Lindsay Renick Mayer of the Center for Responsive Politics writes on OpenSecrets.org about PMA Group, the lobbying firm that specialized in defense appropriations and that is reportedly under investigation for campaign finance irregularities:
No matter how we slice and dice the data related to contributions from embattled lobbying firm PMA Group and its clients, Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.), chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, remains at or near the top of the recipient list, along with Reps. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.). This week, though, we took yet another look at the contributions from the firm ...Continue reading
It appears that <a href="http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081117/D94GUIK80.html">the auto bailout</a> is stalled for now, as congressional leadership and the Bush administration have come to loggerheads over providing $25 to $50 billion in loans to General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler.
I found it interesting that, as of December 2007 (the most recent date for which disclosures are available), just 27 of the 535 members of Congress owned stock in at least one of the big three automakers, according to <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org">Open Secrets</a>. They disclosed holdings worth ...Continue reading
In late July this year, two North Carolina state legislators and a pharmaceutical industry executive set up a political non-profit to run ads focusing on the present financial crisis ahead of the November election. The nonprofit has spent more than $600,000 to produce the ads, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Real Time has been following various ads using our new "Follow the 527s" widget, available on the right side of the site.
The nonprofit, RightChange.com, Inc., was set up by a pair Republican lawmakers, state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell ...!--[endif]-->!>!--[if>!-->!--[endif]-->!>!--[if>![endif]-->!--[if>![endif]-->!--[if> Continue reading
Rep. Henry Waxman's oversight committee sent out letters today to the Department of Defense, the Department of State and to Blackwater CEO Erik Prince asking for various sets of documents regarding contracts going back to 2003.
Among other issues, the seven-page letter to Erik Prince raises questions about all the no-bid contracts Blackwater has been given and asks the company to hand in documents detailing the hourly billing information that Blackwater charges the State department.
In the letter to DoD the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform touched upon an earlier letter from Mar. 31 ...Continue reading
On January 29, 2007, Rep. Steve Cohen requested information on a private military company, Blackwater USA, from the Departments of State and Defense. Cohen had read some news articles about the firm, and wanted more information. Congress has broad authority to oversee the Executive Branch. What happens when a member, on his own initiative, tries to exercise that authority by inquiring about a controversial company? At RealTime, Anu provides the answer, which suggests that journalists may well have as good or better access to government information as members of Congress. No wonder members are often reacting to the latest headlines, rather than developing policies that would prevent such occurences (for example, perhaps it would be better if, in a combat theater, rules of engagement are uniform, not one set for soldiers and the other set written by the State Department).Continue reading
This article in the Washington Post yesterday on the earmarking process cites letters sent to the Department of Energy written by members of Congress including Rep. Rahm Emanuel in support of projects at the Children's
We recently received the correspondence logs from DOE and there were at least 15 similar letters. Although none of these seem to have actually secured the funding, we have found that writing in support of a specific project is not unique to just one lawmaker or only to the DOE either. For instance EPA ...Continue reading
Anupama's on the phone with yet another FOIA officer clarifying the nature of our request for correspondence logs listing letters from and responses to members of Congress, in an electronic format. It's amazing how many responses we've gotten that miss the mark of the request. Agencies send us actual letters rather than logs, or handwritten logs of correspondence, or (in one case) what looks like printouts of some form of spreadsheet scanned into PDF documents (absolutely useless for our attempts to turn what we get from the agencies into a searchable database of correspondence). I'm going ...Continue reading