Russian Bank Owner, Congressman Charles Taylor, Votes Against Democratic Reforms in Russia

{cross posted from Scrutiny Hooligans}
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCharles Taylor is, first and foremost, a businessman. A banker, to be more precise, who survived a fraud scandal at his Blue Ridge Savings Bank due to a change in ethics rules in 1997. A banker who purchased 80% control of a Russian bank in September 2003. A banker who, when presented with an opportunity for more democratic reforms in Russia voted against it.

"Vote 641: H CON RES 312: Urges: (1) the government of the Russian Federation to withdraw the first draft of the proposed legislation that would restrict the establishment and activities of domestic, international, and foreign nongovernmental organizations in the Russian Federation, or to modify the proposed legislation to remove such restrictions; and (2) in the event that the first draft of such proposed legislation is not withdrawn, the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly to amend the legislation to ensure the establishment and autonomous operations of such nongovernmental organizations in accordance with the practices universally adopted by democracies, including the provisions regarding foreign assistance."

Now why would a man who has become entranched in the Russian business oligarchy vote against urging democratic reforms? Why would an American banker and Congressman choose to defy members of his own party on a bill that "Passed, 405-15, with 13 not voting"?

Taylor's Press Secretary, the lovely if histrionic Deborah Potter, was quoted as saying, "Taylor bought the Ivanovo bank not only to turn a profit but to promote democratic stability in Russia". Evidently Charles Taylor will make money in order to "promote democratic stability", but he will not cast a vote in the House of Representatives towards the same end.

Image Hosted by"U.S. Congressmen are permitted to have outside business interests as long as they keep them separate from their public service. For example, members of Congress are not to use their official position for personal gain or to vote on the House floor if they have a personal stake in the outcome."

Congressman Taylor is voting against democratic reform in Russia because he doesn't want to offend his business colleagues, the Russian oligarchs. If he's got some other reason for voting against democratic reform, he ought to come out and say so. Taylor's lonely stand against the Flight 93 memorial, which lasted almost a week after going public, is an example of how much spine he can show if thinks no one is looking. Well, Congressman Taylor, now we're looking. (828) 251-1988 is the number to call to ask Charles Taylor why he is against democracy.

Here's a handy link to Charles Taylor's voting record.



The guy really thinks nobody is watching.