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Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

Despite Earmark Ban, Boehner Brings Home Pork-Barrel Defense Project That Pentagon Doesn’t Want

Think Progress- By Zaid Jilani at 9:58 am

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) likes to tout his opposition to earmarks. Indeed, since first entering Congress in 1991, the congressman has never requested a single earmark. And one of his caucus’s first moves in the new Congress has been to renew a voluntary earmark ban in the House of Representatives, making good on a major campaign promise.

Yet as CAP Senior Fellow Scott Lilly reveals in a new analysis, “No, He Wouldn’t—Would He?,” Boehner and House Republicans appear to have included an earmark-in-all-but-name for the new Speaker’s district in the newly released House Appropriations Continuing Resolution (CR). The CR includes massive cuts to important programs like Head Start and LIHEAP, but one thing it doesn’t cut is $450 million stashed away for the construction of a Joint Strike Fighter engine the Pentagon doesn’t even want.

MORE HERE

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

Contact:  Garrett Russo //

13 Oct 2010 //

Washington, D.C. - Corrupt lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are polluting the United States Capitol.  These members highlight the need for increased oversight by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), including expanding its reach to the Senate. Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released The Most Corrupt Members of Congress: Unfinished Business, highlighting the urgent need for active ethics enforcement in Congress. In fact, ethical lapses are the only true bipartisan activity in Washington today, and further highlight the need for increased enforcement in the 112th Congress. Many of these same characters will likely remain on the public payroll.

“Since CREW released our first Most Corrupt report in 2005, more than half of the unethical members of Congress we’ve highlighted have left office,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW’s Executive Director.  “That’s a pretty good batting average, but not good enough. 26 shady politicians remain, most of whom haven’t even been investigated by the congressional ethics committees. Congress must give the OCE the tools it needs to ensure that every corrupt politician is held accountable for his or her actions.  In addition, the Senate would benefit from the creation of a similar office with jurisdiction to inquire into senatorial misdeeds.”

Currently the OCE has no subpoena power, a very limited time frame to investigate any allegations, and can only look at misconduct that occurred since March 2008.  In spite of being forced to fight with one hand tied behind its back, the OCE has referred 13 cases to the House Ethics Committee for review, though the committee has taken action against only two.  Even that limited success has prompted members of both parties to openly talk of stripping away the OCE’s authority — or even dismantling the office altogether — in the 112th Congress. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) has proposed legislation that would eviscerate the OCE, and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has said he wants to “take a look” at its usefulness.

(more…)

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12 of America’s Most Crooked Candidates on the Ballot in the 2010 Election

Here are some of the absolutely least deserving candidates for high office.
September 16, 2010 |

Since 2005, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has compiled a list of the dirtiest, most corrupt critters to scurry across the halls of Congress. The annual report shines some light on the double-dealing and back-scratching of some shady characters, and its release generally gets good play among political reporters.

But 2010 is the year of the upstart, insurgent candidacies — with dozens of “outsiders” on the scene dedicated to “cleaning up Washington,” “taking our country back,” etc. It’s the year of the Tea Parties, and no incumbent is safe. So it’s entirely appropriate that CREW should release a new list this year, one that looks not at the worst sitting members of Congress but at the dirtiest candidates — the people most likely to rank among the most corrupt in Congress if they go on to win their elections.

From James Traficant, running as an independent candidate in Ohio just 14 months after his release from prison on charges of bribery, racketeering and filing fraudulent tax returns, to Alvin Greene, an unemployed and apparently indigent Democratic Senate candidate out of South Carolina who can’t explain how he came up with the $10,000 fee required to file — here are 12 of the absolutely least deserving candidates for high office.

Roy Blunt — Running for U.S. Senate, Missouri

Roy Blunt is a candidate in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in Missouri. For the last 14 years, Rep. Blunt has served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s 7th congressional district. As a member of Congress, Rep. Blunt came under fire for a variety of issues including employing the same corrupt tactics that forced his mentor, former Texas Rep. Tom DeLay, to resign. Rep. Blunt’s ethical issues were documented in CREW’s 2006 report on the most corrupt members of Congress.

