One of the coolest things about the article, besides my colorful quotes, is the way Howard tied the influence peddling of the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) to Connecticut Senators.
Howard also mentioned that Lieberman is an original member of the Friends of India caucus (FOI). Their members are listed on the FOI unofficial site, but it hasn't been updated since 2004. Perhaps that's because the Senators that joined in 2004 are still there and will continue their membership as long as stupid Americans keep electing them to office. To see the list of members click this link.
I don't know if Dodd is an official member of the Friends of India (FOI), but it's almost a moot point because he does whatever they tell him to do. For an example see this letter he signed with other FOI members:"31 Congresspersons request Vajpayee be invited to speak at Joint Session of Congress."
Lee Howard's statement below is probably in error only because Lieberman's campaign donations are probably intentionally deceitful:
Lieberman, in the same period, has received slightly less than $14,000 from the Pfizer PAC. A database search showed he has not received any money from the U.S. India PAC.I suspect that Lieberman accepted money from USINPAC or one of their proxies somewhere along the line because he sucks up to them big time. Check out this letter that Lieberman wrote in praise of USINPAC:"LETTER FROM SENATOR LIEBERMAN TO THE MEMBERS OF USINPAC."
This newsletter first reported on Lieberman's letter in 2003 and it can be found in the newsletter archive: "Tandoori Democrats", December 08, 2003". Lieberman wouldn't have written this letter unless there was a payoff somewhere. In it Lieberman wrote: "I also oppose any efforts to eliminate or diminish the H1-B visa program."
TheDay article below has a link to Pfizer's letter to Dodd and Courtney. I'll have more to say on that soon.
Pfizer In The Middle Of Visa Debate
By Lee Howard
Published on 12/14/2008
Over the years, U.S. Sens. Christopher J. Dodd and Joe Lieberman have collected tens of thousands of dollars from Pfizer Inc.'s political action committee. Critics say that not so coincidentally the two Connecticut senators have supported expansion of the United States' guestworker visa programs like the H-1B that Pfizer, among other companies, has used to systematically outsource hundreds of American jobs.
"If you think that any Democrat is going to stop the flood of illegal and legal immigrants that take American jobs, well, you must be fresh out of the box," said Paul Streitz, director and co-founder of the Darien-based Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, which includes a picture of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on its Web site along with a pitch to "Vote Sarah 2012."
Neither Dodd nor Lieberman, both Democrats, would directly address questions about their records, but each, in statements through their press offices, defended their votes on guestworker visas.
"Sen. Dodd expects Pfizer - and all Connecticut companies - to both fully comply with the intent of the H-1B program and to do all they can to preserve jobs in Connecticut," Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said in a statement. "Dodd will continue to work on this issue in the new Congress and work toward reforming the H-1B program."
”While it's wonderful that Courtney wants to do another GAO study of H-1B, he could use the ones that have already been completed, and then he could actually propose legislation that actually does something to alleviate the problems,” said Rob Sanchez, a former Arizona software engineer who lost his job to outsourcing, writing in his Job Destruction Newsletter last week. ”The sad reality for the Pfizer people is that studies and new legislation will come far too late to save what's left of the jobs there.”
Similarly, Sanchez, who now runs a think tank focusing on guestworker visas and outsourcing issues, said he appreciated a letter Dodd and Courtney sent to Pfizer questioning the company's use of guestworker visas, ”but it does nothing to stop Pfizer from replacing its U.S. workers with H-1B visa holders.” Furthermore, he said, ”it would be even better if Dodd sponsored some serious legislation to stop the abuse.”
The anti-immigration group Americans for Better Immigration has given both Dodd and Courtney a D-minus grade on guestworker-visa votes during their careers, though Courtney's grade is based on only one vote. Lieberman has earned an F.
Sanchez is among those who have been critical of the Connecticut delegation's votes on the H-1B issue. He particularly points to Dodd, who once sponsored a bill that ”would have put some mild restrictions on offshoring government contracts” - a bill that died quickly and, in any case, included only ”superficial reforms.”
”Dodd ... has consistently voted for H-1B increases as well as other types of guestworker visas,” Sanchez said. ”Dodd has given lip service to protect Americans from unfair competition due to the use of H-1Bs or offshoring, while voting to make the problem worse.”