Abramoff is a Republican who worked closely with two of the country’s most prominent conservative activists, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Top aides to the most important Republican in Congress, Tom DeLay (R., Tex.) were party to his sleazy schemes. The only people referred to directly in Abramoff’s recent plea agreement are a Republican congressmen and two former Republican congressional aides. The GOP members can make a case that the scandal reflects more the way Washington works than the unique perfidy of their party, but even this is self-defeating, since Republicans run Washington.
The problem is a network of criminal activity stretching from the House of Representatives (and, to a lesser degree, the Senate) to K Street and then into the Executive Branch – a network of bribery, money-laundering and fraud all aimed at selling public policy and official actions not in exchange for political contributions but money rewards to members of Congress, administration officials and their families.
One from a progressive source, and one from a conservative source. Rarely do you see such bipartisan consensus. It nice to see that even GOP apologists at the National Review are able to see that this is a GOP problem that will hurt the GOP no matter how hard the hard right GOPers insist on banging the square peg of ideology into the round hole of reality.
Square peg one from Bloomberg.
Representatives Roy Blunt of Missouri and John Boehner of Ohio have been among the key intermediaries between Republican lawmakers and lobbyists since their party took control of the U.S. Congress in 1995.
Now, with both men vying to succeed Representative Tom DeLay as House majority leader, those ties may loom as an issue.
Blunt, 55, and DeLay, 58, share a network of ties as extensive as any in Congress, including links to lobbyists.
Square peg two from Think Progress
DeLay Takes Over Cunningham’s Spot On Appropriations Committee
Why is there a seat available? From the San Diego Union Tribune, 12/10/05:
A vacancy on the panel occurred earlier this week when Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Rancho Santa Fe, formally resigned from Congress after pleading guilty to charges that he accepted bribes from defense contractors.
And square peg three also from Think Progress
Ney: Congress’s “Ethics” Instructor
Ney has been named as Representative #1 in the plea agreeements of both Abramoff and his partner, Michael Scanlon, detailing lavish gifts, travel, and contributions from the lobbyists in return for Ney’s cooperation in Congress. You can find more details of Ney’s extensive ties to Abramoff here.
Why on earth would you replace someone involved with a scandal with someone connected to the same scandal? Are they really that tone deaf? More importantly, why would you do this three times in the same week. I know there are conservatives that aren’t criminals. Why don’t they reach across the aisle and work with reform minded liberals and progressives?