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May 14, 2005

Are The Democrats Howling Hypocrites Over Ethics Violations?

Topics: Political News and commentaries

American Daughter provides us with an excellent perspective on the issue of ethics violations by Democrats and Republicans alike. Because he is an effective conservative voice on Capitol Hill, Congressman Tom DeLay is being severely attacked by Democrats. So we've all heard from the cacaphony of Democratic voices attacking Tom Delay, but what about the Dems themselves? Let's consider some of the most strident voices accusing him of ethics violations:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi helped secure $3 million last year for a nonprofit transportation research organization whose president gave money to her political action committee as the group was paying for a European trip for one of her policy advisers.

That's our distinquished all complaints no solutions Nancy Pelosi; damn, and we thought she was perfect! But of course she's not the only Dem with fingers in the National treasury cookie jar.

Transportation adviser Lara Levison's nine-day, $4,475 trip to Spain and Germany last April to learn about hydrogen-fuel cells for buses was primarily paid for by WestStart-CALSTART.

But just days before the trip, WestStart-CALSTART announced that Mrs. Pelosi had helped the nonprofit group secure $1 million from the Federal Transit Administration for a bus rapid-transit program. A month after the Levison trip, the group sent out a press release thanking her for a $2 million grant for a fuel-cell program.

According to campaign records, WestStart-CALSTART Chief Executive Officer John R. Boesel also gave $1,000 to one of Mrs. Pelosi's political action committees in 2003 and $1,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Read more in this Washington Times article,  Pelosi helped donor to PAC.

When it comes to cashing in on family connections, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's relatives can't hold a candle to the clan of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who's sponsored legislation that netted his family hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees....

In recent days, the top House Republican has been accused of having his family work on his campaigns - a charge that has Democrats clamoring for his scalp....

It turns out that while more than a few congressional relatives derive financial benefit from their proximity to power, Harry Reid, the [Los Angeles] Times said, "is in a class by himself."

In the last four years alone, firms with Reid family ties have collected more than $2 million in lobbying fees.

"So pervasive are the ties among Reid, members of his family and Nevada's leading industries and institutions that it's difficult to find a significant field in which such a relationship does not exist," the paper said.

For instance, the Nevada Democrat once sponsored an environmental bill that he touted as a bipartisan measure to protect the ecosystem and help the economy in America's fastest-growing state.

But as the Times reported: "What Reid did not explain was that the bill promised a cavalcade of benefits to real estate developers, corporations and local institutions that were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees to his sons' and son-in-law's firms, federal lobbyist reports show."

The Howard Hughes Corp. alone paid $300,000 to attorney and son-in-law Steven Barringer to push a provision allowing the company to acquire 998 acres of federal land near booming Las Vegas. According to the Times, other provisions of Reid's legislation were intended to benefit a real estate development headed by a senior partner in the Nevada law firm that employs all four of the Senate minority leader's sons.

Seldom have so many close relatives directly profited off their familial connection to a powerful politician.

But as the Times noted, there's more: "The governments of three of Nevada's biggest cities -- Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson -- also gained from the legislation, which freed up tens of thousands of acres of federal land for development and annexation. All three were represented by Reid's family members who contacted his staff on their clients' behalf."

Read more in this NewsMax article,  Harry Reid Family Cashing In.

In the last Congress the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, Representative Joel Hefley (R-CO), joined the Democrats to warn DeLay that he was close to violating the House Ethics Rules. The Committee did not charge DeLay with a violation, it only warned him....

Some Republicans have suggested that the Ethics Committee does not want to meet because it would need to consider the case of Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) who was convicted by a federal court. McDermott received a tape of an intercepted cellular phone call between House Speaker Gingrich and the House Republican Leadership. McDermott broke the law when he released the tape, eventually providing it to the news media. The House Rules might require him to lose his seat. While no Democrat likely would join Republicans to act against McDermott they would look foolish filing charges against DeLay while protecting one of their own who is a convicted criminal.

Read more in this Free Congress article,  Ethics in the House of Representatives

Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who sits on the House ethics committee, took a 2001 trip to Puerto Rico that was paid for by a registered lobbyist firm -- an apparent violation of the chamber's ethics rules -- according to documents that she filed with the House clerk....

A spokeswoman for Mrs. Jones disputed those records yesterday, saying "human error" led a staffer to list the name of D.C. lobbyist firm Smith, Dawson & Andrews as having paid the $3,366 tab for Mrs. Jones and her husband to travel to the Puerto Rican island of Vieques in the Caribbean.

"Smith Dawson was put on the form in error," Jones spokeswoman Nicole Williams said. "The invitation came from Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques. They hired Smith Dawson to handle logistics for the trip."

Miss Williams declined to provide The Washington Times with any evidence to support her assertion and refused to have either the lobbying firm or the group she says actually paid for the trip provide any documentation to prove her claim.

In addition to the travel disclosure form, which was filed two weeks after Mrs. Jones' return and bears her signature, the lobbyists also were listed as the trip's sponsor in the financial disclosure forms she signed and filed at the end of the year....House rules specifically bar "registered lobbyists" from paying for trips by members.

Also on the Vieques trip with Mrs. Jones, who was on the ethics committee at the time, were Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and other House members....The total bill for Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Pelosi and Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, New York Democrat, to travel to Vieques was $8,311, according to House records....But the total bill for members' travel to Vieques that weekend could not be computed because itemized travel disclosure forms for Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, and Delegate Donna M.C. Christensen, the Virgin Islands' nonvoting member in Congress, were not filed in House clerk records.

Read more in this Washington Times article,  Lobbyist paid for Jones' '01 trip

Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel said Thursday that GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay did nothing wrong by taking several trips abroad and having the costs picked up by lobbyists, and even praised the top Republican - after he was confronted with NewsMax's report detailing his own congressional junkets....

Asked about his own junkets, which - as NewsMax reported on Wednesday, included stays in first-class hotels in San Juan, Las Vegas, Wyoming, Florida, New Orleans, London and Jerusalem - Engel was unapologetic....

Asked to explain why he took wife, son and daughter on some of his fact-finding missions, Engel explained: "I'm a good father"

Read more in this NewsMax article,  House Democrat Engel: DeLay Trips OK

Who are the POTS?  Who is the KETTLE?..........[American Daughter]

Posted by Hyscience at May 14, 2005 4:31 PM

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