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Man Bites Own Hand That Feeds Him

Gerald Cassidy, a "godfather" of the modern lobbyist profession tells Roll Call he supports public financing of elections saying the expectation that lobbyists will get involved in the fundraising game for members of Congress had taken a lot of fun out of the job, even as it has introduced even more suspicion about how lobbyists and lawmakers interact.


The full article is available only to subscribers, but here's his argument in favor of public financing:


Making New Friends

Can you rub your stomach and pat your head? Can Congress cut tax breaks for oil companies while taking campaign cash from Shell and Chevron? According to the oil lobbyists (and business and pharmaceutical lobbyists) Tom Hamburger and Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times talk to, Democratic congressional leaders are more than willing to try and do both.


Old Habits Die Hard

Saying they will crack down on lobbyists, then raising money from them the same night? It's a mixed message from the newly minted 110th Congress, something NBC notes in this story (story and video clip) on Congress' new ethics bill, with commentary from Public Campaign Action Fund's David Donnelly.


House Unveils Ethics Reforms

It's the first day of the 110th Congress and Democratic leaders in the House are rolling out their big ethics reform package designed to sever links between lobbyists and lawmakers with new restrictions inclusing a ban on travel, meals, and gifts to legislators paid for by lobbyists. It's a very good start, and we hope a prelude to serious consideration of full public financing of elections as the last step in "draining the swamp" and cleaning up Congress.

Unpack Those Bags

A busier work schedule and fear of scandal have put the kibosh on a lot of the lobbyist-funded January junkets for members of Congress, according to this story from MSNBC. No more jetting off to Hawaii for "conferences" and a mid-winter tan, looks like actually legislating will take precedence. Dry your eyes.


What Will Change?

Time magazine's Massimo Calabresi speculates on the potential lobbying reforms that may come about when Democrats take control of Congress in January. Balancing campaign promises to clean up Washington against a newly favorable environment on the K Street lobbying corridor, what changes will Democrats bring?


Jack Abramoff's Lawyer Proposes Reform

Abbe Lowell, a lawyer at Chadbourne and Parke LLP, has made a career out of representing the corrupt. He represented former Illinois Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D) and The Torch, former New Jersey Senator Bob Torricelli (D). He's currently Jack Abramoff's lawyer.


Dissecting Rudy's plea: Looking at the timeline

Paul Kane of Roll Call (subscription req'd) writes up something that has been on my mind all weekend: Just how long did these illegal activities go on while these staffers were in Tom DeLay's office paid for by our tax dollars? As one reader emailed, will the "Sargeant Schultz defense" -- "I saw nothing!" -- work for Tom DeLay? Not very credible, particularly with Ed Buckham's plea coming next, and with all the fundraising lines in and out of DeLay's committees.



I'll admit it. My kids have a hard time understanding exactly what I do for a living. They know I sit in front of a computer, talk on the phone a lot, and do something about Tom DeLay, but they have a hard time understanding that, as compared to their friends parents who are teachers, lawyers, etc. Maybe this poem by Hart Seely, which appeared in the New York Times, can help?


Here's a small portion -- but go read it all.


This is the Jack,

Rudy's lobbying trail

Another tip on Tony Rudy's factual proffer. In violation of the Ethics statutes with he lobbied "the leadership staff of Representative #2 on legislation affecting automobile emissions." Representative #2, remember is Tom DeLay. During that time, Rudy was a registered lobbyist for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. How much has Tom DeLay raised from automobile makers?