View Full Version : Wow! AP seeing of ethically challenged Pelosi

09-29-2010, 01:37 PM
AP off Pelosi's payroll?

WASHINGTON House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised four years ago that Democrats would lead "the most honest, most open, most ethical Congress in history."

But as her party defends its record with its majority in jeopardy, two prominent Democrats await ethics trials. Two other party members gave Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships to relatives. Most importantly, lobbyists, corporations and special interests still have unimpeded ways to buy access to members of Congress.

Take House Majority Whip James Clyburn's annual charity golf tournament, which provides college scholarships for needy students in his South Carolina district and funds the endowment he established at South Carolina State University.

It sounds like a worthy cause, but it's a stretch to believe that national companies which sponsored the event randomly chose students in the 6th District of South Carolina as a priority for charitable giving.

"It really doesn't matter what the money is used for," says Fred Wertheimer, who heads the Congress-watching private group Democracy 21. "If you're asked to provide a large amount of money for something that is important to a member, you are doing a financial favor for the member. That benefit buys influence."

The 'most honest' congress in history?

Draining the swamp?
Yet, her reforms didn't touch access-buying opportunities like campaign fundraisers, corporate-sponsored events for informal lawmaker organizations, or sports tournaments held by members' charities.

The Sunlight Foundation, which tracks congressional fundraising events, has identified more than 9,500 since President George W. Bush signed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act in September 2007. The law embodies reforms cited by Pelosi as proof that she kept her promise to "drain the swamp" of congressional corruption.

Pelosi was instrumental in winning increased disclosure of lobbyists' spending and contributions; a ban on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers; the end of cheap rides on corporate jets; curtailment of privately financed trips that often amounted to free vacations; creation of an independent ethics office; and the identification of sponsors of "earmarks" congressional spending given to favored recipients, who often returned the favor with campaign contributions.

And while it may be just good fortune, Democrats can claim that another Jack Abramoff has not arisen on their watch. The influence-peddling lobbyist, who showered lawmakers and their staffs with favors and eventually went to prison, had strong ties to Republicans.

Failed promise to boost transparency
One Pelosi reform failed miserably when given a reality check.

An Associated Press review last year found that few members of Congress were disclosing that lobbyists were helping them raise campaign cash despite a provision of the Honest Leadership law designed to shed light on the ties between lawmakers and the capital's influence brokers.

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said Democrats "have taken major steps to fulfill this promise, including passing the landmark Honest Leadership and Open Government Act in 2007 and creating the independent, bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics in 2008. As we consider further reform, we will examine updating these laws and the bipartisan comprehensive campaign finance reform law passed in 2002."

Pelosi favors public financing of campaigns, but hasn't had the votes to pass it. If she remains speaker, she'll face a major test early next year on retaining the independent House Office of Congressional Ethics, which she calls a success story.

The office, which conducts preliminary ethics investigations, is run by a board of non-legislators. Its investigations have irritated enough members that several want to curb its authority or eliminate it. Republicans almost succeeded in blocking creation of the office in 2008, as Pelosi won a 207-206 procedural vote to have the matter considered.

GOP: Pelosi has broken her word
Republicans, trying to win back control of the House, now cite ethics charges against Reps. Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California to argue that the speaker broke her word to run the most ethical Congress.

Rangel, former chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, is charged with financial and fundraising misconduct, and has acknowledged some ethical lapses.

09-29-2010, 03:28 PM
The people of California have it all figured out. If we are going to have a house full of crooks, it's probably best that the one that represents you should be one of the biggest crooks of all.


Gayle in MD
09-30-2010, 01:16 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">In 2000, a number of 527 groups were engaging in undisclosed campaign finance activities to influence federal elections. Congress moved quickly to enact comprehensive disclosure requirements to cover the 527 groups.

Reflecting a longstanding consensus in the country and in Congress, the campaign finance disclosure legislation passed with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House.

In the Senate, the 527 disclosure legislation passed by a vote of 92 to 6.

Forty-eight of the 54 Republican Senators voting, or 89 percent, voted for the legislation.

Senator Mitch McConnell was one of only six Republicans who voted against the legislation to require 527 groups to disclose the contributions they received and expenditures they made to influence federal elections.

Last week, ten years later, the Senate faced another vote on campaign finance disclosure.

This time the legislation, known as the DISCLOSE Act, was designed to require disclosure of similar campaign finance information by corporations and labor unions spending money to influence federal elections. These activities were unleashed by the radical and destructive Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.

Once again, Senator Mitch McConnell, now Senate Republican Leader, voted against campaign finance disclosure.

This time, however, so did every other Senate Republican who voted -- all 38 of them.

Senate Republicans went from 89 percent support for campaign finance disclosure in 2000 to 100 percent opposition to campaign finance disclosure in 2010.

That was then.

This is now.

It was clear by the time of the vote last week on the DISCLOSE Act that Senate sponsors were prepared to limit the legislation to contain only campaign finance disclosure provisions.

Nevertheless, Maine Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins who voted for disclosure by 527 groups in 2000 voted to block disclosure by corporations and labor unions in 2010. The Maine Senators did so in the face of a Maine poll of Maine voters that found that "85% of voters feel it is important to know who paid for the political campaign communications they see or hear."

Ten years after Congress passed campaign finance disclosure for 527 groups by overwhelming bipartisan votes, the campaign finance disclosure issue hasn't changed nor has the national consensus in the country in favor of disclosure; the votes of Senate Republicans, however, have changed.

In 2000, Senator McConnell was a lonely Senate Republican voice against campaign finance disclosure. In 2010, Senator McConnell had 38 Republican Senators voting in lockstep with him to block campaign finance disclosure and to deny citizens information they have a basic right to know.

The Republican Senators said no to corporate and labor union campaign finance disclosure, furthermore, despite an 8 to 1 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United holding that such disclosure requirements "do not prevent anyone from speaking," and serve governmental interests in "providing the electorate with information" about money spent to influence elections so they can "make informed choices in the political marketplace."

The DISCLOSE Act, which passed the House in June, failed to reach the Senate floor for consideration and action last week by just one vote, 59 to 39. If even a single Republican Senator had voted yes, the disclosure legislation could have been enacted.

by: Fred Werthheimer
Democracy 21

09-30-2010, 03:32 AM
Why don't you just declare her to be a republican like you did with Eddie Long and be done with it.


09-30-2010, 06:46 AM
LOL, was Pelosi in her current position in 2000? Or is this another exmaple of you agreeing with the negative Dem press but want to change the subject?


09-30-2010, 08:34 AM
Pelosi is going down.
However I believe she will find herself alone on her knee's. Nobodies going to want that.