Plastic Water Bottle Group Pays 23-1/2 Year Incumbent $8000 For Favorable Legislation
Tim Sheridan, the Democratic candidate for Congress in California’s 42nd District, today criticized 23-1/2 year incumbent Congressman Ken Calvert for his recent actions regarding bottled water, special interests and campaign contributions in his role as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.
In 2015, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) sought to change a regulation that gave the National Park Service the authority to prohibit the sale of bottled water at National Parks. The National Park Service had implemented the rule to reduce the amount of solid waste that National Parks must pay to dispose of and to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in landfills.
To accomplish its goal, the IBWA gave Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-PA) a $1000 contribution in 2015 to advocate for the change. Unfortunately, Mr. Rothfus was unable to get the job done.
Instead, the IBWA turned to Mr. Calvert, who, as Chair of the Interior, Environment Subcommittee, had the power that Mr. Rothfus did not have. As is commonplace in Washington, the IBWA started by giving Mr. Calvert $8000 in campaign contributions. Not surprisingly, Mr. Calvert soon inserted language favorable to the IBWA in the Subcommittee’s recent appropriations bill.
“I have to say,” Sheridan said, “Mr. Calvert’s brazen action of selling a rule change is shocking to me. It is a clear demonstration of what’s wrong in Washington.”
The IBWA had never previously given Mr. Calvert any money and the $8000 is twice what it had previously given to a member of Congress during one election cycle.
“As the Food & Water Watch organization said,” Sheridan noted, “Mr. Calvert had never previously expressed much interest in the National Parks’ beverage sales policies. That changed, however, when the IBWA essentially paid him off.”
Sheridan added that this quid pro quo between Mr. Calvert and the IBWA has real fiscal consequences.
“The bottom line is that Mr. Calvert’s action costs taxpayers more money in waste removal,” Sheridan said. “Equally importantly, it hurts our environment and trashes our National Parks. We can do better.”
California’s 42nd Congressional District, a geographical area shaped like the letter “X.” runs along the I-15 corridor from Eastvale, southeast to Temecula, and northeast along the I-215 and CA-79 corridors to Beaumont. It also includes the communities of Corona, Norco, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Murrieta, Menifee, Sun City, Winchester, Homeland and Nuevo. Mr. Sheridan lives in Lake Elsinore.