Scandals Continue to Take Toll


If Jack Abramoff were a horror movie monster I would not want to be Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), AKA Bob Ney. Last night, the former wonderboy of the Right Ralph Reed lost convincingly in the Georgia Lt. Governor Republican primary to Casey Cagle, 54%-46%. Reed saw his stock plummet as the lobbying and grassroots work he did with his buddy Jack Abramoff poured out of Senate hearings and court documents into the newspapers. The former head of the Christian Coalition, his eyes set on the Presidency, felled himself by showing his true colors. Mike Crowley at TNR’s The Plank writes that “Jack Abramoff can so far be officially credited with destroying three careers (Reed, Tom DeLay, and David Safavian).” Despite what some have said the money-in-politics scandals are taking their toll on Washington.

Today, another member of Congress, Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), denied being a target in the investigation into activities by Duke Cunningham briber Mitchell Wade. As Justin Rood notes, Harris has entered into the fourth stage of scandal-dom:

This puts Harris at Stage IV of the TPMmuckraker Political Scandal Process (TM). Stages I-III include:

– Allegations of wrongdoing appearing in media
– Hiring of expensive lawyer
– News of federal investigation appearing in media.

Stage IV is the denial that the lawmaker is, in fact, a target.

I think we get where this is going. Then we have Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) starring in his very own Duke Cunningham spin-off scandal along side lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Bill Lowery and the model for all corrupt Californians, Brent Wilkes. Now we find out that Lewis received valuable stock from a friend whose wife sat on the board of the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation, “a branch of Loma Linda University Medical Center,” which received a $200 million earmark courtesy of Lewis. Looks like members can still beat the market — if they dole out earmarks appropriately.

And of course all of these members falling under the eye of federal investigators means were going to get some reform sometime soon, right? (chirp chirp) Probably not. You see, the House Majority Leader is Rep. John Boehner (R-Lobbyists). The New York Times recently reported on Boehner’s shenanigans with lobbyists and uncovered that the guy who ran on a platform of reform “has raised campaign contributions at a rate of about $10,000 a day since February, surpassing the pace set by former Representative Tom DeLay after he became majority leader in 2002”. Wow, he’s out-DeLaying DeLay! Boehner’s campaign committees “recently hired two people from lobbying groups for the financial and insurance industries” while “[m]ore than 10 of Mr. Boehner’s former staff members have gone to work for lobbying firms”.

Out with the old and in with the…old?