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Somebody's Going to Jail...

Bob Ney reported to prison yesterday to begin serving his 2+ years sentence on federal corruption charges stemming from his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. His former chief of staff William Heaton pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with the same corruption inquiry.


Hang On, Hoyer

NPR's Marketplace did a story last night on the loophole that allows lobbyists to fund lawmaker getaways to exotic locales by calling the trip a fundraiser and funneling the lobbyist money through the lawmaker's political action committee (PAC). Of particularl interest to Marketplace are the travel plans of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who campaigned last year on cleaning up corruption.


Ney Sentenced

Disgraced former Rep.

Making a List, Checking it Twice

The Washington Post published a run down of imprisoned super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff's 2001 holiday shopping list which listed the various expensive treats and trinkets Abramoff gifted to members of Congress he was courting. It certainly confirms just how dearly Abramoff prized Tom DeLay's actions on his behalf - he sent the former House Majority Leader $250 worth of Godiva chocolates.

Draining the Swamp

Public Campaign's President and CEO, Nick Nyhart along with representatives from US PIRG, Democracy Matters, and Common Cause California talked with the San Francisco Chronicle a few days ago about the possibilty of passing Clean Elections at the federal level. Yesterday the Chronicle published this strong endorsement to "drain the swamp" and clean up Congress by making Clean Elections a part of the Democratic agenda in 2007.


Outsourcing Oversight

Among the reforms being considered by the Democratic leaders of the incoming 110th Congress is an independent ethics oversight panel, an apparent acknowledgement that Congress is no longer able to police itself. Yet, despite this interest in investigating new ethical breaches no major overhaul is being considered that would mitigate existing conflicts of interest.


Mad As, Well, You Know

David Sirota, the author of Hostile Takeover who writes frequently on the importance of publicly financed elections has this awfully satisfying rant up over at Huffington Post on how frustrating it is to watch legislators campaign against corruption, then go right back to cocktail hour with lobbyists.


How About a Little Ambition

The Democrats are working out the particulars of the ethics legislation they will roll out in January, and while some members of Congress seem resistant to change, others argue that the proposals on the table don't do nearly enough. I'd have to agree.


"Dollar Bill's" Best Shot

I'm no campaign consultant but this doesn't strike me as the strongest message on which to rest one's re-election hopes.

Subpoena Profiteers

Help me out - I'm still trying to place this on the funny/sad continuum. TPMmuckraker is reporting that one law firm, Covington and Burling, anticipates such a high number of corruption investigations to be initiated by the new Democratic Congress that its circulating a memo touting its services to potential investigation targets (like big corporations).