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Tom DeLay

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Mistletoe Angel
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25 posted 04-12-2005 04:46 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Senator Lincoln Chafee, another high-profile Republican senator facing a difficult re-election campaign next year, has expressed his concerns of DeLay.

He had this to say yesterday:

"We've got to uphold the highest standards of legality and ethics. You can't have your leader under a cloud. It makes it difficult to run."

I think this seems to indicate another challenge for the GOP right now with the DeLay controversy. If they come out too softly on DeLay, they'll be "hammered" by the Democrats and it may hurt the party's overall potential to maintain or collect seats in 2006.  

This will surely be a great test for the party in particular. If DeLay's conscience gets fully cleared of the charges, it could be an icebreaker for the GOP and greatly improve the party's image. But the reversal could also happen should he be indicted.

This case is at a very unpredictable place right now. Enough said for now.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

D.Lester Young
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26 posted 04-13-2005 02:37 PM       View Profile for D.Lester Young   Email D.Lester Young   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit D.Lester Young's Home Page   View IP for D.Lester Young

I have seen some things about Texas politics, I do not like. Like the Governor of Texas attacking a US Texas Senator who talked to US Senator Clinton, recording them for a video. Well if Senators cannot talk together, there is a problem in Houston and the rest of Texas. If DeVey imports this brand into Congress, then we are in deep trouble. I do have a problem with him being the judge. I have a problem with him attacking all the judiciary in labels, well he is a Creationalist that wants to creating everything in government in his image.
Mistletoe Angel
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27 posted 04-13-2005 03:50 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Yes, Young, I do believe when DeLay pretty much swore revenge on judges and such after the unfortunate Schiavo loss was well below the belt, and the fact Cheney and Frist even consulted him and said they believe that was inappropriate indicates he is in an uncomfortable position right now, and appears to have lukewarm relations with more moderate Republicans.

Anyway, I did do some research and found some of DeLay's historical past I did find intriguing, particularly when he was speaking in consideration of the Government Ethics Reform Act of 1989 on November 16, 1989. Here's an excerpt from that Congressional Record:

"H.R. 3660, the Government Ethics Reform Act, will strengthen and clarify existing House rules. Issues such as the ban on congressional honoraria, limits on gifts and travel, increased financial disclosure, restrictions on outside income, and conflict of interest rules will all be tightened to reflect the growing and changing role of Government service...

I am especially pleased to support this comprehensive overhaul of House ethics rules and conflict of interest laws because it is an important first step in enhancing the ethical standards throughout Government and adjusting compensation for individuals whose skills are essential to the quality of service Government provides to the American people. It is my hope that honor will be restored to elected offices so that we can continue to work for the values that we have fought for in the past with quality representation in the future."


What's interesting, though, is a noticable change of behavior in following years after 1989. For instance, consider what he said about a "scandal-ridden" House on April 7, 1992, also from the Congressional Record:

"Now, the House needs new management, and that is Republican management. In my opinion, it will not do any good to get rid of the present Speaker or the present leadership, because what will happen is more will come in and it is the arrogance of power that we are talking about here. What is going on here is arrogance of power. We need a change in management...

The Democrats could offer us another candidate, but it just will not change the system. Only when the public and Republican pressure becomes so great does the Democrat leadership act. We need new leadership which will act because it is right, not because they have been caught in coverups and scandals."


Finally, consider here when DeLay asked the Ethics Committee to investigate their House Post Office on March 2, 1994:

"Mr. Speaker, I just am saddened by these kinds of issues. I believe very deeply in this institution, and I would hope that others do, too, and understand that, No. 1, the Justice Department is another branch of our Government, that we are empowered and mandated to clean our own house. Yet some in this body do not seem to understand that and would rather see mud thrown at this institution than to get to the bottom of problems in this institution"

*

I believe this may be an important chunk of information to review, and judge his consistency between 1989 and 2005.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Alicat
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28 posted 04-27-2005 11:37 AM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

And in the past couple of days, there has been a flurry of activity at Congress, primarily Representatives and Senators filing amended paperwork about travel, gifts, and donations.  Even some of the very people accusing DeLay of unethical behavior amending their paperwork so they don't have the very same skeletons in their closets.  They are singling out DeLay for a very explicit reason, and it has nothing to do with ethics.  I know they don't realize the ramifications if they crucify him: that every single Representative and Senator will be subject to the same accusations and treatment.  Perhaps this will be a good thing, furthering the cleanup of Capitol Hill, like was done in the mid-80's and again in the early 90's.  And all of that was backlash from persecuting a single individual.  Those times, all those little perks were exposed.  The spas, mountain and sea recreation, 'fact finding' expiditions, first class accommodations, usage of military transport for personal travel, all on the taxpayer dime and through special interest groups.  Yeah, there was some bellyaching from our elected officials about the loss of perks, but that didn't stop them from quickly and deftly finding loopholes.
Balladeer
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29 posted 04-27-2005 12:46 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I agree, 'cat. Right now there are a whole bunch of Congressmen saying, "Oops!"

From USA Today.....today


Politics - USATODAY.com
USA TODAY
DeLay has company in ethical gray areas

Wed Apr 27, 7:01 AM ET



House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is defending himself against accusations of ethics violations by insisting he didn't do anything that fellow lawmakers haven't done. The Texas Republican has a point.

