Hillary Courts Donor with Favored Legislation, Earmarks, Highways


The New York Times story today, “Company Finds Clinton Useful and Vice-Versa.” doesn’t give you the full story how Sen. Hillary Clinton has worked legislation and earmarks to favor Corning, Inc.

Clinton, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has taken hefty campaign contributions from Corning’s political action committee while pushing legislation requiring automobiles to have an emissions reducing catalytic converter that, in 2004, Corning supplied 95% of the world’s market for.

The Times might have been tipped off to the story by Congressional Weekly’s cover story on Clinton this last week. In it, CQ reported, "In the Senate’s version of a multi-year highway bill that passed in February 2004, for example, Clinton won earmarked money for diesel fuel filters made by Corning Inc., whose former chief executive, James R. Houghton, is a lifelong Republican. Later that year, Houghton held a fundraiser for Clinton — the first one he’s held for a Democrat. And the provision survived in the highway bill that was enacted last year. Now, Clinton proposes naming a section of Interstate 86 near Corning after Amo Houghton, the former Republican House member from the area and James Houghton’s brother."

Corning’s Vice-Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Corning Inc., James B. Flaws praised Clinton for routing government funds to his company.  When Clinton came under fire in 2003 for not satisfying local New York leaders, Flaws came to her defense. The Times mentioned he wrote a letter to the Buffalo News in 2003 and quoted him writing, “She has delivered and continues to deliver for us,” but didn’t include that he also said, “Most recently, she traveled to Corning to announce her plans to get hundreds of millions in federal funding to retrofit diesel-powered school buses with technology made in Corning.”

The Times story does include a graph  that shows how Corning’s contributions to the junior senator have escalated as she has "delivered." In 1999, the New York company gave her a mere $500. In 2003, when Clinton first introduced legislation to benefit Corning she got $13,500.  In 2004, after she announced legislation that requires road construction vehicles to reduce emissions and she began to work with China to lift their anti-dumping tariff against Corning’s fiber optics products, she got $51,250. Last year, after she was credited by Corning for defeating the tariff, she recieved $71,650.

Clinton’s official senate website contains a August 2005 press release, “Senator Highlights Passage of Clean Diesel Legislation” where she lists three bills  she sponsored or cosponsored that resulted in government subsidized  business for Corning. The statement describes:

“An amendment to the transportation bill sponsored by Senator Clinton and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) which enables states and local governments to tap into an $8.6 billion clean air program to fund technologies to reduce pollution from construction equipment used on federal highway projects in areas with poor air quality. The transportation bill will be signed into law tomorrow.

“A transportation bill amendment co-sponsored by Senator Clinton that authorizes $110 million to expand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean School Bus U.S.A.” program. With help from Congressmen Walsh and Houghton, Senator Clinton has successfully pushed to increase funding for this pilot program, by which EPA makes grants to school districts to help pay to retrofit old buses or purchase new ones to reduce pollution. This program was funded at $10 million for FY 2006, $7.5 million for FY 2005, and $5 million for FY 2003 and FY 2004.

“The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2005, which was signed into law yesterday as part of the energy bill. Senator Clinton cosponsored this legislation offered by Senator Voinovich (R-OH) to authorize a five-year, $1 billion program to enable EPA, states, and localities to fund diesel pollution reduction technologies for trucks, trains, vessels and other diesel-powered equipment.

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, also includes the Clean School Bush USA Program, the Diesel Truck Retrofit and Fleet Modernization Program, and the Engine Idling Reduction Program and was introduced by Introduced by Clinton, Sen. George Voinovich, Thomas Carper and Johnny Isakson and added as an amendment to the 2005 Energy Bill.

On February 22 of this year, Clinton announced three school districts that got EPA funds to buy converters. According to her own statements, the Greece Central School Distrct got $369,000 to retrofit 244 diesel school "with diesel oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase ventilation systems," Sachem School District got $187,200 to" retrofit 156 diesel school buses with diesel oxidation catalysts" and the Ulster Board of Cooperative Education Services got $34,899 to " retrofit three diesel school buses, which carry vocational and special education students, with diesel particulate filters and ultra low sulfur diesel fuel."

Mrs. Clinton was certainly aware that Corning would benefit from stringent environmetnal standards. New emissions regulations were set into place by Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, in his final days as President.  In late December 2000 he carried out the Environmental Protection Agency’s “historic” plan to reduce diesel emissions by at least 90% in 2007. According to the Ceramic Industry Business News Publishing Group Company, the EPA sought to reduce emissions by using ultra low sulfur diesel fuel and exhaust treatment systems. The June 2005 article said, “While clean diesel refiners are still working on the fuel requirements, the exhaust treatment systems are already available in the form of catalytic converters (incorporating ceramic substrates) which reduce nitrogen oxides and diesel particulate filters” which Corning is known for.