There was a time when things like this would make conservatives mad:
Some of the expenditures flagged by critics include dinner for 30 at Fogo de Chao, a Dallas eatery where dinner costs $46.50 per person; two airline tickets costing $1,722.20 each for an executive and his wife to attend the Bush inauguration; at least eight â€œAstorâ€ chairs valued at $2,000 each; and $75,000 in artwork.
Not anymore. As long as it’s a corporation bilking people with the governments support they don’t care. If this was a “welfare mother” buying something she shouldn’t with her money…oh boy the conservatives would be freaking out.
Here’s the Republican reaction to this:
But Geoffrey Gay, an attorney representing Fort Worth and other North Texas municipalities in regulatory matters, noted that many of the questionable expenditures were included in earlier rate filings that supposedly covered only expenses for infrastructure improvements and system reliability
Instead, those filings included the artwork, more than $205,000 for office remodeling, $123,000 for new filing cabinets and $5.4 million in new furniture, Gay said.
Gay noted that the three-member Texas Railroad Commission gave only a cursory review to those earlier filings â€” they totaled more than $26 million in additional annual expenditures for the company â€” and now ratepayers are getting charged for all but $1.5 million of it.
He said the commission argued earlier that it would give the expenditures a closer inspection during a full-blown rate case. But that rate case is under way, and a deadline has come and gone for railroad commission staff to have weighed in on those expenditures. So far, the agency staff has failed to file testimony either to support or oppose any of it, he said.
â€œI think that not only are they abdicating their authority, I think it is a gross injustice,â€ Gay said. â€œItâ€™s a disgrace. By statute, theyâ€™re supposed to protect the public interest, but they have a staff that hasnâ€™t done anything.â€
A spokesman for railroad commission Chairwoman Elizabeth Ames Jones, the elected head of the agency, said she would not comment because of the pending nature of the case.
A separate commission official, spokeswoman Ramona Nye, said staff there will thoroughly consider the case during a hearing scheduled to begin next week. She also noted that nothing in state law requires agency staff to file testimony.
As long as Republicans are in control corporations can steal from the people without retribution.