WASHINGTON (TheSkunk.org) — Congressman Sal Dennison (D-OH) was censured by the House of Representatives on Friday for voting against legislation favored by a large corporation that contributed thousands of dollars to his campaign.
Campaign finance records disclosed that Shell Oil Company gave over $120,000 to Dennison’s campaign and his political action committee, POT PAC, which advocates the legalization of marijuana, one of the Congressman’s favored issues. Yet Dennison subsequently voted against legislation that would open up unlimited coastline to Shell for oil exploration and drilling — a vote in direct opposition to the company’s interests.
“I guess I was more concerned with the environment than the needs of my corporate sponsors,” said a contrite Dennison. “I don’t know what I was thinking, and I wholeheartedly apologize to Shell and its Board of Directors.”
But the apology was insufficient for Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ethics Committee. He said a vote to expel Dennison was pending the decision of the full committee. “We’ll tolerate sex scandals, bribery and federal indictments,” explained Conaway, “but what this lawmaker did was inexcusable. The executives at one of the world’s largest companies are in a rage, and I can’t blame them.”
Speaker John Boehner agreed. “We cannot stand by idly while a member of this body shirks his responsibility to the people who put him into office,” he said. “These businesses make substantial investments to get us elected, and they need to know we’re on their side.”
“This is a situation that could have easily been avoided,” added Boehner, “I tell my members all the time: ‘Check with your donors before you cast your vote.'”