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Making New Friends

Can you rub your stomach and pat your head? Can Congress cut tax breaks for oil companies while taking campaign cash from Shell and Chevron? According to the oil lobbyists (and business and pharmaceutical lobbyists) Tom Hamburger and Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times talk to, Democratic congressional leaders are more than willing to try and do both.


Big Pharma Buys Weaker Policy

From the front page of today's Washington Post a reminder of the power of the pharmaceutical lobby. Democratic leadership had a bill in mind for a goverment-run prescription drug program designed to cut costs for senior citizens. Then the drug lobby - and their checkbooks- started knocking at the door and cutting health care costs took a backseat to appeasing them.


House Unveils Ethics Reforms

It's the first day of the 110th Congress and Democratic leaders in the House are rolling out their big ethics reform package designed to sever links between lobbyists and lawmakers with new restrictions inclusing a ban on travel, meals, and gifts to legislators paid for by lobbyists. It's a very good start, and we hope a prelude to serious consideration of full public financing of elections as the last step in "draining the swamp" and cleaning up Congress.

Gibbons' Favor Factory

Oh geez, another one: looks like Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) has been steering money and access towards a major campaign contributor. TPM Muckraker hits the high (low) points of a lengthy Wall Street Journal article on money coming in, and money going out.


Buying the Bench

Yeah, that whole "impartial judiciary" thing...not so much. As this piece at (you may have to watch a short ad to read the whole article) reveals, 24 candidates vying for seats in our nation's appellate and district courts gave directly to the officials who had a hand in winning their appointments - including President Bush.


Don Sherwood Got His

Public Campaign Action Fund's Campaign Money Watch project has launched a new ad in Pennsylvania taking on Rep. Don Sherwood for taking $205K in campaign contributions from insurance and drug companies and - surprise! - voting to help them rake in the cash at the expense of senior citizens.


Tax Bill Favors Wealthy

House Republicans pushed through a tax cut for the wealthy yesterday by a vote of 244 to 185. Eighty percent of the tax savings, says the Tax Policy Center, a nonprofit venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, would flow to the top 10 percent to taxpayers, and almost 20% would go to the top one-tenth of one percent.

The Other NRA

According to Roll Call (subscription required), one of the nation's biggest PAC's, the National Restaurant Association's PAC, has asked permission from the FEC to solicit money from the general public for candidates of their choosing, most of whom they have already contributed to and/or publicly endorsed.

Buried in the New York Times...

Buried deep in The New York Times story--21st paragraph, in fact--about the Senate approving lobbying legislation yesterday is the nugget of the story:

Preview of documents from civil trial

Former state reps have filed a civil suit against DeLay's TRMPAC officials. The trial date on that civil suit is scheduled for February 28. In advance of the trial date, some documents have been leaked to the Austin American-Statesman (registration required). Here's a passage that caught my eye:

Hungry for money