Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Denny Hastert: Accountable To No One.

Salon's War-Room today reports a report from the Center for Public Integrity, American Public Media and Northwestern University's Medill News.

Among the juicy bits in the War-Room piece:
It's good work if you can get it. And some members -- most of them Republican in the House of Representatives -- were really good at getting it. The offices of nine Republicans and two Democrats accepted more than $350,000 each in free travel. The big trippers: House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Joe Barton (R-Texas), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), former Rep. W.J. Tauzin (R-La.), Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).

While most of the trips don't violate any laws, the report finds numerous ethical violations -- and that's even after you make the rather dubious assumption that all of the trips were legitimately related to the members' official duties in Congress. Among the problems: Although ethics rule bar congressional trips paid for by firms registered to lobby the government, the report finds that such firms sponsored a portion or all of at least 90 trips worth approximately $145,000.
That, my dear friends, is what we call dirty money where I come from.

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