Back from PDF Conference in NYC; how is Tom Ridge like Adil Hoxha?; more mortgage disclosures; congressional ethics office empty; and more failed challenges from Hall of Shame indictee William Jefferson.
For two years, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge failed to disclose that he lobbied and consulted for Albania. After a Justice Department interview Ridge decided to finally file a disclosure under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Despite assurances from spokesmen at Ridge’s consulting firm, Ridge Global, that Ridge was not involved in any lobbying in the U.S., his disclosure lists meetings with congressmen on behalf of Albania. Perhaps more disturbing than this disclosure oversight is the reality of the Justice Department’s intervention, which was spurred not by oversight or investigation, but by media reports. I’d like to think that oversight of foreign lobbyists was not led by someone reading the Washington Post for clues and nothing else.
The Politico’s effort to get senators to reveal the mortgages on their personal residences is continuing along as only 15 senators have refused to answer.
Created earlier this year to provide an independent check on ethics, the Office of Congressional Ethics will be statutorily functional in two weeks. There’s only one problem: the office has yet to be staffed. In fact, according to Roll Call, none of the top prospects in academia, law, and retired lawmakers have been contacted. Rep. Steny Hoyer gets about as obtuse as possible when saying, “We established an ethics office.” Okay, now staff it.
Rep. William Jefferson, at the center of a Nigerian phone scam gone wrong, lost another challenge in court. Jefferson tried to get statements he made while the FBI searched his house and questioned him thrown out of court because he was not read his Miranda rights. Of course, police only need to read Miranda rights if you are arrested.