Democratic 'K Street Project' in action?

Huffpo has an interesting - perhaps rather too interesting for its own good - piece alleging a relationship between Hillary Clinton and a leading firm of lobbyists, Blank-Rome.

Apparently, the firm is preemptively hiring some Dem operatives just in case November brings a change of control in either house of Congress.

And Hill and - of all people - Barbara Boxer have supposedly got involved with a client of the firm's who is interested in selling the Federal government a fairly expensive piece of military equipment. (And who has been fined nearly $3 million by the SEC for making false claims about a company's profit projections.)

Just like the Killian memos, one's first reaction is: Rove stunt. Or someone's stunt. Probably belongs with the Vince Foster murder files.

Unless someone has some corroboration.

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What Happened to Lobbying Reform?

Remember when Republicans were clamoring publicly about tightening the rules regulating lobbying? Because they sure aren't anymore.

Following the convictions of Jack Abramoff and Randy "Duke" Cunningham and the indictments of Tom DeLay and others, the Republican Party began talking a good talk when it came to lobbying reform. But just a few months later, the GOP has done litte to clamp down on the system that allowed for such shady activities to take place, and increasingly it appears that they aren't going to reform the system any time soon, as Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported for The New York Times yesterday.

The drive for a tighter lobbying law, just two months ago a major priority on Capitol Hill, is losing momentum, a victim of shifting political interests, infighting among House Republicans and a growing sense among lawmakers of both parties that wholesale change may not be needed after all.

In the Senate, debate on a lobbying bill was derailed this week by the fracas over port security, and it is unclear when the measure will return. A chief architect of the legislation, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said Friday that the bill was "way off track" and that she feared its chances had been jeopardized.

"People have turned to other issues," Ms. Collins said in a telephone interview from Maine. "This was our window, and I'm afraid it will be slammed shut."

In the House, Representative David Dreier of California, the Republicans' point man on lobbying legislation, said reaching consensus on what the bill should include had been more difficult than he had expected.

Can House Majority Leader John Boehner, who handed out campaign checks from tobacco lobbyists on the House floor during a debate on issues related to the tobacco industry, really reform lobbying? Can Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has been investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for insider trading, really clean up Congressional ethics? Can the party of Jack Abramoff and Randy "Duke" Cunningham rid Capitol Hill of the crooks?

Americans want to see Congress cleaned up, but Republicans are clearly unable and unwilling to get it done. And it's not long until voters will be able to send a message to Washington that they want to see change now. In just under a month, residents of California's 50th congressional district will go to the polls to select a replacement to the ethically challenged jail bound Cunningham, an election in which they can send a strong signal to Washington by electing Democrat Francine Busby, who is calling for widespread reform; in just eight months, voters across the country will be able to do the same thing. The writing is almost on the wall for the Republican Party, and if they don't get serious about reforming their ways immediately, happy days will be here again for Congressional Democrats.

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PA-06 Lois Murphy Plagiarized Her Ethics Plan 95621.asp

I'm all about electing Democrats to office, but not with this nonsense. How do you run a candidate who plagiarized an ethics plan in a year centered on ethics? This is going to be open season from now to November on Lois Murphy. I guess we can cross Lois Murphy off the list.

This is what happens when you get trigger happy and lose your focus. Maybe its time to draft a new candidate.

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Ethics complaint against Conyers - what's up?

According to Conyers' mouthpiece, nothing at all.

All been dealt with and filed away.

You can easily believe that frivolous or unevidenced complaints come in every day against Congress members. Conyers would be no different.

Except for the background of the House ethics truce.

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Corruption-enabling Dem senators: still lying low

A couple of days ago, I noted the strange business of the Office of Public Integrity.

Lieberman and Collins put forward an amendment to establish such an office, independent of Congress members, to supervise the handling of complaints about Congressional ethics breaches. And the Senate committee voted 11-5 against (all members voting).

And, among the 11 against were at least three Democrats.

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