Kiss goodbye to another bit of the Bill of Rights. After thirteen hours of delay, the shredding of the US Constitution resumed today, with only a few Senators — mainly Tea Party Republicans — having briefly stood in its way. Torture and assassination supporter John Brennan was just confirmed 63-34 with only three members of the Democratic caucus (Merkley, Leahy and Sanders) opposing him. The delay occurred because, as Kevin Gosztola of FireDogLake wrote yesterday:
The nomination of John Brennan to the position of CIA director is currently being held up by a filibuster being led by Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He has been joined by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah and even Democratic Senator Ron Wyden to ask “questions” of him as he filibusters.
Much of the motivation for standing on the Senate floor for the past hours has to do with the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to say outright that targeting and killing a US citizen suspected of plotting a terrorist attack on US soil, who did not pose an imminent threat, would be illegal. Paul submitted three letters and finally on March 5 Holder gave him an answer. However, it did not rule out the use of drone strikes and say this would be unconstitutional.
Several major donors to the Utah Senator have ties to Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican presidential candidate and a former Utah resident. Lee’s top donor by far, giving nearly $75,000, was APX Alarm (now Vivint), a Provo-based home security firm; its president is Alex Dunn, Mitt Romney’s former chief of staff. Murray Energy (third), an Ohio coal mining corporation run by prominent Romney supporter Robert E. Murray, fueled Lee’s campaign with $24,000, as did Provo dietary supplement sellers Nu Skin Enterprises (fourth).
Law firms edged out business services as Lee’s biggest industry. Huge corporate law firm Sidley Austin (second) contributed $28,000; mergers and acquisitions specialists Sullivan & Cromwell ranked sixth and bankruptcy law firm Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones 11th.
Many of Lee’s big donors came from his home state of Utah. Payday loan company Tosh Inc. (Check City) (fifth), has its headquarters in Provo. Herbal supplement manufacturers Basic Research (seventh) work out of Salt Lake City, as does billboard company Reagan Outdoor Advertising (eighth). Online marketing business Omniture (tenth), acquired by software multinational Adobe, was moved from Orem to Lehi. Draper professional services firm NPEC (12th-19th) gave $10,000, while Saint George energy company Paydirt Capital, Salt Lake City’s Perry Homes, and Centerville investment advisors Wealth Navigation (20th-23rd) all donated $9,600.
Other significant contributors to Lee include the world’s largest software company, Microsoft (ninth). $10,000 donations came in from lobbying groups the American Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors; and political action committees OrrinPAC, representing Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, former Senator Jim DeMint’s Tea Party Senate Conservatives Fund, and the pro-Israel Citizens Organized. Pharmacy services company Medco Health Solutions gave $10,000 too, while venture capital firm Northgate Capital (20th-23rd) gave $9,600.