In 2003, Rep. Blunt divorced his wife of 31 years to marry Philip Morris (now Altria) lobbyist Abigail Perlman. Before it was known publicly that Rep. Blunt and Ms. Perlman were dating – and only hours after Rep. Blunt assumed the role of Majority Whip – he tried to secretly insert a provision into Homeland Security legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris, at the expense of competitors. Notably, Philip Morris/Altria and its subsidiaries contributed at least $217,000 to campaign committees connected to Rep. Blunt from 1996 to 2006.

Also in 2003, Rep. Blunt helped his son, Andrew Blunt, by inserting a provision into the $79 billion emergency appropriation for the war in Iraq to benefit U.S. shippers like United Parcel Service, Inc. and FedEx Corp. Andrew Blunt lobbied on behalf of UPS in Missouri, and UPS and FedEx contributed at least $58,000 to Rep. Blunt from 2001 to 2006.

Family connections have also helped another of Rep. Blunt’s sons, former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. Gov. Blunt received campaign contributions from nearly three dozen influential Missouri lobbyists and lawyers when he ran for governor of Missouri in 2004, half of whom had provided financial support to his father. Earlier in 2000, when Matt Blunt was running for Secretary of State, Rep. Blunt was involved in an apparent scheme, along with Rep. DeLay, to funnel money through a local party committee into Matt Blunt’s campaign committee.

MORE HERE

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By Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy In Focus, June 25, 2010

Gaza FlotillaPosted as a complement to Stephen Zunes’s Foreign Policy in Focus piece Israel’s Dubious Investigation of Flotilla Attack.

In a letter to President Barack Obama date June 17, 329 out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives referred to Israel’s May 31 attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters, which resulted in the deaths of nine passengers and crew and injuries to scores of others, as an act of “self-defense” which they “strongly support.” Similarly, a June 21 Senate lettersigned by 87 out of 100 senators — went on record “fully” supporting what it called “Israel’s right to self-defense,” claiming that the widely supported effort to relieve critical shortages of food and medicine in the besieged Gaza Strip was simply part of a “clever tactical and diplomatic ploy” by “Israel’s opponents” to “challenge its international standing.”

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FBI Files Show More Threats On Members Of Congress

TPM MUCKRAKER

Justin Elliott | May 25, 2010, 8:31AM

Politico adds several more names to the growing list of members of Congress who have recently received death threats over political positions.

FBI documents from closed cases show members of both parties — but more Dems than Republicans — received threats in 2009.

Politico reports:

I voted for you,” the caller said in a voice mail to Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler’s district office. “If you vote for that stimulus package, I’m gonna kill you. Simple as that.” …Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were threatened with assassination. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) were threatened with bodily harm. Someone told Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) that her throat would be cut. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) was told someone would physically “f— her up” if she held a town hall meeting in her district, according to the FBI files.

Check out our guide to previous threats here.

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Willim Fisher, Inter Press Service News, Feb 23, 2010

NEW YORK, Feb 23  – The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) briefed members of Congress from both political parties numerous times about the agency’s interrogation and detention programmes, several prominent human rights groups said Monday.

The groups – Amnesty International USA, the Centre for Constitutional Rights and the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law – filed a lawsuit in 2007 based on their requests for information about the programme under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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Daniel Tencer | Raw Story | Sunday, Dec 27th, 2009

Obama ‘giving his generals a little too much leeway’

Congressman Dennis Kucinich says President Barack Obama ought to fire the generals who publicly aired their views on the war in Afghanistan during this fall’s deliberations on a troop surge.

The Ohio Democrat known for his anti-war views said there is “no question” that the president was pressured by the military into approving a 30,000-troop surge.

“Some of [Obama's] generals made remarks publicly, which is unheard of,” Kucinich told Russia Today. “Generals are subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief. When generals start trying to suggest publicly what the president should do, they shouldn’t be generals anymore. That’s the way it works. And frankly, President Obama, who is a good man, has given his generals a little too much leeway.”

Kucinich also said that the Constitutional mechanism for declaring and waging war, which gives authority over the issue to Congress, has been eroded by successive presidencies that have not seen fit to ask Congress for permission for military campaigns abroad.

“We’ve had a series of presidents who have basically taken the initiative to go to war and hadn’t really checked with Congress,” Kucinich said. “Richard Nixon prolonged a war in Vietnam and he did so when many efforts were made by members of congress to cut off funds.”

