schtick, but he’s a Democrat lapdog and everyone knows it. Now that his weekly anti-Republican propaganda has been put out there, he’ll waddle back to his country club and await the calls from his new liberal buddies telling him how brave he is for standing up to those evil white male neocons. And Wick? We all know how much you admire “real conservatives” like Andrew Sullivan, so make sure to let us know if he ever figures out who the real mother of Trig Palin is.

  10. Curtis Remington says:

    Trey, you hit the nail on the head. Sessions is clueless. Hensarling is brilliant. Sessions will lead the party to another HUGE loss in 2010 – a year when they should be rebounding. Hensarling (and some others like him) are the future of the party. Sessions (and people like him) are the past. It may take incompetent management from Sessions and crew to get rid of enough Republicans to put people like Hensarling in charge.

  11. Crazy says:

    Even with all his troubles, Sessions still controls the Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party. Pretty much everything the County Party does is to benefit the future of Pete Sessions. Hopefully, someday, Chairman Neerman will do what is right for the sake of the GOP. If not, 2010 will be just like 2008.

  12. JS says:

    Wick purporting to speak on behalf of Republicans is amusing. That said, I would love for Hensarling to be my rep instead of Sessions. I myself have thought about challenging Sessions but decided I did not want to live through the sleaze of a campaign. I remain convinced, though, that a true conservative has the ability to take Sessions out.

  13. smarty says:

    Why is this newsworthy? Pete Sessions is TYPICAL for the republican party!

  14. Grumpy Demo says:

    “Is this who Republicans want to uphold conservative principles?” Trick question! Sessions is the human incarnation of conservative values, just like Gramm, Delay, W, and Cornyn.

    “Hensarling (and some others like him) are the future of the party.” Yes God, please, please, please, make it so-another angry white male clueless fringe extremist, this Demo can only dream!

    [Hensarling] “has consistently voted against abortion rights, stem cell research, same-sex marriage and hate crimes legislation” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Hensarling#Voting_record

  15. odaravlaac says:

    Before he was in politics, he was a cheesy sales executive at Southwestern Bell … enough said.

  16. Geronimo says:

    Wick, watch out Sessions will soon start charging for his name appearing in print.