From Right Democrat:
Tragedy struck a Georgia factory in February when combustible dust caught fire and exploded at the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, killing 14 workers and injuring many more.
Now, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), an opponent of working families who’s in a tough runoff to defend his Senate seat, is facing questions about whether he improperly aided Imperial in its efforts to avoid the consequences of its negligence.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) hit the company with $5 million in fines for “willful and egregious safety violations” over the blast. And a Senate subcommittee held a hearing in July, finding that Imperial had no plan to deal with the dangerous combustible dust and ignored warnings about plant safety.
During that hearing, Chambliss—who has received $21 thousand in campaign contributions this election cycle from the sugar industry—berated a corporate whistle-blower who exposed the dangerous conditions at the plant.
Mark Tate, an attorney representing families of two workers killed in the blast as well as two injured workers, has subpoenaed Chambliss to testify about his involvement in trying to protect Imperial Sugar from consequences of the explosion. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Chambliss is accused of interfering with the case both inside and outside of Congress.
Tate says he wants to know if Imperial Sugar executives persuaded Chambliss to sharply criticize a company whistle-blower during a July Senate hearing on the explosion. He says he also wants the senator to respond to plaintiffs’ claims that the company arranged a meeting between Chambliss and victims’ families to dissuade them from suing.
Chambliss is refusing to answer the subpoena and testify about his actions, but Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says his claims of immunity don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Neither does the anti-worker record of Chambliss. He has opposed workers’ interests on issues like the minimum wage and overtime protection. Chambliss needs to put workers first and come clean about his relationship with Imperial Sugar.
Chambliss’ opponent in the Senate race, Jim Martin, has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO. www.martinforsenate.com
For more information on the shameless record of Saxby Chambliss, check out this website.