A leaked ethics committee report
shows that more than 30 House members are currently under scrutiny for
a variety of possible ethics abuses. The most serious allegations
involve corporate influence-peddling and defense lobbying, the latter
of which has nearly half of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee under investigation
Democratic and Republican leaders of the ethics committee have
emphasized that investigations are preliminary and not an indication of
wrongdoing. The junior staffer responsible for the apparently
accidental leak has already been fired
Still, the investigations--as well as the leaked report--could have
serious repercussions for the lawmakers targeted and for legislation
attached to them.
- Let's Finally Ban Industry Earmarks Atlanta Journal-Constitution blogger Jay Bookman argues
corruption is inherent in allowing earmarks to private companies. "The earmarking practice
is so fraught with temptation that corruption seems almost inevitable.
Earmarks for a project in your district -- a bridge, a highway, etc. --
are bad enough. But in this case we're talking multi-million-dollar
earmarks not for a project but for specific private companies...and a whole
lobbying enterprise has naturally sprung up to 'encourage' them to do
so," he writes. "Congress as an institution has to act...At the
very least, it ought
to ban all earmarks to private companies, period, because it is an
inherently corrupting practice."
- Defense Lobby Fights Back On Cuts? The liberal blogosphere is
drawing connections between alleged abuses in the defense spending
subcommittee and President Obama's reduction in defense spending.
"Political affiliations aren't the point, though. The point is that
we've seen the White House pare back defense spending last week and now
we're seeing the House doing something about the process which pours
money into defense and (apparently) accepts tips," wrote Prairie Weather, a liberal blog.
- Finding The 'Sacrificial Lamb' Liberal columnist David Corn warns
that high-ranking Democratic Rep. Rangel "would make a great
sacrificial lamb" if the investigations heat up. "Though the members
being investigated are a bipartisan group, more
Democrats are involved. And that will give House Republicans fuel for
their effort to brand the Dems as corrupt power brokers," he writes.
"Recently, they have zeroed in on Rangel, who has too many ethics troubles
to keep track of. But Democrats have stood by the influential Rangel,
beating back GOP moves to censure him and remove his chairmanship."
- Could Bring Tougher Cybersecurity Law The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder thinks
the timing could push forward cybersecurity legislation that would be
tougher and broader. "Good timing for Sen. Joe Lieberman," who today
lays out his bill for expanded cybersecurity powers. "Lieberman's bill
will give the Department of Homeland Security the authority and
personnel to monitor federal
civilian networks and defend
against malicious traffic."
- What Else Is New? Michelle Malkin scoffs
that the ethics abuses should come as no surprise, taking the
opportunity to tout her book, "Culture of Corruption." "Readers of this
blog are quite familiar with the corruption scandals
involving California Democrats Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson," she
writes. "Which reminds me of the Bess Myerson quote that I included at
the beginning of Culture of Corruption:
'The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own
indifference.'" Of course, the investigations target Democrats as well
as Republicans, a fact Malkin leaves out.
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