Congress

Better Than You Think

Bob Bernick Jr. acknowledges he feels like he's going out on a limb with this editorial in support of full public financing campaign. Bernick is writing in Utah's Deseret News, a paper that has covered its share of money in politics/lobbyists/corruption stories so this seems like a logical progression in their exploration of the topic, but Bernick has dim hopes about support in the state, and in Congress, for public financing.

Let's Take Those Indictments Off Your Hands

The Senate just passed the FISA bill, passed by the House last month that gives telecommunications companies immunity from prosecution for their involvement in government wiretapping of their customers without a warrant. Why the eagerness in Congress to hand over a big "get out of jail free" card to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint?

More on the "A Team"

Yesterday, Katie pointed to an "intern guide" leaked out of Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) office. The guide listed an "A Team" of lobbyists who were to be given access to any Young staff member they wanted.

 

It's of course no surprise that big corporate lobbyists get special treatment in Washington.

 

Young's "A Team"

Lobbyists who gave thousands to Rep. Don Young (R-AK) over the course of his career were on an "A Team" granted special access to Young and his staff, according to an unofficial "survival guide" for interns in Young's office obtained by The Hill. In addition to explaining the preferences and quirks of Rep. Young and his wife, the guide lists the lobbyists who were given access to any staff member they wanted.

Block It Any Way You Can

Wait, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) combating legislation to create new carbon emission standards because it'll hurt oil company profits, or is he fighting the bill as a political maneuver to get revenge for Democrats holding up judicial nominations? When fighting legislation to make corporate interests happy, it's so hard to keep those flimsy excuses straight.

Here We Go Again

Gear up for Big Oil vs. The Earth: Part 8 Bajillion. Congress is getting ready to push new, bipartisan legislation requiring new caps on industrial emissions, but President Bush and Big Oil, drawing the cloak of "economic hardship" firmly about themselves, are vowing to kill the bill. When facing a choice between corporate profits and...the earth and all its inhabitants, it's good to know our leaders have their priorities straight.

Donkeys and Elephants, Giving Together

Today's Politico notes the trend among stalwart Republican lobbyists and ex-legislators of giving an increasing amount of money to Democrats as the "price of doing business" with a Democrat-controlled Congress. Among those writing checks across the aisle is lobbyist and ex-Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), for whom apparent contradiction is the order of day: according to the article his big clients include Northrup Grumman and the Girl Scouts. Now there's a merit badge opportunity.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Post Office's get named after people all the time, they're just usually dead first.

 

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is trying to name a post office after Cyndi Taylor Krier, who just happens to be a lobbyist for financial services giant USAA.

 

New Reform Venture

Stanford law professor and noted copyright law expert Lawrence Lessig launched his new venture today, Change-Congress.org, designed to track the position of members of Congress on key reform issues, and put them on the record in support of things like the Fair Elections Now Act, which would publicly finance congressional campaigns. Read more about his project here.

One Bad Egg Rots the Whole Pork Barrel

The push to eliminate earmark spending for a one year period failed spectacularly in the Senate yesterday, despite support from unlikely corners. Indeed stories of bribed legislators and Bridges to Nowhere weren't enough to dissuade Senators from the pork barrel spending that's the bread and butter of reelection. While the impetus behind the proposed moratorium was a good one, it's going at the problem the wrong way.