• No Sweat
  • Sunday, January 22, 2006


    My previous post focused on a non-partisan push for reform. And I emphasized that such non-partisan efforts were very important for getting real reform in the US. And I still urge you to read that post and support the efforts of Common Cause to reform Congressional politics.

    But one thing is clear. We currently have one party that is wallowing in corruption and one party that, whatever faults it may have, is open to reform. The Republicans are wallowing in corruption, and more and more scandals come out every week. The Democrats, in sharp contrast, are pushing for reforms that are similar to those of the non-partisan group Common Cause. The efforts of Common Cause are very important for change. But Common Cause cannot propose legislation. We need Congressmen to initiate the reforms we are pushing for.

    Right now the Democrats are initiating real reform and ALL Congressmen, Republicans and Democrats, need to hear from us in support of the proposal. It is a good proposal which I urge you to support. But at the end of this I will include a comment from indicating some improvements we need to push for. So, here is the Democratic proposal to fight corruption:


    Democrats offer an aggressive reform package to reverse Republican excesses and restore the public trust. Our program for change embodies the following provisions:

    Close the Revolving Door. Close the revolving door between the Congress and lobbying firms by doubling (from one year to two) the cooling-off period during which lawmakers, senior Congressional staff, and Executive Branch officials are prohibited from lobbying their former offices. Eliminate floor privileges for former Members of Congress and officers of the Senate and House who return to lobby.

    Toughen Public Disclosure of Lobbyist Activity. Significantly expand the information lobbyists must disclose - including campaign contributions and client fees. Require them to file disclosure reports electronically, and increase the frequency of those filings. Require lobbyists to certify that they did not violate the rules, and make them subject to criminal penalties for false certifications.

    Ban Lobbyist Gifts and Travel. Prohibit the receipt of gifts, including gifts of meals, entertainment and travel, from lobbyists.

    Shut Down Pay-to-Play Schemes Like the "K Street Project." End efforts like the "K Street Project," which Republicans created to tell corporations and lobbying firms whom they should hire in exchange for political access.

    Disclosure of Outside Job Negotiations. Requires lawmakers to disclose when they are negotiating private sector jobs, and requires Executive Branch officials who are negotiating private sector jobs to receive approval from the independent Office of Government Ethics.

    Prohibit "Dead of Night" Special Interest Provisions. Require that all conference committee meetings be open to the public and that members of the conference committee have a public opportunity to vote on all amendments. Make copies of conference reports available to Members, and post them publicly on the Internet, 24 hours before consideration (unless waived by a supermajority vote).

    Zero Tolerance for Contract Cheaters. Restore accountability and openness in federal contracting by subjecting major contract actions to public disclosure and aggressive competition; criminally prosecuting contractors who cheat taxpayers, with penalties including suspension and debarment; imposing stiff criminal and civil penalties for wartime fraud on government contracting; prohibiting contractors with conflicts of interest from conducting oversight or writing contract requirements they could bid on; mandating full disclosure of contract overcharges; creating tough penalties for improper no-bid contracts; and closing the revolving door between federal contract officials and private contractors.

    Prohibit Cronyism in Key Appointments. End rampant cronyism by requiring that any individual appointed to a position involving public safety possess proven credentials, and training or expertise in one or more areas relevant to the position.

    These reforms will certainly help prevent some of the worst Congressional corruption like what we have seen the Republicans engaging in over the last four years or so. But even these reforms are not enough. As pointed out by, there are two critical areas unaddressed: enforcement and campaign finance reform.

    Why these two things?

    First, some sort of new ethics enforcement process or entity is critical for any reform. Many of the things that Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Randy "Duke" Cunningham and others did were already illegal or against the rules—but nobody was enforcing the rules. Also, by insisting on beefed-up enforcement the Democrats will be highlighting that the Republicans have failed to enforce the rules.

