Congress

Outsourcing Oversight

Among the reforms being considered by the Democratic leaders of the incoming 110th Congress is an independent ethics oversight panel, an apparent acknowledgement that Congress is no longer able to police itself. Yet, despite this interest in investigating new ethical breaches no major overhaul is being considered that would mitigate existing conflicts of interest.

 

Mad As, Well, You Know

David Sirota, the author of Hostile Takeover who writes frequently on the importance of publicly financed elections has this awfully satisfying rant up over at Huffington Post on how frustrating it is to watch legislators campaign against corruption, then go right back to cocktail hour with lobbyists.

 

Before the Clock Strikes Twelve

With their plan to make lobbying reform a priority once they take control of Congress, Democrats are looking to take advantage of a national mood that wants action on corruption, but before they get crazy with reform they're taking all the lobbyist money they can get their hands on, according to the Wall Street Journal. Is that like having one last piece of cake before you go on a diet?

 

How About a Little Ambition

The Democrats are working out the particulars of the ethics legislation they will roll out in January, and while some members of Congress seem resistant to change, others argue that the proposals on the table don't do nearly enough. I'd have to agree.

 

Subpoena Profiteers

Help me out - I'm still trying to place this on the funny/sad continuum. TPMmuckraker is reporting that one law firm, Covington and Burling, anticipates such a high number of corruption investigations to be initiated by the new Democratic Congress that its circulating a memo touting its services to potential investigation targets (like big corporations).

 

What Will Change?

Time magazine's Massimo Calabresi speculates on the potential lobbying reforms that may come about when Democrats take control of Congress in January. Balancing campaign promises to clean up Washington against a newly favorable environment on the K Street lobbying corridor, what changes will Democrats bring?

 

Ego Wall

Ha. Bonus points if you identify the Congresspersons depicted.

Systematic Reform

The New York Times ran this piece on Sunday suggesting that (surprise!) the earmarking issue is a birpartisan problem - despite the legacy of Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff and others, the soon-to-be Democrat-controlled Congress seems less than enthusiastic about shutting off the pipeline of pork.

 

The Place and Time for Public Financing

Public Campaign Action Fund's David Donnelly writes in The Baltimore Sun about the mandate voters delivered to Congress on November 8th: clean up Washington. With majority control shifting to the Democrats, and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi putting ethics rules at the top of her list, it's time for Congress to get behind full public financing of congressional elections.

 

Jack Goes to Jail

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is set to report to prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania today to begin serving his sentence for his Florida fraud conviction. He'd received several extensions on his reporting date because of his continued cooperation with federal prosecutors on the wide-ranging probe into his influence-peddling scheme involving several members of Congress.