Like DeLay, dozens of lawmakers have paid family members to work for their campaigns. It's common to take privately financed "fact-finding" trips to resort locations, as DeLay did. And many members of Congress, particularly those in leadership roles or with presidential aspirations, pump money into state legislative races to enhance their influence.

But some critics contend that DeLay, who's under scrutiny over travel, fundraising and hiring of relatives for his campaign, has gone beyond the limits of what the rules allow. "He has pushed the envelope further than any other leader in contemporary times," says Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.

The controversy is calling attention to some gray areas in congressional ethics rules. Overall, personal ethics on Capitol Hill are more tightly regulated than ever. In 1995, Congress cracked down on lobbyist largesse. It prohibited any lawmaker from receiving gifts worth more than $100 a year from any single source. The same year, it required lobbyists to disclose who they work for and how much they are paid. And in 2002, a new campaign-finance law banned six-figure contributions that corporations and labor unions had been making to buy access to members of Congress.

But loopholes remain:

• Travel. Ethics rules bar lobbyists from buying a lavish dinner for members of Congress, or from paying for first-class plane tickets and hotel bills at luxury resorts. But lobbyists can do all of those things, and more, as part of a "fact-finding" trip.

Trips are the biggest loophole in the no-gifts rule.

Since 2000, more than $16 million in private money has been spent on 5,410 trips for about 600 members of Congress, according to an analysis by PoliticalMoneyLine, an online political data service. The study found that just over half the trips were financed by tax-exempt and other groups that are under no obligation to disclose sources of their funding.

"There are some great groups with great names that might not be so great when you find out who's behind them," says Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. "We've got to do a better job policing ourselves."

•Relatives on the campaign payroll. Members of Congress aren't supposed to use campaign funds as a personal kitty. But donors' money can find its way into lawmakers' household budgets in the form of salaries paid to relatives.

DeLay put his wife, Christine, and daughter, Dani Ferro, on his campaign payroll. And he has plenty of company on Capitol Hill. An analysis of 2004 campaign spending by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics found that at least 35 members of Congress had relatives as paid campaign workers, most for fundraising, management or clerical services.

The practice has even been approved by the Federal Election Commission: In 2001, the FEC advised Rep. Jesse Jackson (news, bio, voting record) Jr., D-Ill., that he could retain his wife - a former congressional staffer with campaign experience - as a consultant so long as she was paid "no more than the fair market value" for her services. Other lawmakers have made similar arrangements for relatives without asking the FEC for a ruling.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., paid her husband's political consulting firm $180,025 for services, including campaign record-keeping and rent, in the 2003-04 election cycle. Rep. Richard Pombo (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., hired his wife and brother for his campaign and paid them a total of $229,000 over two years.

A 12-year-old law bars lawmakers from putting campaign money to personal use. But paying relatives out of campaign funds could skirt that law, says Norman Ornstein, an American Enterprise Institute scholar who studies Congress: "What you have is a situation where people can convert it to personal use by laundering it through their families."
Mistletoe Angel
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30 posted 04-27-2005 01:36 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel



And I believe you have just touched up on what I hope this sort of investigation can accomplish in the end, Alicat, an examination and identification of these loopholes and seeing to it not just DeLay, but everyone in the House and Senate, are increasingly aware of these rules.

Again, some may look at the way the DeLay investigation has formed as a paltry character-assassination effort or political siege weapon. I don't really believe that to be the case ultimately, as I myself have kept my peace here on this thread and not bash DeLay in a way some bloggers have, criticizing him from re-styling his hair, closing in the gap between his two front teeth and presenting himself as amore softer DeLay to lashing out at him for his comment at the NRA meeting, things which I don't believe should be made a huge fuss over and focus on the investigation itself.

Indeed politicians across both aisles are no stranger to some of the things DeLay is under investigation of, and I believe DeLay is just center to this whole spring cleaning effort because he is a House Majority Leader who has made and is under lots of controversy, and he has been admonished by the House three times, which, like Denise said, is not a severe warning, but still reveals his tendency to perhaps cut corners and cross lines.

Whether he's proven innocent or guilty, I believe this sort of examination would ultimately be better for us all and bring more into focus the core ethics, even if only temporarily.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Alicat
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31 posted 05-04-2005 03:19 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Personally, I find this oddly humourous.  Two democratic senators did the same thing Delay did, howsoever with them, Pelosi wants to give those two a free pass, even though the same lobbyist paid for all three trips unbeknownst to the senators and two of Delay's aides.  For Delay, Pelosi is deeply offended by his unethical behavior.  For the fellow Democrats, Pelosi feels it was an honest mistake.  Ironic, n'est pas?
Mistletoe Angel
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32 posted 05-04-2005 04:34 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

It isn't so much ironic as it is hypocritical.

Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are using all these political slush funds to advance their own lifestyles. It comes to no suprise why approval ratings for Congress are devastatingly low right now.

Tom DeLay uses his PAC fund to buy cigars. Roy Blunt billed his PAC for tickets to a Fleetwood Mac concert. Rick Santorum charges his PAC for Starbucks coffee. Michael Oxley has about $25,000 worth of limousine rides and Vail trips from his PAC. And so on.

It's just a huge mess right now, and all these Republicans and Democrats who do that do in defense is rush saying its perfectly legal, when the real concern here is understanding who formed the law to begin with. Them.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

 
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