    Second, ultimately these scandals were about the grip that money has over politicians in Washington. Democrats should be talking about that and offering an alternative—one the Republicans won't touch: public financing of elections. Even though it isn't likely that public financing would pass a Republican Congress, it is important that Democrats start talking about it if they want to be the "party of reform."

    The corruption scandals have taught the public a lot about the Republicans in Congress. Now the Democrats have a chance to show the public that they're the "party of reform." Democrats will lead on these issues if they know the grassroots will back them up. Please help encourage their progress.

    Please, CONTACT CONGRESS and demand that they enact real reform, along the lines of the Democratic proposals, coupled with better enforcement and campaign finance reform as suggested by

    And write the media demanding that ALL of Congress support the Democratic reforms with more stringent enforcement and with accompanying campaign finance reform.

    If we don't demand it, they won't do it.

    The Nonpartisan Fight Against Corruption

    This is from Common Cause:

    Scandals like the one engulfing Congress now are a blot on our politics, but these moments in history are also an opportunity to change the way Washington does business. We need to move fast to take advantage of this opportunity.

    We have about three weeks to make sure Congress passes real ethics reforms when they return to Washington. If we all do our job, by the time they come back, they will have heard from thousands of Americans telling them to clean up the mess in the nation's capital.

    Immediate action is critical, because reforms like we're proposing are never easy to pass...

    Common Cause has developed a far-reaching set of reforms - the Common Cause Ethics Challenge. There are five points in our plan, starting with strong enforcement of ethics rules by establishing an independent commission to oversee Congressional ethics.

    This is what we want them to do:

    Five Ways To Shake Up Washington

    1. Tough enforcement - An independent ethics commission to provide oversight and enforcement of Congressional ethics rules.

    2. Impose an Effective Gift and Travel Ban - No more gifts from lobbyists; no more privately-funded travel.

    3. Slow the Revolving Door - No more Members of Congress and staff getting lucrative lobbying job offers as they write special interest legislation.

    4. End The Campaign Money Chase - Enact a publicly-funded, clean elections system for Congressional campaigns.

    5. Shine a Light on Lobbying Activities - Full, real-time disclosure of lobbying contacts, who's lobbying who and how much they're spending.

    Will you join our team to challenge Congress? We need you to contact your Senators and Congressmen and insist that they pass real reform. Don't let them slide by this scandal with window-dressing rules.

    The Democrats are far less corrupt than the Republicans these days, but this kind of grassroots push for reform is very important if we want a clean Congress. Even though Democrats are pretty clean these days, we can't trust Congress to police itself. We need to be the main force for reform and THIS is the way to do it.

    And I would add that it would be a good idea to highlight these 5 reforms in a letter to the editor.

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Beyond Abramoff: Several more nasty Republican scandals

    The Republican Party really is the party of corruption. It isn't just the Abramoff scandal. The corruption of the Republican Party goes much deeper. Here is a brief sumamry of some of what I have been covering on this blog:

    1. TEXAS: Texas Rep. Joe Barton was selected as chairman of the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee and is using this position to attack climate scientists. But he also received more than $ 200,000 in campaign donations from the oil/gas industry as well as from the electric utility industry, his two top sources of funding. This is a blatant bribe--Barton is a bought-and-sold Republican doing the dirty work of the oil executives in exchange for campaign contributions.

    Barton's corruption and attacks on climate scientists are covered in this article from the American Prospect.

    2. KENTUCKY: Kentucky’s Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher is under investigation for corruption. AND he is the 5th least popular governor in the nation! What do you know? Americans don’t like corruption! That is why I am focusing so strongly on exposing corrupt Republicans. Corruption in the Repub party is so widespread and so disgusting, it makes America look like a Banana Republic. It is embarrassing to all of us!

