Monday, June 7, 2010
Lobbyist Dan Coats vs. Public Servant Brad Ellsworth: The Choice is Clear
By Jon E. Easter
On Saturday, a classic news dump day, the Indianapolis Star's Mary Beth Schneider wrote an article on Dan Coats' lobbying client list. Basically, the gist of the story, from Coats' perspective was, "Nothing to see here; please disperse." Yet, if there was truly nothing to hide, it begs the question: Why did it take so long to disclose the list?
Coats told the Star that the delay was a result of needing time to sift through the documents and find the appropriate information. I'm sorry. I'm not sure I believe that.
I guess I'm just suspicious. It just seems hard to believe that Coats, who tells the Star that he would mostly introduce clients to high-level lawmakers in Congress, would take that long to figure out who he had introduced to whom. Something doesn't ring true.
Regardless, he could have represented the Pope himself...ok...bad example. Anyway, he could have represented anyone but is it ok for a registered and paid lobbyist who has taken a good chunk of change from special interests to go back into Congress? I just don't know how I feel about it.
It's very rare for a Senator or a Representative to completely retire and then resurface 12 years later to run for the same seat. It's happened before, but it's just rare. Are we wrong to ask questions about why Dan Coats chose this moment in time to come back into the Senate? I don't think so. Furthermore, when people take months to come up with information like a simple list of clients, it further breeds suspicion.
Instead of representing clients at a lobbying firm, Brad Ellsworth has spent the last 12 years working in law enforcement and in the U.S. House. He hasn't been taking millions from special interests. He's been putting crooks in jail, keeping citizens safe, and then representing those citizens in Congress. His client list is very short and sweet: the People of Indiana.
Whether you agree with Ellsworth or not, take a look at what Dan Coats has done the last 12 years and tell me who would you rather have representing you in the U.S. Senate: a man who left Indiana, represented a variety of companies and other entities as a lobbyist, and then moved back to Indiana to run for Senate again, or a man who's been in Indiana these last 12 years working for you. I think the choice is clear.