In Broad Daylight: News from Congress

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Today’s news from Capitol Hill includes the never ending Jack Abramoff investigation, congressional staff still running for K Street, and the growing effects of transparency on the lobbying profession:

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff will finally face sentencing this September for his role in bribing members of Congress, executive branch officials, and staffers while bilking Indian tribes for millions of dollars. This doesn’t mean the investigation is slowing down, in fact, expect more indictments and targets to emerge this summer. What’s important: “federal investigators appear to have ‘moved beyond Abramoff … they are into a whole other layer of people who could supply them with more information even than he could.'”

The Abramoff investigation spreads, as noted above, as a New York lobbying firm is raided by the FBI. The FBI is investigating former congressman John Sweeney’s ties to the convicted lobbyist.

A Roll Call investigation finds that 60 out of 100 senior congressional staff have gone through the revolving door in the past year.

Alabama Rep. Artur Davis earmarked funds to two community colleges that paid the salary of one of his district aides.

Lobbyists are peeved that the Bush administration is putting the kibosh on last-minute rule-making, the pot o’ gold at the end of rainbow for regulatory lobbyists.

And, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act is already forcing lobbyists to rethink their behavior. Why? One word: Transparency.

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