What is with the Democrats these days?

Fresh off appointing Ambramoff linked Clyburn to head the House Democratic 'Clean House' committee, we have another brilliant move coming on.  Let me be very clear about this.  If you're going to run on ethics and lobbying reform do NOT be so stupid about it.

U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Chicago, is the only other Illinois lawmaker with a lobbyist as treasurer of his campaign committee.

Emanuel, who is head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has been an outspoken critic of Republicans' close relationship with Abramoff and the indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

The treasurer of Friends of Rahm Emanuel campaign committee is William Singer, who raised funds for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in Illinois and also helps Senate Democrats. But Singer said he doesn't raise money for Emanuel; his position as treasurer is an administrative one.

Singer, who works for Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, said he lobbies the Senate but seldom the House. He could recall just one case - last year - when he lobbied Emanuel. In that instance, Emanuel voted against the position of his client, United Airlines, on a pension issue, Singer said. Emanuel's spokeswoman called it a vote for United workers.

"He didn't get this appointment because he was a lobbyist," the spokeswoman, Kathleen Connery, said of Singer. "He took this position because of their 20-year relationship."

Emanuel co-sponsored a lobbying-reform bill introduced last May, saying, "We must address the corrupting relationships between lobbyists and members of Congress with reforms to the lobbying disclosure and congressional gift rules."

Great.  Read what John says.

Tags: House 2006 (all tags)

Comments

32 Comments

So Dean was lying?
"Fresh off appointing Ambramoff linked Clyburn to head the House Democratic 'Clean House' committee"

So I guess Howard Dean was lying when he said that no dem took any money from Jack Abramoff or his associates, on Wolf Blitzer a few days ago.

by jkfp2004 2006-01-15 11:30AM | 0 recs
No
Clyburn took some sort of trip on Abramoff's dime in 1997. This is exactly what Avarios is talking about. If anyone in the Democratic leadership besides Howard Dean had half a brain everybody in America would know that.

The Republicans have to go back almost ten years to find a Democrat with ties to Abramoff and the Democratic Party lets the media get away with calling this a bi-partisan scandal. That's why heads have to roll in the Democratic Party. The Democrats are just as incapable of governing as the GOP.

They are all a bunch of morons!

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-15 12:05PM | 0 recs
So Dean was lying?
Wolf's question was about campaign contributions. And he admitted on air the next day that they had fact checked it and Dean was absolutely right.

Jackoff personally has never donated a dime to a Democrat.

by Bruce Webb 2006-01-16 05:26AM | 0 recs
Complicity
One has to wonder whether the Democrats are consciously complicit in the undermining of democracy in our once great nation.  Such incompetence cannot be the result of mere ignorance or stupidity: it must be willful.
by pzykr 2006-01-15 11:31AM | 0 recs
Like I said in
another post: no more money. Jeez, it really is that simple. These people don't get a dime from the netroots until the get their act together, starting with the Filibuster of Alito. No filibuster, no money in 2006.  
by Sean Paul 2006-01-15 11:45AM | 0 recs
Way way off base
I greatly respect your opinion, Matt, but I'm really failing to see what you're trying to say with these flames you are issuing these days. The poster above is correct: Unless Howard Dean was lying (and I don't think he was) Clyburn accepted no money at all from Abramoff. Furthermore, not all lobbyists are bad eggs, and not all are Republicans. Most are good honest people, and our side has plenty of them. I'm really not seeing at all what your problem is with Rahm Emanuel employing one (who apparently doesn't even deal with the House) as his Campaign Treasurer, which is NOT a taxpayer funded position of course.

Two things spring to mind: The progressive netroots appears to have developed an irrational dislike for Rep. Emanuel, who imo has exactly the right combination of tough SOB'ness and political savvy we need right now. Flaming him is the wrong thing to do at the wrong time. In fact, the problems people seem to have with him stem from his doing his job exactly right: Finding the best candidates for House races, instead of the inevitable losers the blogosphere likes to champion. The second thing that springs to mind is the old quote: Consistency is the hobgoblin of simple minds. Honestly, who CARES if Rahm Emanuel has a treasurer who lobbies? It only matters if this guy is a crooked lobbyist. If he's not (and I have no info that he is) we've just got a case of holier than thou consistency-police, which we most certainly do NOT need.

