CREW may have moved "Beyond DeLay" but federal investigators haven't. The Politico reports that Tom DeLay is under increasing legal jeopardy. John Bresnahan writes that the records of Ed Buckham, former DeLay chief of staff and close Jack Abramoff associate, were supboenaed by a federal grand jury investigating lawmaker and lobbyist ties to Abramoff. According to Bresnahan, "a number of ex-DeLay staffers have been subpoenaed - or voluntarily came in for questioning - by the Justice Dept. to discuss the day-to-day operations of DeLay's office, including the role Buckham played once he left DeLay's staff, according to sources familiar with the investigation."
TPM Muckraker has a great background piece on Ed Buckham and how deeply in the muck he is. Investigators in the Abramoff case, already with 10 guilty pleas and one conviction, are still moving towards other targets. So far, two former DeLay aides, Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon, have pled guilty. While everyone is concentrated on the Juice, we're waiting to see if the Hammer is going to get nailed.Continue reading
In February the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform unanimously passed the Executive Branch Reform Act (H.R. 984) out of committee. The bill, sponsored by both Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA), would require all political appointees and high ranking executive branch officials to file quarterly reports detailing substantive contacts they have made with persons seeking to influence policy and policy-making decisions. The legislation is intended to combat the corrupt activities of Jack Abramoff and his contacts in the Executive Branch and the secrecy of the still unknown list of energy industry executives who helped craft the President’s energy policy. Waxman has called the bill “landmark legislation” that would be the most important open government reform since the Freedom of Information Act. But even in these days where transparency is all the rage open government still comes with its own list of enemies.Continue reading
The mid-term elections are over and the people have decided that they want their corrupt members of Congress to come back home. In a Bloomberg article today, Rep. Rahm Emanuel states that eight seats flipped due to the corrupt activities of the current, or recently resigned/indicted/plead guilty, occupant. After reviewing the Bloomberg article and the members of Congress tied to congressional scandals it seems that Rahm has presented a lowball number of congressmen sent home. So let’s take a look at these members of Congress who will no longer be wearing the congressional uniform of solid blue suits, American flag lapel pins, and an unfailing arrogance of power.Continue reading
Today the Hotline blog reports that scandal may be an important element in this year’s elections after all, something which I have written about here previously. The Hotline blog contrasts two possible narratives for the aftermath of a Democratic victory in the House, scandal vs. wave. If “the Dems win control by only a narrow majority, ethics scandals” affecting FL-16, OH-18, TX-22, PA-10, and NY-26 “will have provided the majority for victory.” However, a wave election would showcase a dramatic shift in the northeast including large GOP losses in upstate New York and the suburbs of Philadelphia. A wave could not be possible without many victories coming from the ethics scandal category itself.Continue reading
It comes as no surprise that the House GOP is set to meet with 250-300 lobbyists tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Republican Club. Larry called it chutzpah, and it's true they have a lot of that. While this meeting takes place under the cloud of the recent guilty plea by former Mayor of Capitol Hill Bob Ney and the January guilty plea by the now infamous Borsalino-donning Jack Abramoff the last meet-and-greet-and-beg-for-help came as these powerful, and now-jail bound, men began tumbling down the hill.Continue reading
I am not a target of an investigation and neither is Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont. But is Sen. Burns “under investigation”? Is he a “subject” of an investigation? Over the weekend the Washington Post checked the investigatory lingo out and found that despite Burns’ protestations that he is not a “target” of any investigation he is still potentially in deep trouble.
The Post asked Stanley Brand, “a lawyer in Washington with decades of experience in defending prominent officials charged with corruption,” about the importance placed on the terms “target,” “subject,” and “under investigation”:Continue reading
Is corruption an issue or is it not an issue? The Washington Post puts out yet another article explaining how corruption is not a driving issue in campaigns despite the myriad scandals in Washington. They then trot out Sen. Conrad Burns’ reelection campaign as an example where the Senator’s close ties to Jack Abramoff are not affecting the race. Please! Burns has been hit on ethics issues for almost a year now and you’re telling me that has nothing to do with the recent polls showing him down nine points in the polls.Continue reading
And you thought it was safe? Today, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and violate federal lobbying laws and to making false statements. Ney, formerly known as the Mayor of Capitol Hill, is the first lawmaker to plead guilty in the ongoing investigation into the activities of uberlobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Please read TPM Muck's Tribute to Bob Ney.) This guilty plea comes one day after the House passed a miniscule earmark reform, a lame replacement for lobbying and ethics reform. Not long ago the Washington Post wrote this, "Some lawmakers and political analysts believe that voters could punish incumbents during the November elections if Congress passes a minimalist ethics bill. The chances of such a backlash could rise, these critics say, if there are more indictments or guilty pleas later this year." Polls are already showing that individual lawmakers involved in the Abramoff scandal are suffering in their chances for reelection.Continue reading
Kudos to ThinkProgress for this analysis and presentation of the scandal that is the hallmark of this Congress. Following all the strands of the current Congressional scandal has even defied the best of us. I don't know how many hours it took ThinkProgress' staff to put this together: it's taken a couple of years to unravel the information. If there was real time, online disclosure of trips, gifts, spousal employment, personal financial information, campaign contributions and expenditures, meetings between lawmakers and lobbyists, connections to charities, we'd be a lot better off.
If Jack Abramoff were a horror movie monster I would not want to be Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), AKA Bob Ney. Last night, the former wonderboy of the Right Ralph Reed lost convincingly in the Georgia Lt. Governor Republican primary to Casey Cagle, 54%-46%. Reed saw his stock plummet as the lobbying and grassroots work he did with his buddy Jack Abramoff poured out of Senate hearings and court documents into the newspapers. The former head of the Christian Coalition, his eyes set on the Presidency, felled himself by showing his true colors. Mike Crowley at TNR’s The Plank writes that “Jack Abramoff can so far be officially credited with destroying three careers (Reed, Tom DeLay, and David Safavian).” Despite what some have said the money-in-politics scandals are taking their toll on Washington.Continue reading