Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lobbyists, Legislators Avoid Those Pesky Ethics

Jeffrey Birnbaum at The Washington Post today turns in an eye-opening and disturbing story, headlined: "There's Always a Way; Exemptions From Ethics Rules Allow Lawmakers to Accept Almost Anything."

He goes on to list the loopholes and exceptions that allow lawmakers and lobbyists alike to skirt what are supposed to be meaningful ethics rules. Exceptions are made for campaign events and charities.

That's how Rep. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) gets around charging lobbyists $2,500 a pop to " barbeque" with the legislator and his aides in Sun Valley. He calls it a "campaign fundraiser." Governmental ethics rules do not apply to campaign financing.

According to Birnbaum, investigations such as those into the behavior of Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), are rare because "overt impropriety is so simple to avoid."

And while registered lobbyists are barred from paying directly for a legislator's travel, members of Congress have received more than $18 million in free travel from private organizations. The top four destinations are, predictably: Florida, California, New York and West Virginia (home of the luxurious Greenbrier Resort).

"The House Republicans' event list between mid-July and mid-August advertises 12 golf outings, four baseball games, a musical show and a night of 'champagne and caviar,'" Birnbaum writes.

You should really just go read the whole story for yourself. There are too many tidbits to list here. You will be blown away.


  • How convenient...

    WE need to get rid of these idiots, starting with Tom DeLay so this corrupt, and many times illegal behavior is not encouraged.

    Leaders lead by example, and DeLay getting away with absolute crimes allows congress to do the same.

    Read Dennis Hastert:


    Lobbyists have been adding pork to the coffers, and making legislators pass horrible laws for years. They need to be BARRED, EXCEPT under supervised circumstances for elections. OTHERWISE, IT SHOULD ALL BE ILLEGAL.

    THAT GOES FOR PRIVATE COMPANIES TOO, LIKE WHAT HAPPENED WITH JIM MCDERMOTT. Allowing corruption by not enforcing the rules, breeds more corruption and conspiracy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:53 AM  

  • It isn't just the Republicans.
    Kurt Vonnegut spoke of America having one party. He said we have the Left and Right Wings of the National Business Party. I think he was right. No one represents the average working American.

    By Blogger Lynne, at 3:14 PM  

  • Lynne, I agree.

    Jim McDermott, Buddy Daley, Tom DeLay and others need to be fired permanently.

    Whatever they have done illegal should be held to the letter of law, and they must go to jail.

    Its time to end bi-partisan corruption and have no more private companies influencing the laws by breaking them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:42 PM  

  • How bout the GOP and Dems cut a deal. McDermott goes to jail, DeLay resigns from leadership and forfeits all seniority.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:40 PM  

  • I'd go for that deal. But DeLay should still be convicted for bribery charges if he has laundered money out of the USA.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:53 PM  

  • Get rid of all corruption now.;_ylt=AoL32rrMpZdfji33Xy62VY.1qHQA;_ylu=X3oDMTA4NGRzMjRtBHNlYwMxNjk5

    No more corrupt politicians soliciting lobbyists, or shady think-tanks like this place.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:00 AM  

  • But first it must be proven that DeLay did commit a crime. Right now the best evidence only suggests he took trips paid by lobbyists. Against House rules, yes, but hardly a jailable offense.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 AM  

  • It IS a jailable offense if he allowed someone like Abramoff who has been convicted of multiple crimes, to influence his decisions in the legislature.

    Or influence his re-districting of Texas, along with any other federal crime concerning bribery.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 AM  

  • If letting a lobbyist buy you a meal were a jailable offense, then in 2006 we're gonna have 100 new Senators, 435 new Members, and even a couple new Delgates and Resident Commissioners.

    If you think lobbying is illegal, then you are either very naive or just plain stupid.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:58 PM  

  • I mean to add, if you think being lobbied is indeed jailable, then you need to call on all 535+ Members and Senators to resign and face charges.

    But since you are not doing that, I must assume you are bitter that Tom DeLay is effective. As whip, he never lost a vote, and as leader he is passing more legislation and with more conservative language than Dick Armey pushed through. Since you simply dislike DeLay's personal politics, why don't you move to the Texas 22nd and campaign vigorously for Nick Lampson instead of launching demeaning and unfounded attacks and DeLay.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:05 PM  

  • Totally incorrect, there is multiple illegal acts DeLay has been engaged in.

    Lobbyist Jack Abramoff a Pakistan-informant

    More on Jack Abramoff

    Justice Department probes Delay, Abramoff
    You are allowed to lobby if you don't cross the boundary lines for those rules, and the official law of our government. The latest was a provision giving 1.5 billion dollars of Oil money to Tom's private bank firm.

    DeLay is certainly not close to effective, when he breaks the law. That's the bottom line, no ifs ands or buts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:30 AM  

  • ways to make money
    is easy. ways to make money

    By Blogger Mike, at 3:37 PM  

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