Tuesday, April 25, 2006
For the 109th Congress, It Is Business As Usual
The Lawmakers and Their Patrons, the Lobbyists
- Privately paid travel, such as the lavish golfing trips to Scotland that Mr. Abramoff arranged for members? "Private travel has been abused by some, and I believe we need to put an end to it," said Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). But that was January; this is now. Privately funded trips wouldn't be banned under the House bill, just "suspended" until Dec. 15 (yes, just after the election) while the House ethics committee, that bastion of anemic do-nothingness, ostensibly develops recommendations.
- Meals and other gifts from lobbyists? "I believe that it's also very important for us to proceed with a significantly stronger gift ban, which would prevent members and staff from personally benefiting from gifts from lobbyists," said Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) in -- you guessed it -- January. Now, Mr. Dreier's bill would leave the current gift limits unchanged.