Cathy Reisenwitz

In 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) continued to shower GE with taxpayer money. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) branch of the DOE awarded GE with just over $11 million in grants to conduct basic research on projects ranging from batteries to natural gas vehicles to wind turbine research this year. These funds were in addition to other grants from prior years.

That’s not all. The DOE is funding development of new vehicle technologies through another source – Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance – and GE’s getting a $1.7 million piece of the $45 million pie. Caterpillar, Ford, 3M Company and General Motors are also cashing in on DOE’s generosity.

Finally, GE is getting about another $7 million from an $84 million bucket of taxpayer cash just announced in November, for two research projects related to carbon capture technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Big businesses like GE, not to mention Michigan’s powerful labor unions, cannot afford to let small-government types elect principled Republicans without a fight. There’s too much of your money at stake.

But that doesn’t mean the fight is over. Big business might be in Ellis’ corner, but small-government freedom fighters are backing Amash. Anti-cronyism crusaders from the Koch Brothers to the Club for Growth to Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are throwing money at Amash’s campaign. Individual libertarians are giving as well, such as the DeVos family. In addition, several small-government Republican congressmen have contributed to his campaign, including Reps. Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Raul Labrador (Idaho), Mick Mulvaney (S.C.) and Tim Huelskamp (Kansas). Even liberal law firm DLA Piper is contributing because of Amash’s staunch defenses of Americans against unconstitutional secret spying by the Obama Administration.

The Republican Party is at a critical moment with the Amash primary. We can be honest with ourselves for a moment. Many of our representatives in Congress have totally betrayed their small-government ideals and ignored their promises to cut spending and shrink the size and scope of government. For too many congresspeople, the temptation to kowtow to business interests by keeping the corporate welfare flowing is simply too great.

Justin Amash is a rare Republican. When a bill comes up with expands government, he’s a consistent “no” vote. Donohue and LaTourette absolutely correct that that makes him “unhelpful” to businesses used to sucking on the government teat. Government’s job isn’t to help businesses. It’s to get out of the way so the market can work.

There’s a reason Amash voted against his own party more than any other House Republican, and tied for second overall in party dissent. He didn’t betray his party. His party consistently betrays us, on behalf of big business.

Establishment Republicans have a lot to lose by ticking off corporate interests. That’s why they don’t do it much. The only recourse voters have is at the ballot box. Electing Justin Amash isn’t about one Republican versus another in Michigan. It’s about voters telling the GOP establishment that they have more than just big business to answer to regarding whose interests they’re representing. Electing Justin Amash will remind them that they must represent everyday American voters as well.


Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is a Young Voices Associate and a D.C.-based writer and political commentator.