Take on the bad guys. Don't mess with the good ones, even if they aren't perfect. Your "loser's paranoia" is beginning to show ...

by ColoDem 2006-01-15 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Way way off base
Lobbyists suck, all of them. They are a wall to democracy that puts corporations and special interests in charge of government - and thats why no bills are being passed that have anything to do with Americans, its all about greased lobbyist skids.

The guy to watch is the Jr. Senator from Arizona, forgot his name. He's a republican, and he set up a bill to stop the process of turning bills into Pork, by stopping amendments (riders) unless the member proposing got up and actually speak about it on the floor. Since no member of the house or senate wants to be caught packing bills with pork, this would have a profound effect on our entire process and it would effectively deal with the lobbyists once and for all.

Think for a second : K street has alot of people lobbying democrats. Its a cottage industry out there. Do we need it?

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-01-15 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Way way off base
His name is Kyl. He's up for re-election this year, and he's no good.

Not all lobbyists are bad. Some lobbyists lobby for groups you probably like. What we don't like are the lobbyists like Abramoff, who are crooked and effectively bribe politicians.

The fact is, in the kind of government that we have, some lobbying is necessary. We can't all line up outside our Senator's door with a laundry list of complaints and suggestions. What's not good and undemocratic is when lobbyists start writing legislation and buying off politicians.

by bluenc 2006-01-15 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Way way off base
bluenc and ColoDem are correct.  There are different types of lobbyists and not all are bad.  There is the Jack Abramoff, contract type, who is all about money and influence.  There are the cause lobbyist who represent specific interest groups on both sides of the spectrum.  There are corporate and union lobbyists who work for and represent specific corporations, unions or trade associations.

Lobbyists can be very helpful as long as they are not writing legislation.  For example, union lobbyists used to tell me how many members they had in our district and how one bill or another would impact them.  We didn't always vote their way but it was useful to have that info when making decisions.  They can also help you put together coalitions when you are trying to pass legislation.

Lobbyists become a problem when the balance shifts because of money and you become beholden to them.  Lobbyists are a symbol of the bigger problem which is the influence of money because of the cost of campaigns.  When you need $2-3 million to win a House seat, the only way to not be beholden to special interests is to be independently wealthy and self finance campaigns.

The only way you will fix the lobbying problem is to reduce the cost of campaigns and the only way to do that is to have some sort of public financing with spending caps.

by John Mills 2006-01-16 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Way way off base
Including the lobbyists from AFL-CIO, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, etc... Don't fool yourself. They have large numbers, albeit not quite as well paid as Abramoff ...
by ColoDem 2006-01-15 03:45PM | 0 recs
Start with Rahm Emanuel
Emanuel, Schumer and Reid should all step down. Maybe Pelosi too. Until the Democrats can locate their spine they will never win back either Congress or the White House.
by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-15 12:08PM | 0 recs
New Democratic Leadership
It might not be such a bad idea for Democrats to replace most, if not all, of their leadership to show the American public that they are adapting themselves to eventually lead Congress and govern America.

I would like to keep Reid though. Folks forget that just because you're the party leader, that all senators don't have to follow you. Seniority tends to trump leadership, with the exception of the Republicans recently and when Lyndon Johnson ran the Democrats back in the 50s.

I would be in favor of getting rid of Pelosi and Emmanuel. These are establishment Democrats who are just plain out of touch, not just with the Democratic Party and America, but with the reality of the situation.

But, who knows, maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm just pissed about the Democrats' handling of Alito and the ethics scandal.

by gatordemocrat 2006-01-15 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: New Democratic Leadership
In the last 3 years, the Dems have replaced the following positions:

House Minority Leader
House Minority Whip
House Democratic Caucus Chair
Senate Minority Leader
Senate Minority Whip
DNC Chair
DCCC Chair
DSCC Chair

I'd say we have done a pretty good job of replacing the top and I think we have some pretty good people in these positions now.  Before we decide to lop everybody's head off again, let's see how the Dems do in Nov.

by John Mills 2006-01-16 11:42AM | 0 recs
Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
Rahm should've lost the election that put him in office.  He's a dirty campaigner, & people want him out.  The challenger doesn't want the ulcer that goes with the win.

He gives Democrats a bad name.

by Philosophe Forum 2006-01-15 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
Evidence on dirty campaigning?
by Matt Stoller 2006-01-15 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
I googled up Rahm's campaign against Nancy Kaszak:

The dilemma is familiar from other internecine Democratic party fights, such as the dust-ups between labor-backed Democrats and the Democratic Leadership Council's New Democrats. And in some respects, these are the necessary consequences of interest group politics in today's relatively open primary system. That Emily's List refuses to engage in horse trading -- garnering support for a woman candidate here in exchange for staying out of a race there -- has ruffled feathers among Democratic Party operatives and competing interest groups alike.

