I've been reading The Gilded Age, by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. It's amazing how little the Washington they depict--the lobbyists, the appropriators, the schemes--has changed. This passage, however, put me in mind of our current credit and banking crisis:
Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society. Who shall say that this is not the golden age of mutual trust, of unlimited reliance upon human promises? That is a peculiar condition of society which enables a whole nation to instantly recognize point and meaning in the familiar newspaper anecdote, which puts into the mouth of a distinguished ...Continue reading
Since we've not had too many volunteers making phone calls to verify if the information collected as part of our distributed research project is accurate, I'm making calls this afternoon.
Here's reviewing a few:
Ric Molen went from working as a Legislative Director in Sen. Conrad Burns' (R-Mt.), office to work as a lobbyist with Lent, Scrivner & Roth in 2005 and his clients include major defense contractors such as Qualcomm and CH2M Hill. Since the time, Molen has made campaign contributions of a total of over $9,000, according to campaign finance records from the Center for ...Continue reading
Last night, I came across an enhanced site for looking up lobbying records posted online by the Senate Office of Public Records. To give an idea of how much better it is, I can tell you that with one search that 22 organizations--including top political donors Citigroup, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, Exxon Mobil and PricewaterhouseCoopers, explicitly mention S. 681, the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act. (Perhaps it should be expected that the Swiss Bankers Association also has an interest in the legislation, although one thing I learned some years back when I was researching taxes is that Switzerland is no ...Continue reading
DLA Piper, the most generous backer of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, lobbies for defense giant Lockheed Martin on environmental issues (perchlorate, and this bill in particular), for First Kuwaiti
General Trading & Contracting Co. (which has been accused of paying kickbacks to a Kellogg Brown & Root manager), and a private citizen who, DLA Piper reports, has paid it $200,000 to, among other things, "urge the Secretary of State to designate the Quds Force, a unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, as a foreign terrorist organization."
Blank Rome, the top giver to John McCain's campaign, lobbies ...Continue reading
The graph above, from FedSpending.org, shows the total value of contracts for which the Defense Intelligence Agency was the funding agency (for a definition, see here) from 2000 through 2007 (for 2007, only partial data is available). In 2005, the total value of contracts is $471 million; every other year, the total ranges from a low of $2.5 million in 2002 to a high of $19 million in 2006. See for yourself, and note that the numbers from the federal government are the same.
The Defense Intelligence Agency is one of the Pentagon agencies that reduced transparency by ...Continue reading
Via National Journal's CongressDaily:
SUBPOENAS WITHDRAWN. Subpoenas of a dozen House members were withdrawn late Tuesday by an attorney for a defense contractor accused of bribing former Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif., after a federal judge indicated he was prepared to quash them, the Associated Press reported. U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said he might consider enforcing the subpoenas if contractor Brent Wilkes' attorneys could demonstrate the lawmakers had specific information related to the charges and that their testimony would be critical to his defense. Wilkes was scheduled to go on trial today in San Diego on charges ...Continue reading
I've been calling various Army public affairs officials to get some information about Blackhawk helicopters and was passed from one official to another. I finally reached the right department and I was asked to send an e-mail listing my questions.
This morning I received a reply from the Army saying that my request had been forwarded to the FOIA office. My reaction: you don't need a FOIA request to talk to or e-mail another person."
So I called them back and talked to another person in the same office who said since we were not a print publication ...Continue reading
The Washington Post reports that 13 members of the House of Representatives have received subpoenas in connection with the trial of Brent Wilkes, one of the contractors alleged to be involved in the Randy "Duke" Cunningham bribery case:
The defense contractor charged with bribing convicted former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham has subpoenaed 13 House members, including former speaker J. Dennis Hastert, to testify in his federal trial.
But the 13 lawmakers are refusing the subpoena, and the House general counsel sent lawyers for the contractor, Brent R. Wilkes, a letter saying that it was overly broad and "did not elaborate ...Continue reading