Thursday, September 29, 2005

A second chance to elect an honest leadership, and they still blow it.

Credit to this story goes to Dorsano, who posted it on the comments section of one of my other threads, and to my county chair, Ken Smith, who mentioned it at tonight's meeting of our county party.

Since Tom DeLay has been forced to step down due to his indictment yesterday, he has been replaced by Republican whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, who has been named as one of the thirteen most corrupt congressmen and Senators in Washington by the Citizens for Ethics and Responsiblity in Washington. Note that eleven of the thirteen are Republicans (and that of the two Democrats on the list, one, William Jefferson, is a classic 'DINO,' most recently breaking ranks with the Democratic leadership to join the Republican House inquiry on Katrina-- an inquiry boycotted by House Democrats because it promises to be a whitewash, in contrast to the 9/11 style commission that the Democratic leadership has called for).

According to the report,

only hours after Rep. Blunt assumed the role of Majority Whip – he tried to secretly insert a provision into Homeland Security legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris (now Altria), at the expense of competitors.

In addition, Rep. Blunt’s son Andrew lobbies on behalf of Philip Morris (now Altria), a major client he picked up only four years out of law school. Notably, Altria is Rep. Blunt’s largest campaign contributor, having donated more than $270,000 to political committees tied to him....

Members of the House are prohibited from "taking any official actions for the prospect of personal gain for themselves or anyone else." 5 CFR §2635.702(a). By pushing for legislation that would benefit Philip Morris and UPS, and, as a consequence, his then-girlfriend and his son, Rep. Blunt may have violated this provision.

Federal law also prohibits public officials from directly or indirectly demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting or agreeing to receive or accept anything of value in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act. If Rep. Blunt accepted campaign contributions from Philip Morris, FedEx or UPS in exchange for legislative assistance, he may have violated the bribery statute."

There is also a lot in there about other connections that might be considered as nepotism. Oh, and there is of course the tie to Jack Abramoff (who as I have posted before is now facing serious campaign fraud charges and has not been ruled out as a suspect in a murder).

Rep. Blunt and his staff have close connections to uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is the subject of criminal and congressional probes. In June 2003, Mr. Abramoff persuaded Majority Leader Tom DeLay to organize a letter, co-signed by Speaker Hastert, Whip Roy Blunt, and Deputy Whip Eric Cantor, that endorsed a view of gambling law benefitting Mr. Abramoff’s client, the Louisiana Coushatta, by blocking gambling competition by another tribe. Mr. Abramoff has donated $8,500 to Rep. Blunt’s leadership PAC, Rely on Your Beliefs.

If, as it appears, Rep. Blunt was accepting campaign contributions from Mr. Abramoff in exchange for using his official position so support a view of gambling law that would benefit Mr. Abramoff’s client, he would be in violation of the law.

Now, we have heard over and over how the Republicans are the party of morality. And, I understand that there will always be a handful of bad apples anywhere (although just by sheer numbers, it seems as though for the GOP lately, it is quite a few more than a 'handful.'-- I blogged on it the other day, and with former Illinois governor George Ryan's bribery trial slated to begin this week, it seems that we may soon have as many as four current or recent Republican governors either in prison or convicted of bribery or otherwise using their office for personal gain).

But I would like to know why Republicans in Congress (several of whom are themselves currently being investigated by federal or state officials) elect people like Bill Frist, Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt to serve as their LEADERS.

Possibility # 1: The Republicans know these guys are corrupt, but they only have a problem with corruption when it involves Democrats.

Possibility # 2: The Republicans in Congress are having a really tough time finding enough honest people to run for leadership positions, because so many of them are corrupt.

Possibility # 3: Even if they are honest, corruption is so pervasive on the Republican side of the aisle that they don't believe that there is anything wrong with this kind of behavior.

Possibility # 4: The Republicans in Congress are just plain stupid, and their judgement in selecting leaders makes Lynndie England look like a genius when picking Boy Friends.

So which one is it?


Anonymous said...

With all the corruption, one has hope that Bob Ney can and will be not be given a 7th term.

There is an "up & coming democratic candidate" that will be announcing his intentions after the Nov. 8, 2005 General Election. He has my full support.

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eli Blake said...

I would love it if Bob Ney was sent packing. Maybe he could retire to Scotland, don't you think? He seems to like it there, and for $150,000 trip, I imagine there was a lot to like.

Let me know who it is, maybe if I can manage it, I will send him a contribution. Of course our Governor is up for re-election next year and we have a potentially hot Senate race, plus we still would like to take another shot at Mr. Renzi, so we will see.