lobbyists

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DeLay wants to keep in shape

Tom DeLay must be worried about staying in shape.

He was one of the 50 House members voting "no" yesterday on a new ban on former members of Congress who become registered lobbyists from using the House gym.

He must be thinking ahead. A guy has to keep in shape, after all.

(Thanks, Murshed Zaheed)

Nobody Wants to Talk About the Elephant in the Room

This week has been a big one for lobby reform, with Congressional Republicans releasing their draft plans for lobbying reform and the Democrats following suit yesterday. Notably absent from all these proposals is any mention of public financing of elections, or, frankly, any mention of campaign finance reform at all. It's as if nobody wants to talk about the proverbial elephant in the room.

Alexander Strategy Group Shuts Its Doors

The Alexander Strategy Group, a DC based lobbying firm that was peppered with former DeLay staff and a product of a recent DailyDeLay blog post, has permanently shut its doors. The Group's owner Edwin Buckham told the Washington Post, "reports in the press have made it difficult to continue as a lobbying/political entity."

Radio Alert!

I'm going on NPR's "To the Point" show, hosted by Warren Olney, today. The topic is lobbying reform. The guests include Rep. David Dreier (the House Rules Chairman who has been tapped by Speaker Hastert to manage the House Republican leadership's reform proposal), Jan Baran (former counsel to the RNC), and Larry Noble (executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, and former counsel to the FEC). The show airs live from 2-3pm eastern (we're on from about 2:20-2:45); check your stations for local listings.

No to the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Watch out! While federal investigators are steadily pulling the lid off the sewer that is Washington politics, exposing every sleazy and slimy practice you can imagine, a strange coalition of battle-weary journalists, slick DC operators and ethically-challenged ex-Congressmen are starting to hit the media with a dangerous message. They want to quell rising public demand for real change, which is the natural response to the corruption we're seeing as the full workings of DeLay Inc. are laid bare.

Things Happening In Threes

A Bloomberg.com article links Alexander Strategy Group (AKA "DeLay, Inc."), a Washington based lobbying firm who's pay roll, past and present, is a who's who of former DeLay staff and family members, is linked to "no fewer than" three current ethic/lobbying/campaign finance scandals:

Former DeLay aide Tony Rudy who is a focus of a federal investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

50 Jack Abramoffs

From today's E.J Dionne column:

"What the Republicans need is 50 Jack Abramoffs," his friend Grover Norquist told National Journal in 1995.

So do you think Grover got his wish?

Doolittle earns his name

Can you spell T-O-N-E D-E-A-F?

Rep. John T. Doolittle, a Republican with ties to corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, announced Thursday he will not return any of the $50,000 in political donations he received from the lobbyist or the Indian tribes Abramoff once represented.

Who said this?

"The election process has turned into an incumbency protection process in which lobbyists attend PAC fundraisers to raise money for incumbents so they can drown potential opponents, thus creating war chests that convince candidates not to run and freeing up incumbents to spend more time in Washington PAC fundraisers. So, in effect, this city is building a wall of money to protect itself from America."

Thousands of emails from Abramoff

CNN:

Sources told CNN's Ed Henry that Abramoff may have thousands of e-mails in which he describes influence-peddling and explains what lawmakers were doing in exchange for the money he was putting into their campaign coffers.

Sources said Abramoff has been cooperating with the Justice Department for months without any kind of plea deal. He will not be sentenced until his cooperation is complete, the source added.