Is Austin Scott Working for Constituents or Washington Lobbyists?

In the Washington Post today, Dana Milbank writes about the one piece of legislation freshman Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) has introduced since coming to Congress. Milbank writes:

Scott introduced the bill abolishing Legal Services exactly three days after it became public that Legal Services had won a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determination that Georgia’s Hamilton Growers “engages in a pattern or practice of regularly denying work hours and assigning less favorable assignments to U.S. workers, in favor of H2-A guestworkers.” Hamilton also “engages in a pattern or practice of discharging U.S. workers and replacing them with H-2A guestworkers,” the EEOC determined.

Or, as Milbank puts it, “Scott chose to side with a large employer of foreign migrants in his district — against his out-of-work constituents. “

But, that's not the whole story.

The owner of Hamilton Growers, Kent Hamilton, sits on the board of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association.

In the first quarter of 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the association lobbied on “Legal Services” and “H2A Reform,” something that this company in his district clearly had trouble with.

In March of this year Scott received $2,500 in campaign contributions from Robert Redding, the lobbyist for the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, according to Scott’s campaign filings with the FEC. His wife, Laura Redding, made a $475 donation to Scott’s campaign. Neither made donations to Scott in his 2010 election. Three of the four donations came just days before and after a fundraiser Rep. Scott held with his fellow freshmen Republican members of the Agriculture Committee on March 14th.

Scott introduced his legislation on August 1st. His campaign finance filings covering that date are due at the end of September. We’ll be interested to see if any similar donations—from Redding, Hamilton, or others—came in after that.