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The Bill Cassidy Chemical Duty Mystery (Resolved)

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why former Louisiana 6th District Representative Richard Baker was so eager to suspend the import duty on the chemicals cyclopentanone and glyoxylic acid. FEC data show, after all, that Baker was a recipient of campaign contributions from the American chemical industry. And it’s not hard to figure out why a suspension of the import duty on these two chemicals would be of benefit to the American chemical industry: the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that millions of dollars of duties wouldn’t have to be paid if these duties were suspended.

But here’s what I can’t figure out: why is Bill Cassidy, Baker’s replacement as Representative for Louisiana’s 6th District, sponsoring exactly the same bills that Baker did? There’s no evidence of campaign contributions to Cassidy by members of the chemical industry; his major contributors are from medicine, and these chemicals are for adding flavor and fragrance. The petitioners to the USITC for import duty relief don’t appear to be from industries in Louisiana’s 6th District, either.

So what’s in it for Bill Cassidy? The chances that the successor to Richard Baker would sponsor the same bills he did without some common underlying factor are close to nil. So what gives here? I’m stumped. Any insight you can throw onto this big pile of “huh” would be appreciated.

Updated: Aha. The Rhodia corporation, the major petitioner on this project, lists its address on most documents as New Jersey. But in one document, it lists its address as Baton Rouge, Louisiana… right smack dab in the middle of Bill Cassidy’s district. And in case you’re curious, while some Rhodia employees in New Jersey contributed money to the campaigns of Richard Baker, no Rhodia employees living anywhere appear to have contributed any money to Rep. Cassidy.

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