the blog of DC Drinking Liberally
With the Abramoff scandal nipping at your heels, it was probably a good idea to throw in the towel on your reelection campaign without waiting until you’re actually indicted (after all, Tom DeLay waited and now he’s being forced to stay on the ballot). But I’m not sure you used the best choice of words in praising your chosen successor, Ohio state senator Joy Padgett:
“She is a person of passion and conviction,” Ney said. “I can think of no better person to represent this district.”
It’s true that the “person of conviction” joke has already been exhausted during this period of rampant Republican corruption, but that’s exactly why using the phrase triggers thoughts of incarceration in people’s minds. I’m sure Padgett appreciates it.
This enhanced version of the first photo of Bush and Abramoff known to have escaped the scrubbing of evidence clearly shows a small head growing out of Bush’s left shoulder in May 2001. The president’s physician diagnosed it as a malignant abramoffoma, a parasitic growth that can invade the nervous system and actually affect the actions and decision making of the host. The growth had become so enmeshed with Bush’s vital processes that it was deemed too dangerous to remove it. By the time of the 2004 presidential debates, the abramoffoma had migrated to the center of his back and was mostly concealed by his jacket. No cure has yet been found, but White House staff are still looking.
(Thanks to Slartibartfast, commenting at Balloon Juice, for alerting me to this. I was going to try a Babylon 5 reference, but since I stopped watching the show when it moved to cable and so missed the relevant episodes, I’ll leave that to commenters.)
In any scandal involving bribery or undue influence, especially involving a sitting member of Congress, there is one key standard to meet: were the donations of someone espousing a particular cause matched and related to the actions of the Congresscritter in question?
I rung up Reid spokesman Jim Manley. He said Reid was a “cosponsor of Sen. Kennedy’s bill; he spoke in favor of the bill on the Senate; he was a strong supporter of the bill.” When I pressed Manley on whether Sen. Reid took any action adverse to the bill or made changes in timing that lead to the bill’s demise, he said, “No.”
Then I got hold of Ron Platt, the lobbyist referenced in the passage above, on his cell phone while he was down at a conference in Florida. I asked him whether, to the best of his recollection, Reid had taken any action against the Kennedy bill. “I’m sure he didn’t,” Platt told me.
According to Platt, the purpose of his contacts was to see what information he could get about the timing and status of the legislation. Reid’s position on the minimum wage issue was well known and there would have been no point trying to get his help blocking it. That’s what Platt says. “I didn’t ask Reid to intervene,” said Platt. “I wouldn’t have asked him to intervene. I don’t think anyone else would have asked. And I’m sure he didn’t.”
Now, obviously, both Reid’s office and Platt are interested parties on this question. If there were evidence to the contrary you wouldn’t necessarily want to take their statements at face value. But as far as I can tell there is no evidence to the contrary. And that’s after speaking with supporters of the legislation who would probably know. They don’t seem to think Reid had anything to do with tanking the minimum wage bill. Nothing.
In this case, despite the AP story’s narrative of lobbyist contacts, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence whatsoever that Reid ever took any action on behalf of Abramoff’s Marianas clients.
Wasn’t that worth a mention?
Not only is the Party of Bacon getting sloppy about even pretending to conceal their mendacious ways, they’re getting worse at their swift-boating.
And to the MSM: couldn’t y’all go after someone with real issues?
With thanks to C&L.
When I read in Talking Points Memo about the thorough deletion of Abramoff-Bush photos, I thought about writing another post comparing a passage in Orwell’s 1984 to current events (as I did about crimestop and creationism). I didn’t get around to it immediately, and now I see that thetalkingmoose has saved me the trouble.
MoveOn is organizing a protest downtown tomorrow:
Washington is caught up in corruption scandals, but many lobbyists and Republican leaders think they can just go on as if nothing has happened. Little has changed since the scandals became public. We need to expose the corruption and press for reform — or a change in leaders. Can you help?
This Wednesday, tomorrow, a gathering of lobbyists, conservative activists and Republicans leaders from Congress and the White House meet to discuss their next moves. We’re joining with other reform groups to bring the public outcry to their doorstep. Will you attend?
What: “Stop Corruption First” Protest Outside K Street Project meeting
When: 9:45 AM Start Time, Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Where: Sidewalk outside offices of Americans for Tax Reform, 1920 L Street, NW (20th & L Streets) (Red Line/Farragut North, Blue-Orange Line/Farragut West)
Signs: We’ll provide signs.
Please RSVP at http://political.moveon.org/protest_rsvp/
Google Map it:
The plan is to show up, peacefully conduct a protest with signs and disperse after a half hour or so. We’re inviting the media and expect the protest to be widely reported on by the press. We’re co-sponsoring the protest with the Campaign for America’s Future and Public Campaign Action Fund.
The group hosting the meeting — Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform — is at the center of the Republican power machine in Washington and has been implicated in the corruption scandals from lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But they still meet even after Abramoff took a guilty plea.
This meeting illustrates how nothing has changed — the Republicans in Congress work closely with business lobbyists who are funding their operations. We need to expose it and this protest will help do that. Please RSVP and attend.
Thanks for all you do.
—Tom, Eli, Marika, Micayla and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Tuesday, January 17th, 2006
P.S. Here is some background on Grover Norquist and his connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Toward Tradition is a conservative Jewish group founded by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and Jack Abramoff used to serve on its board of directors. The group is allied with conservative Christian groups, and as Josh Marshall pointed out yesterday, Lapin co-chaired the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, whose advisory board included James Dobson, Charles Colson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Michael Medved, and Jack Abramoff. (There’s more about Toward Tradition in this comment on TPMCafe.)
Marshall’s mention of Toward Tradition prompted me to check out its site, and particularly its board of directors. The board currently has a chairman, vice-chairman, and 20 members — with no mention of Jack Abramoff. But checking the Internet Archive, I find that the same page in July 2003 and March 2005 (the most recent archived copy) contained a longer list:
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