Lawmakers with hands out and the pervasive Influence of Lobbyists
From The Washington Post
: "Do I have K Street friends? Yes, I do," Boehner said. "Do I have relationships with them? Yes. And every one of them is an ethical relationship
." Does he take us for fools ? Read more.
- In years past, when the House has recessed for its winter break, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has decamped for warmer climates and a sailing trip to the Caribbean with some of the city's top lobbyists, including Henry Gandy of the well-connected Duberstein Group and Timothy McKone of SBC Communications.
- Over the summer, they discussed a trip for this year as well, Boehner said yesterday, but last week the lobbyists weighed anchor without him, content to communicate by telephone while the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee rushed to Washington for a high-stakes run to succeed Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) as House majority leader.
- The annual vacation, dubbed a "boys' trip" by detractors, points to an issue underlying the current House leadership race: Both Boehner and his rival for majority leader, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), have extensive ties to the same K Street lobbying world that stained DeLay's reputation and spawned the Abramoff corruption scandal.
- Both camps this week have been pointing to the other's well-documented connections and activities, some of which are the stuff of legends. They include Blunt's failed effort to insert a provision benefiting Philip Morris USA into the massive bill creating the Department of Homeland Security and Boehner's distribution of checks from tobacco concerns in 1995 to lawmakers on the House floor. Also of note are both men's prodigious fundraising activities, some of which involve individuals and clients with ties to Abramoff.
The lawmakers are going through contortions to prove that their hands are clean. The records tell us that it is a temporary phase. Once the dust from the Abramoff scandal settles they will be back doing what they do well--accept and grant favors. The only solution is drastic reform of campaign finance laws and that is not likely to happen.
reported in the Post
on January 7th about a recent AP-Ipsos poll which indicated that "........Americans are leaning toward wanting a change in which political party leads Congress _ preferring that Democrats take control........
" Midterm elections are ten months away. If the wave of dissatisfaction with how Republicans handle the nation's business continues we might see Democrats back in control. That does not assure us of a clean government free from influence of 'K' Street but cleaner in comparison with what the rapacious Republicans have been doing. Drunk sailors ?
But that is not a fair analogy. I have known many sailors, drunk and sober. I would prefer their company any day over that of a Republican legislator.