The Post Register recently published an editorial asking this question why Sen. Mike Crapo isn’t on the Appropriations Committee.

Jim Key

Jim Key

As I have mentioned in previous commentaries, together with another INL manager, we had a discussion with Crapo during a fundraiser preceding his first election to the Senate. He asked what he should focus on and I replied — “take a page out of Senator Pete Dominici’s book.”

Senator Domenici was a dominant force in building up DOE’s Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. Mike Simpson has followed a similar course in the House.

Crapo seemed interested but noncommittal.

Crapo viewed his election to the Senate as a career path and planned accordingly. Hindsight indicates that he was never interested in energy or advanced technology and therefore was not particularly interested in the INL. He will undoubtedly cite all the bills he has supported by signing on — a tepid level of support that only requires as much work as signing your name.

Writing bills and their sponsorship means you actually have skin in the game and actively promote the legislation.

Crapo always sought committees in the House and Senate that dealt with banking and related financial matters. As he gained seniority, he had more choices of committee assignments and while every state needs representation in financial policy, Idaho is not exactly the financial center of the United States. But it does have a major role in nuclear energy.

So, Senator Crapo made his career decisions based on Willie Sutton’s logic when asked why he robbed banks — “because that’s where the money is.“

Crapo has never had a problem with campaign financing and a review I made last year of his campaign donations shows just how lucrative his plan has been. This review will be updated and the subject of a future article at an appropriate time.

Thursday night and Friday morning major media announced that the US Senate had passed a bill to limit the US role in the Yemen war with a 56-41 majority, which is an amazing win for bipartisan support, especially in this deeply divided Congress. Media coverage goes on to report that pro-Saudi lobbying groups had made campaign donations to at least five of the 37 Republican Senators that opposed the bill.

Guess who was on the list of five? Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Richard Burr, Tim Scott, and Mike Crapo.

While there are tactical reasons for supporting Saudi Arabia in order to contain Iran, this war is causing widespread starvation, disease and dislocation.

The New York Times published an article, “End This Shameful War” on December 12 that showed a 12-year old Yemeni girl that weighs just 28 pounds. One has to be pretty callous to ignore participation in a war that has left 12 million Yeminis on the brink of famine and the possible death of 85,000 children.

I hope Post Register readers will call on Crapo to explain why he is still supporting this war for a relatively small campaign donation. It appears his asking price can be as little as $1000.

A larger question is: Where do the needs of Idaho rank in his career plans?

Jim Key is a former manager of the INL Materials Research Department who lives in Idaho Falls.

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