    Fletcher's administration is suspected of violating the state's merit system laws and using politics as the basis for hiring or firing government employees. In essence, they are going back to the time of the so-called “spoils system” where government firing and hiring was a rewards system for political allies. This was considered unacceptable more than 100 years ago and was ended on the Federal level by the Civil Service Act of 1883 which made it illegal to fill various federal offices by the spoils system. Kentucky also has a “Merit Law” that outlaws the corrupt spoils system. Yet Repub Gov. Fletcher wants to go back to and older time, where corruption was accepted as normal.

    3. OHIO: The Republican party of Ohio continues to be the most amazingly corrupt state party I have personally ever heard of. And I mean EVER! I have previously covered the corruption of Ohio Republicans, from Congressman Mike Oxley to Governor Taft to other smaller fish elsewhere on this blog. But things have progressed further. The Governor now faces criminal charges and the Attorney General is in trouble.

    Here is a Daily Kos diary on the problems of Governor Taft, drawing from the Columbus Dispatch

    4. MISSOURI: Roy Blunt (MO-7) and his son Matt Blunt (Governor of MO) are among the most corrupt politicians in America today. Here are some excerpts from Blunt Facts regarding the corruption of the Blunt family in Missouri politics:

    Rep. Roy Blunt (MO-7) tried to help Philip Morris (one of his big donors and employer of his son, Andrew, and his then girlfriend, Abigail Perlman) by inserting a tobacco industry backed provision attacking internet cigarette sales into the, get this, Homeland Security Bill. Matt Blunt, Gov. of Missouri, used taxpayer's money, including Federal money, to urge people to vote. Problem was, he plastered his own name and face all over the ads even though he was a candidate. He used OUR money to plug himself. Out-of-state donors who needed support from Roy Blunt in Congress donated large amounts of money to his son, Matt Blunt's, campaign. Finally, Governor Matt Blunt has tried to prevent the U.S. Attorney's office from investigating his family's scandals by putting the wife of U.S. Attorney Todd Graves (U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri) on the Blunt Family payroll to the tune of a cool half million dollars a year, and he used taxpayer dollars to do it.

    5. CALIFORNIA: And let us not forget Rep. Randy Cunningham of California who resigned in disgrace and pleaded guilty to bribary. We all thought this scandal ended with Cunningham's guilty plea. But rumor has it that there is more coming that will be another major blow to the Republican Party. Rumor has it, Cunningham is turning state's evidence and may have worn a wire. We are all wondering who Abramoff will finger. Now we can also speculate on who Cunningham will finger. Hurricane Abramoff may be followed by Hurricane Cunningham.

    6. Nationwide Cronyism: And then there was FEMA's Mike Brown, who was appointed to head FEMA as a favor to Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh, who, in turn, had been Bush's chief of staff in Texas. The bottom line is Michael Brown had no experience and lied on his biographical report to the Senate when he was nominated. The Senate approved him almost without question. The result: when disaster hit Louisiana and Mississippi, Brown fumbled it so badly that, almost uniquely in the Bush administration of failure, Brown was forced to resign. Had the Senate looked at Brown more carefully, they might have realized he was appointed as a reward to Allbaugh, a political appointment unrelated to merit. As with the scandals in Kentucky, Brown’s appointment was a return to the Spoils System of American government that had been disgraced so long ago. And hundreds, maybe thousands, died because of his incompetence. Corruption kills in Bush America!

    This is just a sampling of the disgusting, corrupt politics of the modern Republican party. And none of this Abramoff connected. These are SEPARATE Republican scandals and don't even include Tom DeLay (R-TX), Bob Ney (R-OH) and Conrad Burns (R-MT) who are all looking like they may be brought down by the Abramoff scandal.

    So anytime someone tries to say that Democrats are as bad as Republican, remind them of these other scandals.

    Perpetuating Corruption: Tom DeLay's Replacements

    Two Republican Congressmen are competing to replace Tom DeLay as the leader of the House Republicans. One would expect that the Republicans would be eyeing the most squeaky clean of their members to counter the corrupt image their party now has. And yet, one of the top contenders is Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, one of the most corrupt members of Congress. The other is at best only soft on corruption and at worst, based on the REPUBLICAN view of the Abramoff scandal (not our own), the other, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, is among the most corrupt Congressmen around. In their blind quest for power, Republicans just don't get it. Americans don't like corruption.

