Ben Nelson on the hot seat:
Among the critics is Nelson’s richest constituent, investor Warren Buffett of Omaha. Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, is Nelson’s biggest single source of campaign funds.
And if that’s not enough, Nelson and his wife have investments in Berkshire Hathaway. The latest disclosure from 2008 valued those investments at $1.5 million or more.
“To be absolutely clear, I did not vote ‘no’ because of Berkshire Hathaway,” Nelson told reporters in a conference call Wednesday morning. “Nor did the fact that I and my wife Diane have owned Berkshire Hathaway stock for 30-plus years — that had nothing to do with my vote. It’s never been an issue. And it isn’t now.”
In fact, lobbyists for the bill say they usually expect Nelson to vote “no” on procedural moves like the ones this week.
The derivatives issue isn’t the only reason Nelson has given for opposing the bill. He’s also said the bill would hurt small businesses that provide financing for customers. At the Capitol on Tuesday, Nelson specifically pointed to dentists and auto dealers.
But that’s not the way Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), who chairs the banking committee and is leading the floor debate, remembers it.
Dodd said Nelson approached him just before casting his “no” vote and said he wanted to talk about the derivatives issue.
Look- it is one thing to be bought and paid for- we can understand that, even though it disgusts us.
It’s another thing to just be teabagger stupid, doing whatever your corporate masters want for no reason other than profound ignorance and tribalism. That’s harder to understand, but at least Nelson has lots of company there.
But to feign teabagger stupidity when you are a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and the insurance industry? Nice try, Ben.