Clinton Running Mate Tim Kaine Skips Flint Vote to Raise Campaign Dollars

Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine
The Associated Press

Senator Tim Kaine skipped a vote on Water Safety and Infrastructure that would affect the Flint, Michigan water crisis, choosing instead to raise campaign funds in Illinois.

Kaine’s running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, beat the drum on the lead contamination in Flint, saying in a July campaign statement that “There is no excuse for what’s happening in Flint.” Clinton professed “outrage” over the situation in Flint during an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show, yet her own running mate Kaine chose to fundraise instead of serving in his current position in the Senate and voting on the legislation associated with investigating the Flint case and providing funding for other areas that face similar water crises.

Kaine was recorded as “not voting” on Wednesday on a motion to invoke cloture and move forward the Water Resources Development Act Of 2016.

Congressional summary of S. 2848 states:

Additional assistance is provided to states with emergency public health threats associated with lead or other contaminants in a public drinking water supply system. The Department of Justice and the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must report on the status of any ongoing investigations into the government’s response to the drinking water contamination in Flint, Michigan.

It would provide additional assistance to states with similar public health threats to public drinking water in the future.

Instead of voting on the bill to help protect public drinking water, Kaine chose to raise campaign funds at two events in Chicago, Illinois according to the Chicago Sun Times. One of the events featuring Kaine is at the home of Bill Daley, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama and former commerce secretary for former President Bill Clinton. Daley’s wife Bernadette Keller is hosting along with him as well as Globetrotters Engineering CEO Niranjan Shah and daughter Smita Shah. Both Shahs are major Democratic donors, the elder Shah having financially backed former President Clinton and former Gov. of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, who is now in prison for corruption including trying to sell former Senator Obama’s seat in Congress. Attendees are responsible for paying or raising from $10,000 to $50,000.

The second event is a reception at the home of art deal Paul Gray and his spouse De. Big Democratic donors John Atkinson and Grace Tsao-Wu are also hosting along with Lilli Scheye, Jane and Bob Clark, and Steve Cohen, reports the Times. Attending that event runs from $5,000 to $25,000.

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump said at a Wednesday afternoon rally in Canton, Ohio, that he had just visited Flint, Michigan himself. “It should never happen in the United States of America,” he said. “This is the catastrophe that does happen when we build up other countries instead of our own.”

“It used to be, cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint,” Trump said at the Wednesday rally.

Flint’s Democratic mayor Karen Weaver endorsed Clinton over then-opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders in January.

In March the International Business Times reported that during Clinton’s term as a U.S. Senator from New York, she opposed a bipartisan bill banning a controversial fuel additive, a possible carcinogen, that can seriously contaminate drinking water. The 2005 legislation stated that the compound had been found in U.S. water sources. The IBT report also noted that at the time she voted against the measure she was running for re-election and raised “more than $74,000 from the oil and gas industry, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.”

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