Kucinich has tabled a resolution in Congress that calls for a vote on a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

The following video was broadcast on Russia Today, December 23, 2009.

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When you ask your kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up, honey?” and she responds, “a lobbyist!”, here’s a t-shirt of that moment.

Keith Olbermann, in his rant/impassioned invective on Health Care Reform, which I posted earlier today on Suzie-Q, cited evidence of campaign contributions from Big Pharma to both Republican and Democrat (“Blue Dog”) Congressmen opposing Health  Care Reform, collated by a body known as Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org). Their daily blog, Capitol Eye Blog, provides daily news plus a daily article, Capitol Eye Opener, “Your morning article on the world of money in politics…”.

I have posted today’s Capitol Eye Opener below, together with the opening paragraphs of the most interesting article they have dug up today, which is from The Boston Globe.

capital_eye_logo

Capital Eye Opener: Tuesday, August 4

Published by Dave Levinthal on August 4, 2009 10:00 AM | Permalink

Your morning digest of of the world of money in politics

  • Like your generic drugs and the often cheaper prices they offer vesus the name brand stuff? Big drug companies don’t necessarily agree — and they’re spending millions of dollars to convince Congress to taylor health care legislation to their interests, the Associated Press reports.
  • When you ask your kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up, honey?” and she responds, “a lobbyist!”, here’s a t-shirt of that moment.
  • The Center for Responsive Politics found itself in the news throughout the nation today. We bein in Minnesota, where Pat Doyle of Minneapolis’ Star-Tribune writes about how the health care industry is funneling signifncant amounts of money to lawmakers. In Rhode Island, the Providence Journal’s Steve Peoples notes our research in writing about an increasingly hot congressional race. And Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson discusses how health care lobbyists are attempting to influence the Blue Dogs — conservative Democrats who, in many cases, haven’t made up their minds on how to reform the nation’s health care system.

Who will stand strong in heat of healthcare fight?

By Derrick Z. Jackson | Boston Globe | August 4, 2009

HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi flashed some mighty sharp fangs last week at the insurance industry. The industry, along with drug companies, hospitals, and medical associations, is trying to torpedo government insurance options to insure all Americans. Saying the industry is conducting a “shock-and-awe carpet bombing’’ to “perpetuate the status quo,’’ she went so far as to say the insurance companies “are the villains in this,’’ with their “exorbitant profits.’’ She charged, “they have been immoral all along how they have treated the people that they insure.’’

But considering insurers’ campaign contributions to Democrats, including Pelosi, who is actually going to bite the health industry in the leg on behalf of the American people? Is it really going to be Pelosi? Senate majority leader Harry Reid? President Obama?

SOURCE

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by Robert Naiman | CommonDreams.org, June 21, 2009

In March, President Obama told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that the United States must have an “exit strategy” in Afghanistan.

At least eighty-eight Members of Congress agree. They’re supporting H.R. 2404, a bill introduced by Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) whose text is one sentence long: “Not later than December 31, 2009, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to Congress a report outlining the United States exit strategy for United States military forces in Afghanistan participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.”

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By Dennis Kucinich | Information Clearing House, May 15, 2009

WASHINGTON – May 14 – Speaking on a Supplemental Appropriations bill that would continue to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:

“America went to war against Iraq based on a lie. We were told back in 2002 that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The previous administration even pursued torture to try to extract false confessions in order to justify the war. It is time to tell the truth. The truth is we should not have prosecuted a war against the Iraqi people. The truth is the Democratic Senate could have stopped the Iraq war in 2002. The truth is we Democrats were given control of Congress in 2006 to end the war. The truth is this bill continues a disastrous war, which has cost the lives of thousands of our soldiers. The truth is the occupation has fueled the insurgency. The truth is the Iraq war will cost the American and the Iraqi people trillions of dollars and as many as a million innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of this war.

“Don’t tell the American people that you are ending the war by continuing to fund the war. Don’t tell the American people that the war will end when their plans leave 50, 000 troops in Iraq. Don’t tell the American people that the way out of Afghanistan is to escalate our presence.

“Get out of Iraq. Get out of  Afghanistan. Come home America.”

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