Rep. John Mica: Crony Capitalism, Florida Style
Rep. John Mica has been in Congress for almost 20 years and is currently representing Florida's 7th district. He is most well known as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. What is less known is that Rep. Mica funnels tax payer dollars to his family and to his campaign donors.
One of Mica's pet projects is Florida's SunRail, a 61 mile commuter rail costing around $1.2 billion dollars. The rail curiously does not connect with one of Florida's most profitable businesses, Disney World, but does run through Mr. Mica's congressional district. Not only will district business benefit from the Sunrail, which will serve around 2000 commuters a day, Mr. Mica's enthusiastic campaign donor, CSX Transportation, will get $491 million of tax payer money for its freight lines.
“ 'His dedication to SunRail is not for mass transit — it is for helping CSX to get government funds for its private freight lines,' said State Senator Paula Dockery, a Republican and a chief critic of the project."
The New York Times goes on to report:
Campaign finance records show that many of the contractors that worked on the project, including an engineering firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff, have been major contributors to Mr. Mica’s re-election campaigns. So have businesses and individuals who could benefit from the project, including ICI Homes, a real estate developer that owns several sites close to a proposed SunRail station, and Florida Hospital in Orlando, whose $250 million expansion plan is contingent on getting a station on its property.
But the largess with tax payer dollars extends not only to his donors but to his family as well. Mr. Mica's daughter, D'Anne Mica, ran a public relations firm for 8 years. One of her clients was the construction firm, PBS&J. (ABC News, January 12, 2010) In 2009, Rep. Mica earmarked $13 million of taxpayer dollars for PBS&J, coincidentally a major supporter of Florida's SunRail.
Now, Mica is trying to bring his big government ways to a district that just elected a true, grassroots conservative, Rep. Sandy Adams. That's right, instead of defending the district he has represented for 10 terms, he is poaching a freeman's district and trying to get her fresh and un-corrupted voice silenced in the House of Representatives. Adams has been endorsed by Allen West and Sarah Palin and has been a stalwart defender of the Tea Party and conservative grassroots.
The GOP primary next week in Florida couldn't have a clearer choice. Sandy Adams represents everything the Tea Party and the conservative movement has been fighting for in the past four years. And John Mica represents everything they've been fighting against.