HIGHTOWER: Stenholm's "Golden Leash" Award

The pesticide manufacturers' pet congressman has received a well-deserved award -- though not one he'll be bragging about.It's the "Golden Leash Award," presented periodically to public officials who take big bucks from special interests, then do legislative favors for them at the expense of We the People. The Golden Leash is awarded by Public Campaign, which fights for getting corrupt money out of our political system. So -- trumpets please! the latest awardee is: Charlie Stenholm, a Texas Democrat.Just since 1991, Charlie has pocketed $226,000 from the chemical giants, including Dow and Monsanto. In turn, he's been like a monkey on a leash for the industry, doing whatever tricks they need done. This year, for example, Stenholm threw a monkey wrench into efforts by the EPA to begin restricting a particularly nasty group of pesticides called organophosphates, which attack the nervous system and pose a particular danger to children, who get a dose of these pesticides in their apple juice, on grapes, corn chips, and other foods they consume regularly.But, kids be damned, Stenholm lambasted the EPA for its "extremist agenda," demanding that any action be delayed until the companies could manufacture data to, in Charlie's words, "support the continuation" of dumping these neurotoxins on our food crops. He even got Al Gore to help slow down any review of organophosphates, reportedly telling him that EPA action could hurt the Democrats politically. Al responded by creating a new committee to "review" the EPA's review -- a committee chock full of Charlie's pesticide contributors. The result: organophosphates are still being dumped on your kids' apples and chips.This is Jim Hightower saying ... To help unleash our politics from this Big Money corruption, call Public Campaign: 202-293-0222.

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