Some ethnic tension:

Moskal had endorsed Emanuel's primary opponent, ex-state Rep. Nancy Kaszak, who is of Polish ancestry. Kaszak, who was present when Moskal made the comments, initially only tried to distance herself from Moskal, though she later denounced Moskal and rejected his endorsement, according to The New York Times.

"Mr. Moskal's diatribes were among the most outrageous, bigoted campaign rhetoric voiced in public in recent years," said NJDC Executive Director Ira N. Forman. "No Jewish American, especially a celebrated and respected public servant such as Rahm Emanuel, deserves such treatment. These comments are especially galling given the fact that Rahm Emanuel has actively engaged the Chicago Polish-American community, his campaign co-chair is Polish-American, and he has been endorsed by a local Polish-American magazine. Ed Moskal has revived one of the classic anti-Semitic canards-that Jews cannot be loyal Americans."

Forman also objected to the comments of T. Ron Jasinski-Herbert, a spokesman for the Polish National Alliance. Jasinski-Herbert told the Chicago Tribune that Moskal's comments were not hateful, but rather "born of frustration with Jews."

Trade and union issues:

There aren't many Democratic Congressional candidates who can claim that they personally thwarted the agenda of organized labor in the most critical legislative battles of the past decade, but former Clinton White House aide Rahm Emanuel can--and does. Northwestern University, where Emanuel has served as an adjunct professor of communications studies, identifies him as the man who "coordinated the passage of NAFTA." In addition to getting the North American Free Trade Agreement "ball across the goal line," as Emanuel likes to put it, Clinton's former senior adviser for policy and strategy was also a point man for the Administration in fights with unions over granting China most-favored-nation trading status and over fast-track negotiation of a hemispheric free-trade-area agreement that union leaders call "NAFTA on steroids."

 That résumé might not sound like one that would be a magnet for labor support. Yet, as the millionaire investment banker seeks the Democratic nomination for an open Congressional seat representing blue-collar Chicago neighborhoods hard hit by the loss of industrial jobs, Emanuel is running with the endorsement of the Illinois AFL-CIO. Weirder still is the fact that Emanuel's opponent in the close struggle to win the March 19 primary, former State Representative Nancy Kaszak, is a lifelong backer of union causes who speaks with passion about the devastation wreaked on Illinois by more than 37,000 lost jobs directly linked to the passage of NAFTA.

 What gives? The national AFL-CIO defers to state federations on local endorsements. And Illinois AFL-CIO spokesman Bill Looby offers a realpolitik explanation of his federation's stance in the Kaszak-Emanuel race: "She had the good labor record, but he had the record of knowing his way around Washington. The feeling was, he could be more effective in Washington." Illinois politicos argue, however, that the federation's endorsement resulted more from the machinations of the Daley political machine, for which Emanuel has been a fundraiser, strategist and well-connected ally.

And from Roll Call, everything is now hunky dory:

Kaszak, now the associate regional director of development at the Trust for Public Lands, in Chicago, calls Emanuel a sophisticated campaigner. During the campaign, she recalls, she sought to portray the former aide to President Clinton as a Washington insider.

"He's a great fundraiser; I'm a good fundraiser," Kaszak says, declining to offer any criticisms of the DCCC chairman as a strategist or, more personally, a rival.

"I had EMIILY's List support. But he is somebody who knows insiders and who can raise funds from around the country."

Sounds like standard Cook County politics to me. The question is whether or not we want Cook County to be the gold standard for ethical campaigns or raise the bar a wee bit.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-15 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
We're going to talk about Emanuel's 2002 campaign and dirty politics without mentioning that Moskal also said that Emanuel was an Israeli citizen who fought in the Israeli army (which are two different lies).

But, enough of that, how about some Fish?

Friends and enemies agree that the key to Emanuel's success is his legendary intensity. There's the story about the time he sent a rotting fish to a pollster who had angered him. There's the story about how his right middle finger was blown off by a Syrian tank when he was in the Israeli army. And there's the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that's Rahm for you."

