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.
I enjoy the pragmatic take on the bill by the Journal:
Fixing the corruption in Congress will ultimately require stronger steps to make it harder to curry members' favor through contributions. The proposed new law doesn't do this, but it is a critical step in the right direction. Indeed, if it accomplishes nothing but limit the amount of socializing lawmakers do with high-powered lobbyists, then it will have a positive influence.
To be sure, Democrats would like to enact it in order to put major lobbying reform in their win column. Republicans, for their part, want to distance themselves from the Abramoff and other scandals. Each party has its own interests in mind. But if the bill helps make the democratic process more honest and transparent, who cares?
A veto of this legislation would send the message that, no matter how loudly the American people shout for a more honest and transparent government, playing politics will take precedence over finding solutions.
Speaking of Sen. Stevens by the way, the Seattle Times has more on the investigation into what federal grants and earmarks Stevens may have tried to influence on behalf of VECO Corp., and whether they correlate with the improvements VECO made to Stevens' home. There is still not much publicly available information on this investigation, but given the large number of other lawmakers and lobbyists who are potentially involved here it's liable to be quite a story when it all comes out.