The Right View: In Pingree's case, it takes a fat cat to know one

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I’m glad to see the Washington Examiner is at least taking an interest in the hypocrisy of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

If there ever was proof of the idiotic notion that Democrats are “for the little guy,” and against Wall Street, big (BIG) money, power and insider deals, this is it.

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2010, Pingree stated her support for HR 4213, which she was proud to say “cracks down on tax loopholes that allow hedge fund managers to avoid paying income tax on much of their salaries, and makes sure that multinational corporations don’t avoid paying taxes by shifting their profits to offshore tax havens. Closing tax loopholes generates billions of dollars to pay for the provisions that create jobs in our communities.”

HR 4213 was the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010, as initially introduced by U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York. As a relevant aside, Rangel has been the focus of two scandals, one where he was censured by the House of Representatives in 2010, citing tax evasion on a rental unit he owned in the Dominican Republic, and campaign finance law breaches. Prior to his censure, Rangel chaired the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax policy.

In 2008, Rangel, along with then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, and more than 25 other Democratic candidates, was named in a probe by the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald C. Machen Jr., as having received part of $42 million over several election cycles in illegal campaign contributions from Washington, D.C., businessman Jeffrey Thompson.

HR 4213 went on to be amended more than 200 time and have several different titles as it made its way through Congress. I find the hilarity of one iteration of the bill’s title, the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010,” almost too much to bear in light of Pingree’s comments in the House of Representatives.

Her public outcry against hedge fund managers, the wealthy elite flying around in private jets, and tax loopholes for the rich is a scathing indictment of her own life.

The recent Washington Examiner article noted an investigation by the Sunlight Foundation outlining in detail Pingree’s entanglements since her marriage to billionaire hedge fund manger Donald Sussman. Having come from the president and CEO post at Common Cause, an organization that is a self-proclaimed watchdog against corruption and abuse of power, prior to running for Congress and later marrying Sussman, Pingree claimed to be the champion of the little guy, and railed against money and power in politics.

However, Pingree and Sussman epitomize both. According to both the Examiner and Sunlight Foundation pieces, Pingree and Sussman took a 2009 trip to the Virgin Islands with U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and his partner, while Frank chaired the House Financial Services Committee, which dealt with regulations of the hedge fund financial sector; Sussman’s company, Paloma Securities, received over $200 million in federal taxpayer bailout money during the 2008 financial crisis, and another of his companies, Trust Asset Management, enjoyed tax sheltering in St. Thomas as recently as 2012.

I am so tired of the notion that liberals and Democrats are “for the people” and have no stain of monetary corruption. I have news for some of you “people” out there to whom they are referring: They don’t give a rat’s behind about you. Ultimately, they are for themselves and their own power. They are using you for their own gain and benefit, again and again.

So the next time you hear a liberal railing against Wall Street, be sure to look under the hood, or perhaps directly at them. They are so used to getting away with this line that apparently they don’t even see the need to hide their own indulgences with and connections to the fat cats.

Julie McDonald-Smith lives in North Yarmouth. She is a registered nurse, former Capitol Hill staffer, development chairwoman of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, and occasional guest host on WGAN 560AM. Her column appears every other week.