Liberal columnists at The Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution appear to have embraced the TEA Party and have raised the alarm that the ideals of grassroots movement are being undermined.
The WP’s Dana Milbank and the AJC’s Jay Bookman are concerned that legislation introduced by freshman Georgia Representative Austin Scott to defund the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has betrayed the TEA Party. This reveals a surprising, and heretofore suppressed, paternal concern by Messrs. Milbank and Bookman toward the conservative organization.
For readers who cringe at tortured logic, Milbank’s column is helpfully entitled, “How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots”. Leave aside for a moment that while Scott (GA-8) is a conservative, he has not claimed the TEA Party mantle. Relegate Milbank’s confusion of legal immigrant workers and illegal immigrants to an innocent lack of understanding. What’s left? Milbank accuses Scott of acting in the best interests of agri-business in his home district.
Scott introduced his legislation a few days after Legal Services Corporation (LSC) issued a press release stating that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled against a Georgia company in a case brought forth by the LSC. The company, Hamilton Growers, is located in the small (pop. 849) South Georgia town of Norman Park, which is Austin Scott’s congressional district.
LSC filed suit on behalf of 17 U. S. citizens who claim they were discriminated against by the company in favor of immigrant workers from Mexico on the H2A guest worker program. Clearly, if a company discriminates against American citizens, then it has violated the law and the law should be enforced. Let’s not confuse the LSC with justice, however.
The LSC has been controversial since its inception in 1974, often being accused of showing more concern for using the courtroom to create social change than seeking justice for individuals. The federally-funded organization does not aid in criminal defense, but provides services to low-income individuals suing in civil court. LSC’s 2011 budget was approved at $420 million, a huge war chest with which to wage litigation. It’s no wonder that many small businesses, including farmers, often settle out of court rather than spend a greater amount on defense attorneys.
In Jay Bookman’s AJC column on this same topic, we learn that LSC has already collected over $2 million from Georgia agricultural businesses in the form of financial judgments and settlements. Most came in the form of out-of-court settlements. Regardless of why LSC came to Representative Scott’s attention, his legislation would defang a taxpayer-funded viper that is injurious to Georgia business.
Decide for yourselves if liberal columnists are attempting to aid the TEA Party or if they are looking to drive a wedge between TEA Party activists and Republicans. Also consider if continued funding of a federal agency designed to increase legal action using tax dollars is, indeed, something the TEA Party would favor.