Eight former senators are now able to lobby their former colleagues after the expiration of their two year cooling-off period... View ArticleContinue reading
Yesterday, the Senate opened their arms and hearts to Sen. Ted Stevens while vulnerable Republicans simultaneously emptied their campaign coffers... View ArticleContinue reading
I've spent a lot of time on this blog deriding the Senate Ethics Committee - and the frivolous complaints leveled by Sen. John Ensign against the current ethics process - for failing to investigate Senators who have allegedly violated the trust of their office (or the law, in the case of Sen. Ted Stevens). Thanks to the recently passed ethics bill, S.1, we finally get some transparency in the Ethics Committee and some statistical information about the committee's activities. The Committee is now required to issue an annual report of activity. Here are some highlights:
Number of alleged violations received in 2007 (from any source): 95 (not including the 16 carried over from 2006)
Number of alleged violations dismissed in 2007 (including 7 cases carried over from 2006): 86 (71 for lack of jurisdiction; 15 for failure to provide sufficient facts)
Number of alleged violations which resulted in a preliminary hearing: 16 (includes 9 matters carried over from 2006 and 5 matters that have carried into 2008)
Number of alleged violations that resulted in adjudicatory review: 0
Number of alleged violations dismissed for lack of substantial merit: 11 (includes 7 matters carried over from 2006)
Number of matters resulting in disciplinary action: 0Continue reading
Among millions of MySpace pages there are two pages that deserve a special note. That’s because they promote the DJ sounds of two sitting
These hilarious social “netmocking” pages highlight how political stories and scandals can transcend the typical Hill rags and Alaska Daily News reporting into a social site with millions of users through innovative humor and a little bit of clever production. I’m not a huge MySpace/Facebook person but I don’t think I’ve ever seen fake politician pages made with such a clear focus while promoting the anonymous creators’ music. It probably doesn’t mark some great new trend in Web 2.0 or the Internet, but it is funny.Continue reading
Quick addition: USA Today reached the same opinion of Stevens today as well.
According to public records and officials in Alaska, The Hill reports that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) "has quietly steered millions of federal dollars to a sportfishing industry group founded by Bob Penney, a longtime friend who helped the Alaska Republican profit from a lucrative land deal." While the FBI, and possibly a jury, will decide if Stevens has abused his official position it is clear enough that the senior Senator has acted in a manner that is unethical for a United States Senator and a powerful committee chairman (yesterday I wrote that Stevens is the Appropriations ranking member, he is actually ranking member on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the second ranking member on Appropriations, and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member).
Despite the mounting evidence against Stevens he continues to have the support of the Republican leadership and has not been stripped of his committee assignments. Sen. Larry Craig was stripped of his committee assignments and forced to resign (although he is now reconsidering) because he engaged in potentially lewd conduct that was not of the party sanctioned variety. What is more important, sexual, or potentially sexual, behavior or the betrayal of trust and abuse of official, elected positions to gain money and aid your rich buddies? I've seen this scale before and I know which way it should be tilting.Continue reading
Over the past week or two I’ve learned two things: do not tap your foot in the bathroom and that prudery is more prevalent on Capitol Hill than a true ethical fiber. Apparently it is more worrying that a Senator may be a deeply closeted gay man than it is that another Senator is deeply tied into a massive FBI-led corruption investigation or that a senior congressman is being investigated for perhaps the shadiest earmark ever. I read this article by Norm Ornstein today and couldn’t agree more with what he has to say. With so many corruption scandals, not just tawdry sex scandals, “Who believes that the ethics committee will act proactively to investigate allegedly scandalous behavior before stories garner headlines or result in announcements by prosecutors that Senators are targets or subjects of investigations?”Continue reading