    Roy Blunt vs. John Boehner for top House Republican. Both claim they want "reform." But what do we know about these two regarding corruption and attempts to reform? Let's start with Roy Blunt and his son, Matt Blunt. And I have been talking about this corrupt pair from Missouri since June, 2005.

    Roy Blunt (MO-7) and his son Matt Blunt (Governor of MO) are among the most corrupt politicians in America today. Not only is Roy Blunt so caught up in Tom DeLay's web of corruption, but he and his son have their own sleaze dragging them down. Here are some excerpts from Blunt Facts regarding the corruption of the Blunt family in Missouri politics:

    Rep. Roy Blunt (MO-7) tried to help Philip Morris (one of his big donors and employer of his son, Andrew, and his then girlfriend, Abigail Perlman) by inserting a tobacco industry backed provision attacking internet cigarette sales into the, get this, Homeland Security Bill.

    From CBS NEWS

    Reported June 11, 2003

    GOP Whip Tried To Aid Tobacco Pals

    (CBS) House Majority Whip Roy Blunt is coming under fire for trying to help tobacco giant Philip Morris USA in last November's homeland security bill.

    Blunt's ties to the company include large campaign donations from the company - $150,000 since 2001 to committees affiliated with Blunt. His son, Andrew, also works as a lobbyist for Philip Morris back in his home state of Missouri.

    The Washington Post reports that just days after he was named to the House's third-highest leadership post, Blunt - who has close personal and political ties to Phillip Morris - tried to slip a pro-tobacco provision into the bill creating the new Department of Homeland Security.

    When Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., found out about Blunt's idea, he immediately yanked it out of the bill. Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Tex., also said he opposed Blunt's effort and "worked against it" when he found out about it.

    Several Republicans told the Post they felt a pro-tobacco provision had very little support and that Blunt's actions could have proven "embarrassing" to the party and its new Whip.

    Some Republicans also expressed concern that Blunt's close personal relationship with a Phillip Morris lobbyist named Abigail Perlman may have influenced his actions.

    Matt Blunt, Gov. of Missouri, used taxpayer's money, including Federal money, to urge people to vote. Problem was, he plastered his own name and face all over the ads even though he was a candidate. He used OUR money to plug himself.


    Published September 1, 2004

    Blunt faces ethics complaints after primary advertising

    By Kelly Wiese

    Associated Press

    Some former Republican gubernatorial candidates and a group backing Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill have filed ethics complaints against Republican nominee Matt Blunt over newspaper ads encouraging people to vote.

    The Associated Press reported last month that Blunt, the secretary of state, spent almost $48,000 in public money on statewide newspaper advertising that includes his name and picture, urging voters to turn out for the Aug. 3 primary.

    Blunt easily defeated five little-known opponents in the Republican primary for governor to face McCaskill, the state auditor, in November.

    Blunt used federal funds to pay $47,984 to the Missouri Press Association to place the ads twice during the primary campaign in 295 daily and weekly newspapers across the state, the association said...

    Out-of-state donors who needed support from Roy Blunt in Congress donated large amounts of money to his son, Matt Blunt's, campaign.

    From THE HILL - Newspaper for and about Congress

    Published July 9, 2003

    Rep. Blunt's son aided by donors from out-of-state

    by Sam Dealey

    Campaign finance records show that Matt Blunt, the son of House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), received significant contributions from out-of-state sources during his successful 2000 race for Missouri secretary of state.

    Many of the contributors seemingly lacked a direct interest in the down-ballot state race but had significant interests pending before Matt Bluntís father.

    At the time that the contributions to his son's campaign occurred, Roy Blunt was a rising GOP star and an aggressive fundraiser. After the elevation of J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to Speaker in 1999, Blunt was named chief deputy whip.

