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Tag Archive: Richard Pombo

More Members and Candidates Under Investigation

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Since the beginning of the 2005 Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham investigations the Justice Department has seen a beefed up Public Integrity Unit dig into a series of scandals involving congressmen, lobbyists, and other public officials. Roll Call reports today that the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission are pursuing a new rack of investigations into the improper use of campaign funds by a number of campaigns. Thanks to the ever growing amount of money pouring into campaigns this cycle the Justice Department and the FEC are finding embezzlement, theft, and improper payments to be at an all-time high:

In an interview with Roll Call on Monday, Mason elaborated on his statements last week, indicating that half of the agency’s 10 embezzlement cases involve candidate committees, while three involve political action committees and two are political party cases. Of the five candidate committees, he said three belong to first-time candidates. The FEC investigations more than likely involve staffers or volunteers who appear to have stolen money from the campaigns.

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Eight Men (Plus) Out

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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.

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Jack’s Back and The Mayor of Capitol Hill Pleads Guilty

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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.

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Richard Pombo Faces Questions about Abramoff, Donors:

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House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) has come under increasing fire for his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and political donations that he receives from companies that have business before his committee, according to the Los Angeles Times. Months before a proposal to open up federal land to mining came before the Resources Committee, “a former committee aide who once worked for Abramoff's firm and is now a lobbyist for mining interests hosted a $1,000-a-head fundraiser for Pombo.” Also, “Pombo supported the resumption of commercial whaling while accepting thousands of dollars in international travel from a private foundation funded by the seafood industry and a whaling association.” Pombo also aided a GOP fundraiser and helped a Massachusetts tribe and client of Abramoff’s gain recognition after receiving a $20,000 donation.

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Pombo Travel Coming Under Increased Attack:

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House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) is coming under increased fire for his family RV vacation to national parks and his high spending of taxpayer money for his committee to travel. Pombo defended that RV trip by saying that he was visiting national parks and meeting with park directors as a part of his job. The Sacramento Bee now reports that some park directors have no recollection of these meetings. Pombo’s Resources committee staff also accepts trips from corporate interests that have business before the committee, such as the American Gas Association and British Petroleum.

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Pombo Used Taxpayer Money for Family Vacation:

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In 2003 Richard Pombo (R-CA) rented an RV and, with his family, went on a tour of tour of national parks that cost taxpayers $4,935, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Pombo claims that the trip was an official business trip because, as House Resources Chairman, he oversees all national parks. Pombo insists that there was no additional charge for him taking his family with him. House rules prohibit using government funds for personal travel, but allow family members to accompany congressmen on official trips. Undermining his defense, Pombo wrote about the trip on his committee’s website: “This August, my family and I rented an RV and set out to explore the West. We spent two weeks on vacation, stopping along the way to enjoy the splendor of many of our national parks.”

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Lobbyist Ties to Pombo, Mining Industry Probed:

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The Los Angeles Times reports that former House Resources Committee legal aide and current mining industry lobbyist Duane Gibson held a $1,000 a head fundraiser for House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) that included many mining industry officials three months before Pombo presented legislation that would open up public lands to mining. Gibson, who has been named in subpoenas in the federal probe of Jack Abramoff, also worked as lead investigator at the Resources Committee on behalf of businessman Charles Hurwitz, under investigation by federal banking regulators. Charges against Hurwitz were later dropped after Pombo and John Doolittle (R-CA) – both recipients of campaign contributions from Hurwitz – undermined the federal case against him.

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