Rep. McCollum Ripped For Ties To Banking Industry
Public Campaign gives him its new 'Golden Leash' award
By Brooks Jackson/CNN
WASHINGTON (March 10) -- A group promoting public financing of congressional campaigns Tuesday began giving what it called "Golden Leash" awards to members of Congress with exceptional conflicts of interest.
Public Campaign singled out Republican Rep. Bill McCollum of Florida for the first such award, saying he had accepted nearly $374,000 from the banking and credit card industries and is sponsoring legislation that would make it harder for bankrupt consumers to avoid paying credit-card debt. McCollum denied any quid pro quo.
Ellen Miller, founder of Public Campaign, said the new award is "designed to focus public attention on the members of Congress who do particularly egregious favors for their cash constituents, dramatizing their captivity to special interests."
Public Campaign is a nonprofit organization financed largely by grants from charitable foundations. Miller said the "Golden Leash" awards were inspired by the "Golden Fleece" awards that former Sen. William Proxmire of Wisconsin once handed out regularly to government programs that he considered wasteful.
McCollum reacted strongly, saying his bill would help consumers by
reducing bad debts that drive up prices and interest rates. He called it "nonsense" to suggest he was motivated by campaign
"Bill McCollum has never done any legislation as a quid pro quo for anything in his life and never will," McCollum said.