    He also won a seat on the powerful House Commerce Committee, with assignments on subcommittees with jurisdiction over finance and hazardous materials, oversight and investigations, and telecommunications, trade and consumer protection.

    Missouri state records show contributions to Matt Blunt's campaign came from firms and individuals with business pending before Roy Blunt's subcommittees. Although some of the companies have significant interests in the state, others do not.

    Top executives at Freddie Mac, for example, contributed $4,000 to his campaign. On Nov. 6, 2000, Senior Vice President Gary Lanzara and Vice President Lelan Brendsel gave $1,000 each. Two weeks later, Freddie Mac lobbyist David Glenn and his wife, Cherie, also contributed $1,000 apiece. Cherie is listed as a homemaker; the couple reside in Great Falls, Va.

    Contributions from telecommunications-related entities accounted for over $10,000. Railway transportation companies also contributed more than $6,000 to Matt Blunt's campaign. John Scruggs, a top lobbyist for Altria, formerly Phillip Morris, contributed $1,000. Other contributions came from companies and executives in--or representatives for--such heavily regulated industries as healthcare, insurance, chemicals and defense technology.

    By far the biggest outside contributors to Matt Blunt's campaign, however, were colleagues of Roy Blunt. Campaign finance documents show 84 House lawmakers made 95 contributions to the secretary of state campaign, totaling more than $65,000.

    "What it looks like is that people were giving not because of an independent desire to help Matt Blunt but because he was Roy Blunt's son," said Larry Noble of the Center for Responsive Politics. "Clearly, there are questions raised by the fact that so much money came from out-of-state donors, and it looks like the givers have interests where Mr. Blunt might be able to help.

    Finally, Governor Matt Blunt has tried to prevent the U.S. Attorney's office from investigating his family's scandals by putting the wife of U.S. Attorney Todd Graves (U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri) on the Blunt Family payroll to the tune of a cool half million dollars a year, and he used taxpayer dollars to do it. This is described in the Kansas City Star. And here is an excerpt from a petition to Attorney General Gonzales demanding an investigation of this corruption:

    It has recently been reported that United States Attorney Todd Graves and his family will personally benefit from no-bid state contracts valued at more than $3.6 million given by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. This raises serious ethical and legal questions concerning Mr. Graves' ability to perform his job, which includes investigating and prosecuting public corruption in federal, state and local government, including the Blunt administration, those who might attempt to influence the Blunt administration, or Blunt's father, the United States Congressman from Missouri's 7th District.

    Awarding these contracts to the Graves family effectively undermines any attempt by the United States Attorney's Office to investigate claims of public corruption as they did against former Speaker of the House Bob Griffin or Attorney General William Webster...

    On Feb. 9, 2005 the Blunt administration announced that Tracy Graves, wife of United States Attorney Todd Graves, had been given a no-bid contract to run the second most lucrative motor vehicle fee office in Missouri, located in Gladstone. As the fee agent, Tracy Graves will gross more than $2.6 million over the next four years of Governor Blunt's term. US Attorney Todd Graves' brother-in-law, Todd Bartles, was also awarded a $1 million no-bid contract to run the Sugar Creek Motor Vehicle Fee Office.

    In addition, two congressional staffers to Congressmen Sam Graves, who is the brother of United States Attorney Todd Graves, were also given no-bid contracts, even as they continue to be on the Federal Government's payroll. Congressman Sam Graves' Deputy Chief of Staff Dean Brookshier was given a no-bid contract to run the Chillicothe office and Field Representative Naomi Boss was awarded the Keytesville office.

    This arrangement goes far beyond the appearance of impropriety. One could reasonably argue that this lucrative contract will ensure that the Blunt administration is never investigated for corruption or wrongdoing as long as United States Attorney Graves and his family are personally getting rich off of the administration.

