Today’s News:

  • Roll Call tells Congress to "Start Over" on lobbying and ethics reform instead of heading forward, "[i]n typical GOP fashion," in manufacturing a compromise before the conference committee meets. The newspaper calls the reform the "Big Nothing" as it fails to fix the inherent problems in the matrix between lobbyists and Congress. The revolving door is a specific case that is not adequately addressed, a problem considering the revelations about members of Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis‘ (R-Calif.) staff ferrying between K Street and Capitol Hill.
  • The Columbus Dispatch points to the key outcome of the David Safavian guilty verdict, that Bob Ney (R-Ohio) is in deep trouble. The Safavian trial cements Ney’s former chief of staff Neil Volz as a credible witness and also provides the prosecution with the ability to coerce more plea agreements from staffers and former staffers of lawmakers. The prosecution’s success could signal movement towards other indictments sooner rather than later.
  • Looks like Dennis Hastert‘s (R-Ill.) earmarks are finding enemies within his own party. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) fired a shot across the bow at Hastert over an earmark Hastert inserted into the defense appropriations bill that would benefit a technology company headed by a former aide to the Speaker. Flake intends on offering an amendment to strip the earmark from the bill.
  • Abbe Lowell, the lawyer for Jack Abramoff, pens an op-ed in USA Today that lambasts the Congress for not acting on real reform. He pinpoints the problem in the nexus of money and fundraising work provided by lobbyists who have a particular interest in legislation.
  • Laura Rozen gives a round-up of the allegations and discoveries in the investigation into Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) in this month’s American Prospect.