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Come Out Swinging

New York's Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer has announced a slate of reforms he plans to put in place on January 1 for his administration. The new rules include new contributions limits and lobbying restrictions, among others.


Systematic Reform

The New York Times ran this piece on Sunday suggesting that (surprise!) the earmarking issue is a birpartisan problem - despite the legacy of Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff and others, the soon-to-be Democrat-controlled Congress seems less than enthusiastic about shutting off the pipeline of pork.


The Place and Time for Public Financing

Public Campaign Action Fund's David Donnelly writes in The Baltimore Sun about the mandate voters delivered to Congress on November 8th: clean up Washington. With majority control shifting to the Democrats, and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi putting ethics rules at the top of her list, it's time for Congress to get behind full public financing of congressional elections.


Opinions on the Ethics Bill and More on DeLay

The weekend saw a raft of editorials weighing in on the ethics bill passed by the House last week. It's fair to say no one is particularly impressed.

CREW Wants To Send Pombo Up The River

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog group, called on both the I.R.S. and Congress to investigate Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) for alleged ethical violations.

Among the charges (and straight from the CREW website):


By a slim margin, the House narrowly agreed to a rule limiting amendments to a very weak and watered-down ethics and lobbying bill. Basically, House GOP leaders are trying to pass as little reform as they can get away with. Twelve Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing it. The final vote is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Yesterday was not a good day if your last name starts with an S, ends with an M, and has the letters "antoru" in the middle

Sen. Rick Santorum's (R-PA) $500,000 five year mortgage on his home in Leesburg, VA is in question. The loan came from a small Philadelphia bank (who also happens to be a major financial contributor to Santorum's political interests) even though the loan is contrary to the Bank's stated policy to "make loans only to its 'affluent' investors'" of which Santorum is not. From the Philadelphia Daily News:

And, over at the Daily Muck...and Think Progress

Paul Kiel has a good blog post on the troubles of Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), who, it turns out, wrote letters on behalf of two Indian gaming tribes to Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Both tribes, one from Iowa, one from Massachusetts, both pretty far away from California, were clients of Jack Abramoff's. Doolittle, who claims to be anti-gambling, is stonewalling.

CNN: Will The Congressional Focus On Ethics Lead To Meaningful Reform?

CNN QuickVote results from 11:25 AM EST:

Will the congressional focus on ethics lead to meaningful reform?

Yes: 8% (5,481)
No: 92% (66,706)
Total: 72,187

This may not be a scientific poll but...ouch! The CNN crowd doesn't have much faith in Congress.

To vote click here and scroll down about half way and the poll is on the right.

Radio Report

"To the Point" with Warren Olney was tons of fun. I went on right after Rep. Dreier.