Senate’s Conrad Cashes Out

(5 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

North Dakota “Democratic” Senator Kent Conrad, 62, has announced he is not going to run for re election in 2012. He is the current majority Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.   He is also on Agriculture Nutrition Forestry, Finance, and Indian Affairs committees.  Kent Conrad

Conrad said he would serve out his term.

“Although I will not seek re-election, my work is not done,” Conrad said in his statement. “I will continue to do my level best for both North Dakota and the nation.”…

He says he’s going to spend his remaining time and energy trying to reduce the national debt and dependence on foreign oil.  And working on a Farm Bill.…

Senator Kent Conrad’s legacy will include recommending former OMB head Peter Orszag for his White House position early in the Obama administration (Orszag sharing Conrad’s curious blind spot on what drives the deficit, see more of that here:…    ) , being a phony “deficit hawk,”  who couldn’t see anything wrong with increased military budgets and decreasing domestic needs being met, and opposing the Public Option during the Health Care reform legislative battle. Voting for reducing the payroll tax that funds Social Security, and for continuing the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest in Dec of 2010 during the Lame Duck Session.…    Oh, and being part of that Democratic Senate Supermajority of 2009 That Didn’t Do Any Energy Policy, Global Climate Change,  or Tax Code Changes.  Other than a lot of stimulus money got earmarked for “research.”

Kent Conrad was also on the President Obama Deficit (“Catfood Commision”) Committee of 2010, which called for cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

“You know, a certain amount of this is shock therapy,” Conrad said. “There are different options and, of course, what everybody has fastened on is the most extreme of the options. But, look, the important thing for people to know is that we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. That’s utterly unsustainable. It can’t continue much longer, so it’s got to be dealt with.”

“Fundamentally, if we’re going to raise revenue, I don’t think the way to do it is to raise rates. I think the way to do it is to eliminate some of the loopholes that exist in the system,” the senator said.  

November 14, 2010.  Kent Conrad in an interview with Christiane Amanpour on “This Week” about the Deficit Commission…

Conrad received 93% of his donations from out of state, with the top metro areas being the Washington DC Maryland Virginia West Virginia areas, Chicago, New York, and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

His top 5 Contributors during the years 2005 to 2010 were:

DaVita- specializes in kidney dialysis (think Medicare $ )

Amgen- pharmaceuticals, biologicals that are injected such as Enbrel, Neupogen

Law offices of Peter G Angelos

Baron & Budd

Robbins, Kaplan et al

(but let’s not forget Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Waters Kraus, JP Morgan Chase, Herbalife, Carlyle Group …  thank you, opensecrets…  )

and his top 5 categories of donors were:

Lawyers  ( surprise. not. )

Investors & Securities


Health Care


But it has been the resurgence of the oil industry in North Dakota and the development of the Bakken shale formation that has helped turn Conrad into just another Senator not very interested in other things on that platform the Democrats ran on in 2006 and 2008, for those wondering how such a state so small in population could otherwise seem to rank such political deference.

Feb 26, 2010 WSJ…

The Bakken Shale had helped North Dakota oil production double in the past three years, surging to 80 million barrels in 2009-tiny relative to the more than seven billion barrels consumed by the U.S. every year, but enough to vault the state past Oklahoma and Louisiana to become the country’s fourth-biggest oil producer, after Texas, Alaska and California. If current projections hold, North Dakota’s oil production could pass Alaska’s by the end of the decade.

The Bakken Shale could contain up to 4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That would make it the biggest oil field discovered in the contiguous U.S. in more than 40 years-and many in the industry believe the amount of recoverable oil could be even greater as new technology allows companies to tap more of it.

U.S. oil production has fallen by nearly 50% since its peak in the 1970s. Even with the Bakken Shale, U.S. oil production isn’t expected to ever return to 1970s levels, and even the most optimistic projections of production from the North Dakota field don’t account for more than a small fraction of total U.S. oil demand.

The United States started importing oil in the 1970’s.   As of the year 2000, we were using 6.6 billion barrels a year. To put it in scale, that entire ND Bakken oil reservoir wouldn’t last the entire country a year.…

But now we’re up to 7.5 billion barrels of oil usage a year, or 20 million + barrels a day.…

The Bakken formation is now such an economic oil boom for western North Dakota that the state is running a budget surplus, and Conrad visited the area last June, along with John Boyd of EOG Resources, one of the oil companies drilling there, and said the area was so important the federal government should try to assist their local housing shortage as best as it could.

North Dakota Petroleum Council Industry News, 6/3/10

Conrad and Pomeroy thanked everyone for their testimony, which will be used in upcoming negotiations for the new Highway Bill.

Dan Sullivan with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Richard Davis with the U.S. Department of Agriculture also testified about federal housing programs and their work with North Dakota.

Also speaking at the meeting were John Boyd from EOG Resources, Jessica Thomasson from Lutheran Social Services, Matt Miles of Leadership Circle, LLC.

The last time I checked, highway bills funded… roads, not new houses.

Conrad was also into pushing ethanol (think GMO corn) and coal to liquid fuels. And for more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico via his BOLD Energy Act, which didn’t go anywhere.…

Alternate fuel ideas are great, just not the ones take take more energy to produce than they give back in return….  Brazil produces a lot of ethanol, but they do it by growing sugar cane in the tropics.

We are running out of something vital. An atmosphere sans carbon.  Let’s use it up as fast as we can. Blame the Liberals.  Headdesk.

Make no mistake, Senator Kent Conrad is not going to be looking to reduce the Pentagon’s budget, (perpetual warfare is convenient ! )  but he’s already shown by his previous work on the Catfood Commission that his role in the Senate Village Rotation of Villains isn’t quite done yet –  and the Social Security/Medicare Safety Net, which the Democrats used to guard so fiercely, is up for grabs if he starts peeling off and voting with the Republicans.  


edit. added portrait pic of Conrad, put half of diary below intro box.  


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  1. …. the problem with all these attorneys donating to these politicians via their associated companies, is that it makes it much harder to trace what and which investment equity firms are influencing various officeholders.  Everything is being done on a wink and a smile of implied future “confidence” in the markets.  

    • TMC on January 18, 2011 at 23:55

    He is now free to do as much damage as he can before he leaves. The seat will go Republican in 2012 no matter who the Democrats run. Orzag is just another Wall St. corporate shill who has helped bring down the Democratic Party as a party of the people.

    • TMC on January 18, 2011 at 23:57

    is Lieberman is going to announce that he won’t run. Perhaps, the CT voters can counter the “loss” of Conrad’s seat with a real Democrat.

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