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31 July 2008

Senator Saxby Shameless: The Best Senator Corporate America Can Buy

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss should stick up for Georgia refinery workers, not corporate suits in Texas.

You've got to hand it to the corporate lobbyists for the Imperial Sugar Co., based in Sugar Land, Texas. When they give a $1,000 donation to a U.S. congressman from Georgia, they get their money's worth.
[Source: Savannah Morning News, "Barton: Saxby does Sugar Land", July 31, 2008]

Of course, Georgia workers can't write Saxby Shameless checks for $1,000 like Imperial Sugar can. So who really expects Sen. Shameless to stick up for them.

Isn't it about time Georgians has a Senator that sticks up for them again.


Savannah Morning News Editorial Page Editor Tom Barton is not too happy with Saxby Chambliss after a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday that left an Imperial Sugar Company lawyer accusing Chambliss of "harassing his client" and attempting to "discredit and blunt" the testimony of Graham H. Graham, a vice president of operations with the Imperial Sugar Company.

According to an article on the subject that appeared in the Savannah paper this morning, Graham testified that "he was told by senior executives he was being overzealous in his efforts to make the plant safer." [Source: Savannah Morning News, "Chambliss in sugar furor", July 31, 2008]

The plant Graham refers to is the Port Wentworth refinery that exploded in February of this year killing thirteen people. Imperial Sugar Company, the owner of the plant, faces fines of $8.8 million plus possible criminal charges for alleged safety violations found by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In a Tuesday ABC News article previewing his testimony, Graham H. Graham said he would reveal to the Senate committee a "failure of his company to address the dangers before the blast." [Source: ABC News, "Executive Turned Whistleblower to Testify on Dangerous Working Conditions", July 29, 2008]

News reports from the Savannah Morning News say that near the end of his testimony, Graham was questioned aggressively by Chambliss.

"He [Chambliss] twice said he doubted Graham's sincerity and cut him off before he could answer a final question."

Philip Hilder, an attorney for Imperial Sugar, said he thought higher ups at the company fed Chambliss questions meant to discredit Graham's testimony.

"He's more interested in discrediting Mr. Graham than discovering the facts, and I think he's the one who's being insincere," Hilder said.

And as for Tom Barton, the Savannah Morning News Editorial Page Editor; he ends his editorial by saying that Chambliss, who is up for re-election this year, should stick up for Georgia workers instead of "toting water corporate suits who live four states away."

Of course, Georgia workers can't write Saxby Shameless checks for $1,000 like Imperial Sugar can. So who really expects Sen. Shameless to stick up for them.

Isn't it about time Georgians has a Senator that sticks up for them again.