    We also strongly feel that United States Attorney Todd Graves has violated the U.S. Department of Justice's Standards of Conduct, specifically section 1-4.320, which states:

    Conflicts of Interest. Employees may not engage in outside activities that create or appear to create a conflict of interest with their official duties. Such a conflict exists when the outside activity would: (1) require the recusal of the employee from significant aspects of his or her official duties (5 C.F.R. § 2635.802(b)); (2) create an appearance that the employee's official duties were performed in a biased or less than impartial manner (5 C.F.R. § 2635.502); or (3) create an appearance of official sanction or endorsement (5 C.F.R. § 2635.702(b)).

    It is our sincere hope that you would obtain all correspondence, including emails and phone records, between the Graves family, the Blunt transition team and the Blunt administration in connection with these arrangements. It is essential to know who approached whom in regards to this arrangement and what promises were made.

    An added concern is the fact that in his official capacity, United States Attorney Graves also was a member of the interview and hiring team for the Missouri Department of Public Safety Director. This was an official governmental body that was responsible for the review of applicants and the selection of the final panel of nominees to the Governor. Such participation now makes it impossible for United States Attorney Graves to effectively investigate or prosecute misconduct by the Department of Public Safety in the expenditure of federal dollars, including Homeland Security Funds.

    Can we tolerate this kind of corruption in American politics? The Republican party includes Roy Blunt in its leadership. This, along with their defense of Tom DeLay's corruption, is a dark stain on the reputation of the Republican party.

    But let's turn to Blunt's rival for Tom DeLay's top spot. John Boehner voted to weaken House ethics rules to try and save Tom DeLay from corruption accusations, but then flip-flopped when it became clear that Tom DeLay could not be saved. This alone shows that Boehner is weak as a reformer and soft on corruption. Not to mention, he is a flip-flopper. But there is more to Boehner as well. As part of the Ohio Republican political machine, he is tainted by the massive corruption of that state party. Ohio Republicans are massively corrupt, with Congressmen like Mike Oxley and Bob Ney as well as Ohio Gov. Bob Taft embroiled in scandals. John Boehner does not seem directly linked to coingate or the other massive scandals hitting Ohio's Republican Party, but neither has he been crusading for reform within his state's party. Again, he seems soft on corruption at best. But wait...there's more.

    We claim that the Abramoff scandal is exclusively a Republicans scandal. The Rpublicans claim that Democrats are tainted as well. The difference is that we are focusing on the politicians who are directly linked to Abramoff himself while Republicans are looking at all politicians who have received money from the Indian tribes that Abramoff has represented, as if the tribes themselves were the source of the corruption. Well, you and I realize that it is ABRAMOFF and those most closely linked to him that are the scandal. ABRAMOFF, not the Indian tribes, has pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Based on our criteria, ONLY REPUBLICANS are implicated. But the Republicans want to define ALL politicians who have taken money from the Indian tribes as being tainted. Well, based on this Republican definition, John Boehner of Ohio is one of the most tainted of Congressmen because he is one of the top beneficiaries of these Indian tribes. So let's ask the Republican Party: Which is it? If the Democrats are implicated, then Rep. John Boehner seems the most corrupt of all and should resign. If Rep. John Boehner is innocent, then there ARE NO DEMOCRATS IMPLICATED IN THIS SCANDAL. They can't have it both ways.

    Tom DeLay and Randy Cunningham have been brought low by corruption. But do the Republicans learn? NO! They are favoring one massively corrupt man (Roy Blunt) and one man who is by their own definition corrupt or by our definition merely a wimp when it comes to fighting corruption (John Boehner). Is this really the best the Republicans can do?

    You know the score. Write your Congress Critters and the media telling the Republicans that they better get a clue and stop foisting corrupt politicians on us. They better clean up their act or America will clean up for them. Speak out and be heard!

