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Ciao for Now

There's only so long a Representative can be the subject of an FBI investigation into a shady land deal with a former business partner and campaign donor before he gets the urge to hang up his spurs and seek out a more private life. Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) has announced he won't seek re-election in 2008.

Make It Happen

Cabell Brand is a Virginia businessman and a longtime anti-poverty activist and he's written a strong editorial in the Roanoke Times in support of full public financing of campaigns at the federal level as outlined in the Fair Elections Now Act. He argues that every issue we grapple with has a money in politics angle, and only when we address that angle can we make real policy change.

Light Sentence, Long Investigation

The former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Bob Ney who wore a wire to help convict his old boss has avoided jail time for his involvement in the still-unfolding Jack Abramoff scandal. Though Will Heaton will be on probation for two years, his cooperation with authorities has spared him a stint behind bars. Ney, of course, was not so lucky and is currently serving a 30 month sentence.


I Veto Your Veto

The Louisville Courier-Journal cautions President Bush to sign the lobbying overhaul bill passed after much debate in the House and Senate. Bush's veto threat is perplexing given the crushing effect the public perception of corruption has on his party in the mid-term elections, and now that the Abramoff affair is ceding center stage to William Jefferson/VECO/Ted Stevens/Don Young it's not as if the pressure to change the rules in Washington has lessened.

The Players Hate the Game

This article in The Columbus Dispatch is full of reasons why Congress needs to pass the Fair Elections Now Act and implement full public financing of elections. Lobbyists are dodging fundraising calls, lawmakers are wary of new regulations on their relationships with lobbyists, and voter advocates all over are crying foul on the access lobbyists can buy with campaign cash.

Two Steps Forward or Three Steps Back?

With President Bush still mulling over whether to sign the lobbying and ethics reform bill passed by Congress, there are those who are lauding legislative efforts to thwart corruption, and those lamenting that those laws need to be written in the first place.

Jack Markowitz opens his column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review with the following:

Biting Brevity

This letter in the Washington Post from Gary Kalman of U.S. PIRG drying the crocodile tears of lawmakers and lobbyists over the new lobbying restrictions passed by the House and Senate is short, but pretty much says it all.

Beyond the Letter of the Law

The Baltimore Sun weighs in on the the big ethics bill passed by the House and Senate and now on its way to President Bush for signature. Pragmatic about the scope of the bill, the Sun still sees promise in its potential to "remove some of the temptation and opportunity, as well as make unsavory relationships easier for the public to see."

Durbin on Campaign Finance

National Journal's CongressDaily carried an interview with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) today. In addition to being the Assistant Senate Majority Leader, Durbin is the sponsor, along with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) of the Fair Elections Now Act to bring public financing to congressional elections. As such, Durbin has been speaking out frequently about the need to change the way we finance campaign and spoke about it eloquently in the interview.

Today's Scandal Box Scores

It's tough being a sitting member of Congress under investigation. Nobody donates to your legal defense fund and The Politico makes Incredible Hulk jokes at your expense.