Not much news today. A Chicago congressman gets caught up in a widening local investigation into the political fixing of zoning by developers. Sen. Ted Stevens is still fighting back as more rats jump ship.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez is catching flack in the Chicago Tribune for lobbying Mayor Richard Daley to support a “controversial multimillion-dollar development for a campaign contributor who had just lent the congressman $200,000 in a real estate deal.” This all has to do with a development project spearheaded by Calvin Boender, who was involved in the Galewood Yards project. The project that Rep. Gutierrez lobbied in support of was not located in his congressional district. Over the years, Rep. Gutierrez received at least $5,000 in campaign contributions from Boender. The information regarding the congressman’s lobbying of Mayor Daley, a letter written on U.S. House stationary dated July 7, 2004, was obtained as part of a federal grand jury investigation into potential pay-to-play politics in the city’s zoning decisions.
Sen. Ted Stevens is doing all he can to fight back against his seven convictions for making false statements on his personal financial disclosures. Today, the Alaska senator asked the Justice Department to begin an investigation into the conduct of the prosecution in his case. Stevens is asking Attorney General Michael Mukasey to appoint an impartial investigator to look into the “numerous, serious constitutional violations” by the prosecution. Meanwhile, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and South Carolina’s two Republican senators called for Sen. Stevens to resign his seat.