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    Abramoff: A REPUBLICAN Scandal

    Republicans are trying to claim that the Abramoff trial taints Democrats as well as Republicans. This really does not seem true. It is true that the Indian tribes that hired Abramoff ALSO gave money to Democrats. But it is NOT the Indian tribes that are guilty of corruption. It is Abramoff. So politicians who took money from the Indian tribes are no more guilty of corruption than any other poliitician. But those who are directly linked to Abramoff, including the top Republican Congressmen, are quite probably corrupt.

    Here is Howard Dean's take on it from an interview with Wolf "I used to be a good journalist" Blitzer:

    BLITZER: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who has now pleaded guilty to bribery charges, among other charges, a Republican lobbyist in Washington, should the Democrat who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?

    DEAN: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. And we've looked through all of those FEC reports to make sure that's true.

    BLITZER: But through various Abramoff-related organizations and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money that presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.

    DEAN: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either. There is no evidence...

    BLITZER: What about Senator Byron Dorgan?

    DEAN: Senator Byron Dorgan and some others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth. They have misled the American people. And now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.

    BLITZER: Unfortunately Mr. Chairman, we got to leave it right there.

    I know CNN wants to be the paid mouthpiece of the Republican Party the way Fox News and MSNBC are, but this is stupid. Trying to claim that the Indian tribes themselves are somehow the root of the corruption and hence shifting the blame is NOT responsible journalism. But CNN has not practiced responsible journalism since the early 1990's.

    Go Howard Dean! And let's remember that this is the same Howard Dean who has raised a record amount of money for the DNC and has done it by relying MORE on direct contributions from voters and LESS on soft money that is so open to corruption. With Dean's Democracy Bonds the Democratic Party now has a reliable source of clean money month after month, becoming even less corruptable. Meanwhile, the Republicans seem more and more tied up in corruption in their attempts to feed the military-industrial-religious complex they worship and in their attempts to make large profits from politics.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Abramhoff pleads shouldn't end there!

    Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is at the center of a whirlwind of Republican corruption, has reached a plea agreement wherein he will plead guilty in exchange for his testimony against his former business and political colleagues. This could blow up big time for the Republican party. This could be the final curtain pulled back, revealing the true sleaze of Bush's modern day, Halliburton-Republicans. From Tom DeLay (R-TX) to Conrad Burns (R-MO) the Republican party leadership can't escape this one unless the media really helps them spin it into obscurity. We are the ones who have to prevent that.

    Here is a good summary of the Abramhoff/Republican scandal. Read up on it if you like.

    And here is a good summary from Daily Kos.

    One way the Republicans are already trying to spin it is the "Democrats Did it Too" defense. First of all, this is the lamest excuse in the book and shows just how desperate they are. Who cares if the Democrats did it too? We want corruption rooted out and right now the deepest roots of corruption seem to be in the Republican Party, but ALL corruption should be rooted out. The Republicans seem to be soft on corruption and it is time to call them on it. But there is another problem with the whining "Democrats Did it Too" defense. It isn't true in this case. THe claim going around the right wing media is that Abramhoff donated to both parties. Truth is, not one Democrat received money directly from Abramhoff. This is a REPUBLICAN scandal. Media Matters has good coverage of the Republican lie that Abramhoff gave to both parties.

    In 2005 the increasing Iraq quagmire and the revalation, due to hurricane Katrina, of the callous disregard the Republicans have for American lives were major turning points against the Republicans. Regular readers of this blog know that scandals have been percolating around as well, tarnishing the "Republicans as the 'moral' party" myth. But the Abramhoff plea deal may represent yet another turning point against the Republicans. They are losing the war on terrorism, they are failing to protect American lives...and now it is becoming clear that they are failing to uphold even the most basic of moral principles. The Republican failures are piling up and America is taking notice.

    Keep the momentum going. Write to Congress and demand an independent investigation into the Abramhoff scandal. And more importantly, write the media, both national and local, demanding that the Republican party clean house. Demand the resignation of Tom DeLay, Conrad Burns and all other Republicans who directly received money through Abramhoff. Make sure you express your disgust at the corruption of the Republican party.