Of the three stories, only the second is a myth -- Emanuel lost the finger to a meat slicer as a teenager and never served in the Israeli army. But it's a measure of his considerable reputation as the enforcer in Clinton's White House that so many people believe it to be true. You don't earn the nickname "Rahmbo" being timid.

No kidding.

by RBH 2006-01-15 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
I just googled up some links. I have no personal knowledge of Illinois politics, aside from what I read here.
by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-15 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
As one of Emanuel's constituents, let me say that I'd vote for him solely on the basis of the fish story.  My kind of Democrat.
by drlimerick 2006-01-16 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
All I know is what's in the link.  Emanuel's not a good guy.  He got into office.  He remains in office.  He's successful for a reason, & I haven't received too many positive reasons in feedback.  I'm just glad I don't live in IL-05.
by Philosophe Forum 2006-01-15 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
Okay he's a hard-nosed politico who wins. What's the problem here? That some nutjob lobbed some anti-semitic remarks his way? That he supported NAFTA, which most Democrats supported? That he has connections with powerful figures in local politics (just like every other prominent politician)? If you don't like Emanuel because of the way he's running the DCCC, that's one thing. Don't piss on my neck and tell me its raining.
by bluenc 2006-01-15 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
Don't piss on my neck and tell me its raining. -- Must be an idiosyncrasy of the 51st state wannabe.  I'll remain in the 21st state.

While I lack the required appendage to accommodate the aforementioned water works, I'm certain there are IL-05 non-Emanuel fans that would volunteer.

by Philosophe Forum 2006-01-15 05:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
"Street fighter" and a "dirty fighter"? Good!!! Good, good, good, good, good!

You guys are so freakin silly. And naive. And not serious about winning. You're just not.

by ColoDem 2006-01-15 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
Agree 100%.  I am an Emmanuel fan on a personal level but he and Chuck Schumer are exactly the nasty SOBs we need to go toe to toe with Karl Rove.
by John Mills 2006-01-16 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Rahm Emanuel's a Street Fighter
I meant to say I am not an Emmanuel fan on a personal level.
by John Mills 2006-01-16 11:46AM | 0 recs
"These days"?
by kitebro 2006-01-15 03:08PM | 0 recs
Its all Chicago politics
And that's why its scary.  Nothing surprises me about Rahm, nothing.  If the Daley machine goes down -- which it may, given the fact that Fitzgerald is poking around it -- Rahm's way of doing business is going to be hampered.  Rahm may go down with it -- he's certainly been cosy enough with the mayor (no, I'm making NO predictions about whether Da Mayor is going down himself).  Living in Chicago, while I'm happy to be in a Democratic city, I wish there were more . . . independent Democrats.  This corruption thing that's hit City Hall has been hard to stomach.  And while Nancy is a nice woman, she hasn't run again.  Which is too bad -- she would have made a better congresscritter than Rahm.

What I want is for Rahm to get a clue, that change needs to happen and the APPEARANCE of impropriety is going to get Democrats trashed by the media -- which is trying to be "fair and balanced" and needs Democrats to trash in the midst of the Republican scandals.  And I wish he were busy finding credible challengers for Mark Kirk and Denny Hastert, and staying out of IL-6th.  Not that there aren't challengers against Kirk and Hastert -- but those guys really face an uphill battle and could use some DCCC support.

by Maven 2006-01-15 04:47PM | 0 recs
perspective
Sure, Chicago politics is corrupt.  But it's the last big city in America where the corrupt Democratic urban machine still delivers.  By many measures, Chicago is the most liveable city in America.  Everybody who doesn't have roots in a large city, let's see a show of hands.  Where would you rather live?  Boston?  Houston?  Philadelphia?  C'mon.

Corollary. Do you think we're stupid here?  We know Daley is corrupt.  Yet we re-elect him again, and again, and again.  Because by and large, the city works.  We like it here.

Second.  Everything's relative.  Chicago has been corrupt since the Fire, if not longer.  Daley Sr. had Daley Jr. beat hollow.  Mayor Cermak was taken out by a mob hit in 1933, while riding in a limo with President-elect FDR.  The question is not, "Is the Daley Jr. administration corrupt?" It's "Is the Daley Jr. administration more or less corrupt than its predecessors?"

Corollary.  What if you or Saint Patrick Fitzgerald could wave a magic wand and wipe out insider dealing, nepotism, bribery, and so forth.  The city would screech to a halt.  Nobody else knows how to get the job done.  Corruption has to be chipped away, not obliterated.  Ask any Russian.

