In a court case in Cuyahoga County, Ohio over whether public records should be readily available a county worker spends... View ArticleContinue reading
American People Hire Lobbyist
This is technically what members of the House are supposed to be, right? Advocates for the interests and people of... View ArticleContinue reading
The Machine Can Make It For Us
So, the House Ethics Committee is planning on reviewing the 2007 travel rules and one area they hope to fix... View ArticleContinue reading
The End of Work as We Know It
Today the Washington Post reports that incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer plans on making the 110th Congress, y’know, actually work. The 109th Congress, if it finishes up business this week, will have spent the fewest days in session -- the House of Representatives only -- of any other Congress in at least the past 60 years. Now some congressmen are complaining that they might have to -- gasp -- work a five day week.
Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) apparently is an advocate of a 3-day work week. This is his comment in the Post article, “Keeping us up here eats away at families. Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says.” This comment ought to be a nominee for the silliest and most embarrassing comment by a professional politician in the past year. (Another comment in this category should be “Dollar Bill” Jefferson’s declaration that he will one day offer an honest excuse for keeping $90,000 in cash in his freezer.)Continue reading
More Electronic Filing
Glenn Reynolds notes that both Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are holding up legislation that would make the Senate have to electronically file their campaign finance reports. This process would save the Federal Election Commission about $250,000 and countless hours of work per election cycle, not to mention the numerous other benefits to campaign finance watchers. Now here's the crazy thing: both Trent Lott and Mitch McConnell already use electronic software to fill out FEC forms. In fact, it is highly likely that they are among the 95% of Senators who use the FEC's own or recommended software.Continue reading
Let‘s Play Hide the Subpoena
It’s August here in Washington -- although if it weren’t for the classical architecture and the lobbyists wearing reflective sunglasses you’d think it was Pakistan from the temperature -- and members of Congress are fleeing the city, running back to their districts to do anything that will help their reelection chances with an electorate that’s looking for head’s to roll (or as President Bush might call it, to have their “accountability moment”). Some candidates may have an easier time than others. For instance, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) is running uncontested allowing him to go on The Colbert Report and proclaim that he enjoys cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do. On the other hand we have another Floridian, Rep. Katherine Harris (R) who is running to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).Continue reading
Elvis Is In The Building
Congress appears to agree with the voters of our online poll, Elvis will be spotted before they pass comprehensive ethics reform. It has been six months since the most flamboyant lobbyist in Washington caved under his own cupidity, seven months since [sw: Duke Cunningham] (R-Calif.) lost his Louis-Philippe commode, and more than two months since [sw: William Jefferson]’s (D-La.) congressional office was raided by FBI agents. In honor of these milestones and this Congress’ penchant for ignoring serious problems we should all remember those who have already fallen due to the unprecedented, and to lawmakers, unimportant, scandals sweeping the Capitol.Continue reading
Lobbyists Fish For Lawmakers:
Every year lawmakers go up to Alaska to go fishing at "a five star resort"; and every year lobbyists from the oil and gas industry follow those lawmakers to these fish-filled waters to hook them on their own line. American Radio Works went behind the scenes of this annual ritual in the circle of Washington political life and found a number of Senators, energy industry lobbyists, and our friend [sw: Dennis Hastert] (R-Ill.) getting together to break congressional ethics rules.
The event is organized under the aegis of a charity, the Waterfall Committee, supported by former Sen. and current Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski and his wife Nancy. In 1996 "the House and Senate banned lawmakers from accepting free trips to recreational charity events like this one". The Senate Ethics Committee went so far as to write Murkowski a letter to "expressly forbid senators from accepting free travel or lodging to attend this event." It appears that numerous members of Congress may have violated this rule by attending.
TPM Muckraker, Think Progress, and Soap Blox Chicago have posted on this trip as well.Continue reading
Ethics Legislation Rolling Back Down Hill:
Another deadline set by the majority leaders in both Houses of Congress to pass the so-called lobbying and ethics reform legislation is going to pass yet again. This reform is like a car that stalled while driving up Constitution Ave. to the Capitol. It's just going to roll back down, pass the Smithsonian, down Maine Ave., and into the Tidal Basin. CongressDaily PM has the report:
With one week to go before the July Fourth recess, the House faces a potentially packed floor schedule, but it appears doubtful that Congress will be able to pass either a lobbying and ethics overhaul or a pension bill before the break. House Speaker Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Frist called for passage of the lobbying bill before July Fourth, but a conference agreement continues to elude negotiators, and Hastert has not named conferees.When those Abramoff indictments come down on lawmakers what are these guys going to have to say for themselves. Nothing. They have done nothing to clean their house. Instead we're going to see a debate about flag burning, which I know is a huge problem in my neighborhood. I think that there have been at least ten children in my neighborhood who've had their patriotism crushed by a glassy eyed hippy burning a flag, chanting anti-government slogans. (FYI Congress: The proper way to dispose of a flag is to burn it.) Like a bad teenager who doesn't clean their room Congress should be punished. Continue reading
“I Was Just F-ing Kidding!”:
I guess Jim Moran (D-VA) was just joking about "earmarking the s_it out of" Appropriations bills if he were to become chair of the Approps Committee:
The Congressman’s remarks were meant to be light-hearted and not a serious policy statement; he is in fact very concerned with the irresponsible spending taking place in Congress. The Congressman has a strong record of fiscal responsibility, having voted for a balanced budget, supported pay-as-you-go budget rules and opposed what he considers to be the misplaced spending priorities of the current administration. Democrats are the party of fiscal restraint and will make it a top priority if they retake the House in November.Continue reading