Dow Chemical’s Congressman: Gade Was ‘Unprofessional, Vindictive and Insulting’

Mary Gade, the Midwest regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency who resigned last Thursday, laid the blame on her ongoing efforts to compel Dow Chemical to clean up its decades-old dioxin pollution from its flagship plant in Midland, Michigan. Gade is a lifelong Republican who has been praised by Democrats and environmentalists as “one of the most seasoned and experienced environmental policy-makers in the country,” “a woman of unquestioned credentials and integrity,” and “a highly-qualified and well-regarded official.”

Dave Camp (R-MI)
Dave Camp (R-MI)

But Michael Hawthorne reports for the Chicago Tribune that there is at least one official who disagrees:

In 20 years of public life I have never encountered a more unprofessional, vindictive and insulting government official,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), whose wife is a former Dow attorney.

What could possibly motivate the nine-term Republican congressman representing Michigan’s Fourth District to make such a strongly worded statement?

Dave Camp Is A Dow Chemical Millionaire. Camp graduated from Midland Dow High School in 1971. In 1994, he married Nancy Keil, an attorney who was working for Dow Chemical at the time. Based on financial disclosure statments, Rep. Dave Camp is worth $3.6 million to $6.9 million, including Dow Chemical Co. stock valued at $500,001 to $1 million and his wife Nancy’s Dow Chemical 401(k) at $100,001 to $250,000. [Detroit News, 7/7/06]

Dow Chemical Fills Dave Camp’s Campaign Coffers. In his freshman term in 1990, Camp received “more than $100,000 from Dow Chemical sources,” the most money any member of Congress received then from any single company. Camp has received at least $298,685 in campaign contributions from Dow Chemical in his career. [Los Angeles Times, 7/1/1992; Center for Responsive Politics]

Dave Camp Scores Zero On The Environment. The League of Conservation Voters gave Rep. Camp (R-MI) a zero rating for the 110th Congress based on twenty key environmental votes this session. He has not scored above 10% in the last decade. [LCV Scorecard]

Dave Camp Believes In Federal Taxdollars Paying To Clean Up The Great Lakes. Press releases on Rep. Camp’s website call for the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act to be funded at $20 million a year instead of $16 million, promote the passage of the $1.71 billion Water Quality Investment Act, and celebrate the $2.75 million in local watershed earmarks he included in the 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Act. Dow Chemical, the 169th largest company in the world, had sales of $53.5 billion in 2007. [Rep. Camp press releases;]

Dave Camp is only one of several Michigan political officials with strong ties to Dow Chemical who have fought environmental regulation of its dioxin pollution. On September 29, 2004, Camp told the Detroit Free Press, “We have a party responsible for the contamination who wants to do the right thing.” Somehow, Dow Chemical has still managed to avoid cleaning up the waterways downstream of its plant, which it has been operating since 1897.

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