Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lobbyists in the gym

The Hill reported Former Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Va.), a powerful gavel-swinger at the Commerce Committee in the late 1990s, is no fan of new House rules that prevent lobbyists who were lawmakers from stalking the floor during votes or using the chamber’s gym.

That is too bad. The rule changes are certainly not enough, they need to eliminate earmarks. bit tje ri;es ,ale semse/
The new rule looks more favorably on former members who are convicted felons, such as Jim Traficant (D-Ohio), than former members who are registered lobbyists, Bliley complained in a hallway outside the House chamber last week. Bliley, who often visits the House floor, said he used to use the gym frequently and attends events of the Chowder and Marching Club — the House Republican “secret society” — near the Speaker’s suite of offices. “To show you how stupid it is, when he gets out of prison Traficant ... will be able to use the gym as a former member because he’s not a lobbyist,” Bliley said.
There is a good solution to that. Ban former members with criminal records. Or why not just bad all former members.
Indeed, said one House source familiar with the situation, Traficant’s privileges remain intact, as do those of former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), who just resigned amid a graft scandal. “I don’t believe it was really raised as an issue,” given the lengthy prison terms both men face, said the source.

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