Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Epilogue I, the John Sweeney story

Via TPMMuckraker.

Wage Bill To Undo Abramoff-Era Mariana Islands Loophole
[...] Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) [...] plans to include language raising wages in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in a broader bill increasing the U.S. minimum wage.

[...] The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) hired Abramoff in 1994 to work with GOP leaders to prevent the extension of the federal minimum-wage and immigration laws to the islands.

Sweeney visited the Marianas in 2001 with Tony Rudy, who worked for Tom DeLay, then went to work for Abramoff.
Sweeney was quoted in the Saipan Tribune on Jan. 15 as saying reports of poor working conditions in the CNMI were overblown, and that he had seen worse sweatshops back home in New York. Carlson said Sweeney was "absolutely not" aware of any severe mistreatment of workers or forced prostitution before he made these comments.

U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., a longtime champion of legislation to change CNMI wage and immigration laws, traveled to the islands in 1998 on a fact-finding mission to document abuses there.

Problems were obvious "unless you choose not to look at the facts on the ground," Miller said, adding: "A blind pig could run into the human rights violations and the exploitation of workers on the islands."

Sweeney will be reflecting on his selective eyesight as an ex-Congresscritter. I wonder what kind of substances a guy needs to get past the fact that he enabled sweatshops. Just curious.


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