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Steelman calls for 'Super Committee' to refuse PAC, lobbyist money

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 3, 2011 - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman has a launched a web petition drive to ask members of Congress named to the new "super committee'' to refuse money from lobbyists and political action committees.

Steelman, a former Missouri state treasurer, said in an emailed message late Tuesday that she was concerned about a report on the news website Politico that "quoted an unnamed Democratic lobbyist who said he was preparing for the committee's eventual deliberations by 'writing 12 really large checks.' "

The 12-person super committee is part of the debt-ceiling deal. Six members from each political party (three from the House and three from the Senate) are to decide by November how to cut $1.5 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years.

"Thousands of lobbyists are just waiting to cut their special deal to preserve their piece of the pie," Steelman said. "The leaders of both parties should only appoint members who agree to this pledge prior to serving on the committee."

"This is not the time for our representatives in Washington to crawl back into their smoke-filled rooms and cut deals that put powerful special interests ahead of the people," Steelman said. "To get out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression we must get the debt under control and put our country on firm financial footing."

Steelman called on Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to "support her call for a clean committee and for transparency by making all of its deliberations public."

Steelman is hoping to oust McCaskill in 2012. First, Steelman must compete in the GOP primary, where she is expected to face U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, and possibly businessman John Brunner.

Steelman did not ask that her two Republican rivals join her in the "super committee'' pledge, nor did she make the same request of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Blunt told reporters Tuesday that he did not expect to be asked to serve on the committee. Neither does McCaskill, aides say.

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