News for the Afternoon:

  • Roll Call reports that the lobbying reform bill is "stuck in limbo" thanks to the inclusion of 527 reform in the House reform package. Does anybody think that this bill is going anywhere? No. It doesn’t matter much since the reforms that are included in the bills fall far short of what is needed to fix the problems in Congress. It does demonstrate that even after such high-profile guilty pleas and investigations that the leaders in Congress refuse to fix the inherent problems in the system that led to those abuses and guilty pleas.
  • Glenn Reynolds provides a Pork Busters update at Instapundit. He provides links to a Heritage Foundation report on reforming the budget process, the new-fangled Pork Busters site, and to a group that has the name Sunlight in its name.
  • If Homeland Security is supposed to be so important (and personally I think not getting blown up and emergency disaster assitance are pretty important things) then please explain why everyone wants to cash out of the Department. The New York Times wants to know too:

    "If homeland security is the central concern of the Bush administration, one wonders how it managed to create a department in which so many of the top brass were so eager to quit the crusade so soon and cash in so efficiently. But the worst effect of this kind of take-the-money-and-run mentality is on the people left behind. How many of them, having watched others land lucrative jobs as lobbyists, will temper their own judgments about what systems to buy and what consultants to use with an eye on their own private-sector prospects?"

  • The San Bernardino Sun keeps reporting on the lobbying and earmarking scandal surrounding their local congressman [sw: Jerry Lewis] (R-Calif.). San Bernardino County released 3,500 pages of documents related to their contacts with Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, the lobbying firm in question in the scandal. The documents reveal that San Bernardino used the lobbying firm to develop "strategies to get federal funding," work on "problems with endangered species," and "arranging meetings with senator and Congressmen". The key question is why on earth did a county represented by Lewis need to hire a lobbying firm to make contact with their representative. This should be completely unnecessary and it looks rather peculiar.
  • And finally a noted conservative opponent of earmarking, [sw: Mike Pence] (R-Ind.), defended his own earmarks to CongressDaily. Pence, who has been a vocal opponent of earmarking and pork-barrel funding, was forced to defend two earmarks that he placed into the recently passed Transportation-Treasury appropriations bill. Pence’s spokesman stated that the congressman, "stands by his earmark requests." Pence also stated that he supports earmark reform but does not wish to do away with the process entirely. Of course, his defense of his own earmarks sounds much like the defense given by so many others who have been criticized.