- One day after Jack Abramoff was sentenced to 70 months in prison House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “offered a privileged resolution today calling for an immediate investigation into Abramoff’s ties to members of Congress and staffers,” according to The Fix’s Chris Cillizza. The resolution was defeated 216-193 with the vote coming largely along party lines. Six Republicans joined the Democrats in voting for the resolution, two more voted “present”, while the five Democrats on the ethics committee, “presumably to preserve them from accusations of bias as they continue to urge an investigation into ethics breaches of House members linked to Abramoff,” also voted “present.”
- Mark Tapscott at Tapscott’s Copy Desk was mighty excited about an amendment to the Senate lobbying reform legislation that was proposed by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL) yesterday:
The Coburn/OBama amendment directs the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to establish a publicly available database of the more than $300 billion the federal government spends each year via contracts and grants to more than 30,000 groups, businesses and organizations.
Making public data about the recipients of that $300 billion chunk of the federal budget and how they spend the tax dollars would remove the biggest roadblock to public accountability that makes Pork Barrel spending possible – You can’t track pork barrel if you don’t who gets the money.
But then Trent Lott (R-MS) came along and killed the amendment:
The Senate’s Rule 22 refers to the germaneness – i.e. relevance – of a proposed amendment. Translated from the Washington legislatese in which senators and congressmen so often hide, this means Lott thinks making sure the public can see who is getting more than $300 billion of their tax dollars has nothing to do with congressional ethics.
Put another way, Lott just told taxpayers to butt out.