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Tag Archive: Family Business

Dodd’s family business?

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Kevin Rennie notes another connection of Sen. Christopher Dodd to the financial industry, at one remove from AIG:

it turns out that Senator Dodd's wife has also benefited from past connections to AIG as well.

From 2001-2004, Jackie Clegg Dodd served as an "outside" director of IPC Holdings, Ltd., a Bermuda-based company controlled by AIG.

There are many other connections, obviously.

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FBI Fishes for Pork in Stevens Investigation

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The ongoing federal investigation of Sen. Ted Stevens is exploring the Alaska lawmakers pattern, thoroughly documented by Chuck Neubauer, Judy Pasternak and Richard T. Cooper of the Los Angeles Times, of earmarking taxpayer dollars to organizations (among them Alaskan seafood producers) that hired Stevens' son, Ben, as a consultant. Matt Apuzzo of the Associated Press has the latest developments:

WASHINGTON - Federal authorities investigating Sen. Ted Stevens are trolling the Alaska fishing industry for evidence of whether the powerful Republican pushed seafood legislation that benefited his lobbyist son... Industry officials and attorneys involved in the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity because authorities have told them not to discuss the probe, said investigators are asking about federal legislation that directly or indirectly aided the senator's son, Ben, who is a state lobbyist and politician. The legislation was passed as earmarks, brief spending items that lawmakers tack onto bills to steer federal money to pet projects. Ted Stevens, an unapologetic user of earmarks, is the biggest champion for Alaska's $2 billion-a-year seafood industry.
Details of the earmarks under investigation--including what Ben Stevens did (or didn't do) for his fees--are below the fold; it's worth noting that because Stevens fils was a state lawmaker, most of these payments were made public on his personal financial disclosure. A bunch of Ben Stevens' forms are available from the Center for Public Integrity, here--just scroll down toward the bottom of the page.

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House Moves to Limit Family Business

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The Washington Post reports on a bipartisan effort in the House to ban a practice that Sunlight and citizen journalists investigated in 2006: How many members of Congress were using campaign contributions to pay their spouses, in essence putting special interest money into the family budget?

In the latest ripple of an ethics spat gripping Congress, the House yesterday passed a bipartisan bill that bans lawmakers from paying their spouses for campaign work. The measure, passed on a voice vote, was sponsored by Reps. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and Michael N. Castle (R-Del.). It would not bar other family members from working on a lawmaker's campaign but would require disclosure.
Currently, spouses can work for campaigns provided that they charge fair market value for their services. The measure still has to passed by the Senate.

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Roll Call Spots Huge Loophole in Earmark Reforms

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Roll Call's John Stanton has noticed that the disclosure requirement for members of Congress who might personally profit from earmarks--part of the reforms adopted by the House and the Senate--doesn't apply to congressional aides. In October 2006, USAToday ran a big story by Matt Kelley and Pete Eisler that tracked the phenomenon among aides attached to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and their members, and found that,

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National Journal: 63 Current Members of Congress Have Relatives with Ties to Lobbying

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In what looks like the most authoritative list to date, National Journal reporter Marisa Katz identified 33 Senators and 30 Representatives "who have lobbied or consulted on government relations at the federal or the state level in recent years" in the magazine's March 31, 2007, issue. Regrettably, it doesn't appear that the excellent story that goes with that finding, or the chart, is online at National Journal's site. Among Senators, Richard Lugar, R-Ind., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Harry Reid, D-Nev., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, had two relatives with connections, while Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., had two and Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., was the lone member of Congress to have three.

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Railroads Hiring Relatives of House Members and Staffers

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The Washington Post's Elizabeth Williamson reports that Congress is still family business friendly, particularly on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials:

Days after Jennifer Esposito became majority staff director of the House transportation panel's subcommittee on railroads, her father, Sante Esposito, and brother Michael Esposito signed up as railway lobbyists. Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) has just taken a seat on the subcommittee, and in the coming weeks, the railroad industry trade association said, his father and predecessor in Congress, William O. Lipinski (D-Ill.), will register as a railroad lobbyist, too.

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Research Request on Spousal Lobbying

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Here's an experiment occasioned by the excellent report by John Solomon of the Washington Post on spouses of members of Congress who lobby. Solomon identifies 6 lawmakers married to registered lobbyists (listed below). Is it possible, after reading the lobby disclosure reports that list these spouses (I've linked the results page in the Senate Office of Public Records page for each of them, making it easy to find the reports) to determine whether the member votes for the spouse's clients' interests?

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