After Barack Obama signed ObamaCare into law, publicly-traded corporations that allow retirees to remain on their prescription medication coverage plans had to announce write-downs against future earnings because of the end of a tax credit for keeping retirees off of Medicare Part D. Henry Waxman demanded that the CEOs come to a Congressional hearing to explain themselves, and then made the same demand when the American Farm Bureau publicly opposed his cap-and-trade bill. Today, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) ripped Waxman on the House floor, claiming that Waxman’s attempts at political intimidation flew in the face of the First Amendment:
Barton’s speech had one surprising and salutary effect: Waxman has apparently canceled these hearings.
Not only is Barton right about the intimidation, but Waxman’s tirade regarding ObamaCare flies in the face of the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations Waxman himself supported. Under those laws, any information of adverse impact on earnings has to be publicly disclosed at the earliest possible time, in order to ensure that investors aren’t deceived about a company’s prospects. AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, Verizon, and the others making such announcements had no choice. In fact, Democrats know full well that these companies will have to pay higher taxes, because they themselves argued that eliminating the tax credit would create over $5 billion in revenue from the change in the next ten years.
Simply put, those hearings had no other purpose than intimidation.
Update: The Boss Emeritus has more on Waxman’s next target.