Third. We hear a lot on the blogosphere about how the media strains to find bad Democrat behavior to offset bad GOP behavior, even reaching back 10 years or more, to trivial 5-figure bribes as against current 6, 7, and 8-figure bribes by the likes of Abramhoff.  Isn't it at least possible that Saint Patrick Fitzgerald is doing something similar?  When he is criticized for trying to take down Libby and Rove, and by implication Bush and Cheney, he can say, "I'm no partisan.  Look, I'm investigating the Democratic machine right here in Chicago."

by drlimerick 2006-01-16 04:40AM | 0 recs
As a resident of the 5th District
This is all much to do about nothing -- Rahm has an rough personality and fights to win.  Isn't that what we want in a Party Leader?  Someone who fights back!

And the story about Bill Singer is BS.  So what!!
Bill Singer was elected to City Council as a reformer and foe of Richard J. Daley.  There has never been one word about him ever doing anything wrong in his law practice.  Tell me why he can't serve as Rahm's campaign treasurer??  

Have they taken trips or accepted gifts that influenced House votes??  I cannot believe how naive some people are on this site.

by HKeith48 2006-01-16 05:17AM | 0 recs
Rahm = progressive basher
http://www.ourcongress.org/story/2005/12/29/81851/624
This is why I don't like our boy Rahm. He is part of the current problem. He is apparently convinced that the secret to success is Bush-Lite. Despite of proven record of failure for this strategy in 2002 and 2004.

"The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is definitely trying to preempt the will of the voters in the State of Florida. Ignoring past election results and polls, the DCCC Chair, Rahm Emanuel, is trying to force conservative candidates - several in the nature of "pale imitation Republicans" -- on Congressional districts around the state. Are these "Trojan Horse" ("Trojan House"?) tactics on the part of Republican "wannnabe's"?
The currently best-known instance is the Florida 13th. Congressman Emanuel is pushing Christine Jennings, a retired President of a small bank with a high school education, over Jan Schneider, the Democratic nominee who ran better than any Democrat in decades in the district. Congressman Emanuel has given $2,000 to Jennings and has also persuaded House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator John Kerry to donate (although Kerry insists he was told that this was "a targeted race with no primary") and Senator Barbara Boxer to host a fundraiser for Jennings.

Schneider won the 2004 Democratic primary over Jennings by a margin of approximately 25%, spending less than one-third of what Jennings spent. While Jennings was a registered Republican her entire time in Manatee County (having taken eight years even to register to vote), she did change her registration to Democrat on moving to Sarasota nine years ago; the bankers' PAC she headed, however, reportedly gave only to Republican candidates.

by Bruce Webb 2006-01-16 05:39AM | 0 recs
Clyburn Yes, Emmanuel No
I think the posts on Clyburn are legitimate because of the taint of Abramoff.  He might not have done anything wrong or taken money but if you are going to head the House clean up effort you must be squeeky clean.

Emmanuel's job is different - it is to recruit candidates, raise money and play hardball politics.  Based on his previous track record with the Clinton Admin, I'd say Emmanuel's the right guy for the job.  He's not the wimps we have had in that job the past few cycles.  Neither he nor Schumer are favorites of mine but I'll bet a lot of money that by the end of 2006 they will have made major gains in both the House and Senate.  Their personalities are tailor made for these jobs.

With regards to Emmanuel's Treasurer, it is really irrelevant.  I may be biased as someone who is Treasurer to my friend and local Assemblyman, but my job is to sign checks and make sure reports are filed on time and correctly.  You don't get involved in fundraising because of conflict of interest rules.  If you do the research, many Treasurers are either spouses or close friends because you are giving that person control of your campaign checkbook. Trust is the most important thing in that role.  

I guarantee you that Emmanuel is not the only member whose Treasurer is a lobbyist or works at a major corporation or a law firm that represents unsavory clients.  And in the end does anyone really care who your Treasurer is?

by John Mills 2006-01-16 09:37AM | 0 recs
Rahm picks winners
We will all just have to wait and see if Rahm delivers this fall now won't we...however, when he first ran for Congress I would not have given him much of a chance (I for one, did not vote for him).

But, if they do win the House back I would not be at all surprised to see him be the new Majority Leader or Speaker.  The new members will know who delivered for them.  

I have a suggestion.  The folks on this site need to find a favorite House candidate and go to work.  

by HKeith48 2006-01-16 12:06PM | 0 recs

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