Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Democrats Find Ethics Overhaul Elusive in House

NYT reported House Democratic leaders pushing a promised lobbying overhaul are facing resistance from balky lawmakers and fending off accusations that a prominent member is flouting new ethics rules. The Democratic leaders were forced to scrap a promise to double the current one-year lobbying ban after lawmakers leave office. Now, they are struggling to pass legislation requiring lobbyists to disclose the campaign contributions they “bundle” — collect and deliver — to lawmakers. Failing to deliver on both measures would endanger similar provisions already passed by the Senate. Other House rules changes this year appear to have done little to alter business as usual on Capitol Hill.
The Dems are just as bad, if not worse, than the Repuvlicans were.
... Republicans, pummeled by Democratic accusations of corruption during the last election, reveled in the turnabout. “It looks like the Democratic leaders should have brought their caucus along when they were thinking up campaign themes,” said Representative Ray LaHood, Republican of Illinois. Some newly elected Democrats say they worry about potential perceptions that their party has failed to deliver its promised cleanup. “Many of the freshmen ran on a campaign of, as Speaker Pelosi would say, ‘draining the swamp,’ on ethics and ethics enforcement,” said Representative Ed Perlmutter, a first-term Colorado Democrat.
Now they are learning that others may force them to break their word.
... Others say they do not see the point of doing more. “I didn’t make any of those campaign promises,” said Representative Michael E. Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat who questions the bundling disclosure proposal and also opposed the extension of the so-called “revolving door” ban on lobbying by former members.
Of course not. You are from Massachusetts.
“I made a career change 20 years ago to be a full-time elected official,” Mr. Capuano said, explaining his position. “I am no longer qualified to be a tax attorney. It is like saying to people, ‘Please, come into public service, give it your all, and when you are done you are completely unqualified for anything else.’ ”
Don't stay for 20 years. We need term limits.
Others grumbled that Mr. Van Hollen, whose Democratic campaign committee duns each member for contributions, was pushing a measure that would make it harder to tap the easiest sources of such money — lobbyists. “We have dues that we are supposed to raise of several hundred thousand dollars,
Who is charging you dues that high? Tell them to go fly a kite.
and in the same breath we are informed that this is something we will have to vote for,” Representative James P. Moran, Democrat of Virginia, said. “I don’t know what we are supposed to do, except cold call all the people in the phone book in our districts.”

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