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Tea Party Senate Candidate Mike Lee Tried to Dump 1,600 Tons of European Nuclear Waste on Utah

With an assist from FreedomWorks, Mike Lee grabbed Utah's Senate nomination from incumbent Bob Bennett. Now he shows he's not a states' rights kind of guy.

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For example, the act allows the secretary of Department of Energy to sign contracts with private companies such as EnergySolutions, and goes on to insist the NRC "may not deny an application for a license, permit, or other authorization... on the grounds that sufficient capacity does not exist, or will not become available" for already authorized sites.

In other words, EnergySolutions, whose PAC has donated $138,000 to Republican candidates this election season, would, under a Republican administration, be set up nicely for government contracts, even if it's above capacity for the work being contracted. The secretary of energy holds all the cards, and the Tea Party's idea of limited government goes straight out the window.

Lee apparently wants to avoid the EnergySolutions controversy -- repeated calls and emails to his campaign went unanswered. While the company dropped its Italy waste bid in July, mere weeks after Lee won his party's nomination, new suits have since been filed against EnergySolutions, including one by shareholders who claim executives inflated business prospects to elevate stock prices before selling off their own shares before a plunge.

In the world of Mike Lee and FreedomWorks, state-based rights, limited federal government and constitutional integrity are valid only to a point, and cease to matter when money's at stake. If Lee comes out on top, so too do energy companies, leaving the rank-and-file to deal with the ramifications.

Brooklyn-based Andrew Belonsky has written for Death and Taxes, Salon, The Huffington Post, Change.org and The Bilerico Project.