The biggest surprise this year was that a relative unknown (outside of Texas, that is) beat out last year's winner, alleged arsonist and car thief Darryl Issa, to top The List. Mike McCaul, representing the 10th Congressional district (a long and winding road from Austin to Houston, courtesy of Tom Delay-machinated redistricting), saw his net worth increase by a stunning 300 percent, to $294.21 million, thanks to a very generous Sugar Daddy-in-Law. McCaul's wife is the daughter of Lowry Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, the media conglomerate most famous for being the home of Right Wing Hate Radio. One of McCoul's biggest fans is Rush Limbaugh, so the money machine grinds in an endless closed circle. Clear Channel pays Limbaugh millions to spew his hate, and the millions he generates in ad revenue go to Clear Channel, and Clear Channel bestows its largesse upon McCaul, and McCaul makes the laws to benefit the in-laws and Rush and Clear Channel. Round and round it goes, and it never stops. Hate springs eternal.
But never mind all that. McCaul self-righteously voted in favor of the Broadcast Decency Act because he doesn't want tender ears exposed to F-bombs:
"It's my hope that (this sends) a clear message to American broadcasters to be very careful about what they allow on our publicly regulated airwaves. As a father of five young children, I shouldn't have to worry about my kids seeing or hearing trash on our radios or televisions. It is not too much to expect our airwaves to keep it clean while our children are watching or listening." (McCaul press release).
But racist tirades and misogynistic jokes? Fine with him. As a matter of fact, Rush hosted a private fund-raiser for McCaul, who tried to keep it secret and banned the press. (Limbaugh had just called Sonia Sotomayor a reverse racist and more and McC said nothing). But Rick Perry was there to make Rush an honorary Texan, and he just couldn't resist posting the video to YouTube. McCaul is the guffawing guy in the blue tie, to Rush's right.
McCaul has been rated one of the most right-wing Republicans in Congress. As a former Justice Department attorney and chairman of the Subcomittee on Homeland Security, he has advocated increased high tech surveillance at the border and also sponsored legislation calling for an army of vigilantes, including the Minuteman Project, to patrol the Mexican border:
McCaul's bill would create a "Border Corps" of volunteers, trained and equipped by the federal government to assist the U.S. Border Patrol in fortifying U.S. borders.The congressman said it would be up to Homeland Security Department officials whether Border Corps volunteers would be armed. He said the Border Corps volunteers would act as "the eyes and ears" of U.S. Border Patrol officers.McCaul said he had not assessed how much money his proposed Border Corps would cost the taxpayers.When asked about the possible danger of volunteers patrolling U.S. borders, McCaul said, "I would submit that the current situation is dangerous in that you have volunteers down there who are completely unsupervised and without adequate training." (Cox News)
Here are a few more fun McCaul quotes and factoids:
He voted against the Affordable Care act, stem cell research, the Dream Act granting amnesty to certain qualified undocumented immigrants (surprise!), relief for underwater homeowners, the auto bailout, education funding for returning Iraq and Afghanistan war vets.
But, he'd rushed back to Congress to make sure Terry Schiavo wasn't taken off life support. ("We are judged by the way we treat the most vulnerable among us and we must not allow any American to be deprived of the right to life without due process of law" he intoned at the time.)
He's sponsoring legislation that would forbid Congress members from naming pet projects after themselves. Says McCaul, owner of a mansion that he and his wife paid $3 million cash for: "It's a problem of perception that these projects receive special treatment because of the names they bear. When the American people see this it feeds the belief that members of Congress are arrogant and out of touch with the people we represent."
After evacuees from Hurricane Katrina flooded into Texas, McCaul called them "an interesting social experiment" and worried about the increased crime they might foment, given "their long history of government dependence."
|Be It Ever So Humble, It's All in the Perception.|
There's a lot more where that gift from Daddy-in-Law came from, so McCaul very sensibly and altruistically voted against the Death Tax, because: "Death should not be a taxable event. For too long the federal government has been taxing working Americans, not once, not twice but three times on their hard earned money. When they earn it there's an income tax, when they spend it there's a sales tax even when they die the government takes a tax from the grave." (Yeah! Power to the Rich People, Mikey!)
But I digress. There are other rich Congress people to worry about. Among the top 50: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (an acceptable synonym for wealth if there ever was one); Sen. James Risch; Rep. Tom Price and Rep. Nan Hayworth.
In the interest of fairness, there are a few impoverished congress members as well. (They must be doing something wrong). Among the reps reporting a negative net worth are Sen Marco Rubio of Florida, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, and deadbeat Tea Party dad Joe Walsh, who actually lost his condo to foreclosure. Forget reaching across the aisle to each other, these people need to learn how to reach into each other's pockets. Just so long as they stay out of ours.