Culture of Corruption

Posted at 6:01pm on Jan. 4, 2008 Hsu's baaaaaaack!

By Soren Dayton

It seems that Hillary Clinton has a well-earned case of bad karma. This is probably not the day that she wants to remind the good people of New Hampshire that one of her largest fundraisers was a felon running from the law. Just saying. But, indeed, karmic justice rears its head at the right moment. Norman Hsu was sentenced to 3 years today. From AP:

A judge on Friday sentenced disgraced political donor Norman Hsu to three years in state prison after rejecting the one-time Democratic rainmaker's bid to throw out a 16-year-old fraud conviction.

I am particularly fond of the description "one-time Democratic rainmaker". Poor Hillary. Corrupt felon-donor brings rain on her head.

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Posted at 6:26pm on Dec. 14, 2007 Carol Shea-Porter: Can you do that with government money?

By Soren Dayton

I am sorry for bothering the readers of Redstate with this. I called Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's (D-NH) office today, and they haven't answered my question. I have a rule: When Democrats don't answer questions about their behavior, escalate.

You see, according to the Second Quarter Statement of Disbursements of the House, her Congressional office disbursed $5,000 to the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee (NHDSC). According to the FEC filings of the NHDSC, that was for "Access To The Voter File Maintained By The New Hampshire Democratic State Committee." The NHDSC "makes a profit" off the list according to an AP story.

In other words, a Democrat member of Congress is using government funds to provide "profit" to a state Democratic Party. I wonder why I never heard back from her staff about this.

Read on for the questions that I would have liked to ask.

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Posted at 10:53am on Nov. 2, 2007 Another Crooked Democrat

Some "cultures of corruption" spring up more easily than others.

By Leon H Wolf

As I think you all know, I am a Red Sox fan. Prior to 2004, being a Red Sox fan primarily consisted of holding the foolish belief, year after year, that *this* year would be different - that *this* year, we would finally get over on the Yankees. Even after decades of waiting, with much the same result, no Sox fan ever allowed himself to believe that the Sox would *never* win the World Series. So that will give you some frame of reference for the statement I'm about to make: after last year, I gave up on the hope that a Republican would ever win a Senate seat in New Jersey. If a guy like Kean - not my ideal candidate, but a solid guy nonetheless - could not beat an intellectual and ethical midget like Bob Menendez, then the people of New Jersey have apparently made an irrevocable choice that corrupt morons will represent them in the Senate from this time forward. Enter the FBI to take up yet another corruption charge against Menendez, who already has an impressive New Jersey Democrat resume despite a very short tenure in the Senate. What Menendez is alleged to have done makes the Paul Wolfowitz scandal look like nothing more than an appropriate subject for water-cooler gossip.

You know, we hate crooked Republicans around here. The actions of Duke Cunningham were reprehensible to all of us. We all deplored the use of earmarks to funnel pork into Republican districts, specifically because they invite both the appearance of impropriety and actual corruption. But give the Republicans credit for this much: it took them over a decade in office before a year like 2006 would happen. The Democrats haven't even bothered with the pretense of actually having meant anything they said about cleaning up Washington. After all, Nancy Pelosi's first act in office (which failed) was to attempt to elevate ABSCAM Jack Murtha to a position of leadership - even after this failed, Murtha still manages to steer about 30% more pork into his district than his next closest competitor in Congress. Then she attempted put Alcee Hastings - who was impeached for corruption as a judge - in an important Chair because she didn't like Jane Harman. Then came the various foibles of Allan Mollohan. And we haven't even touched on any of Harry Reid's land deals, or Pelosi's attempts to influence legislation for the benefit of her friends and aides.

The thing about politics is that people have short memories. I said all throughout 2006 that there was no way people were going to forget that these same Democrats railing on corruption made modern Republicans look like pikers by comparison back when they had power - but it appears that I was at least partly wrong. Thankfully for us, the Democrats are doing all they can to remind even those with the shortest of memories just exactly what "culture of corruption" means.

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Posted at 1:07pm on Oct. 22, 2007 Another Pelosi friend, another bill

By Soren Dayton

Nancy Pelosi has worked hard to pass legislation that helps her ... friends. Like the Armenian legislation. Or her minimum wage exemption for a donor in American Samoa.

Another bill, another friend. This time on her staff. Today, the Democratic Congress is set to vote on H.R. 319, a bill to create, Paterson Great Falls National Park... which the National Park Service doesn't want. Why would they do that?

Well, The Hill has one possible answer. Her chief of staff, John Lawrence, is from there:

“I’m from Paterson, N.J. Would you like to hear more about Paterson?” he asks hopefully, revealing a wry wit.

And his family is still there. I wonder if they are making any money off this...

According to Hillary Clinton, America can't afford her ideas. It sounds like America can't afford Pelosi's friends either.

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Posted at 2:53am on Aug. 3, 2007 Even if the election is over, it isn't *really* over until we get the desired result

Or something along those lines.

By Jeff Emanuel

Update: Rep. Eric Cantor has more on his blog.

Tonight on the House floor, some chicanery was reportedly committed by the House Democrats which sends a disturbing message about that body's ability to actually conduct free and fair votes on legislation.

Here's the skinny: the House was voting on a motion to recommit the Agriculture bill, a move which would send the bill back to committee with the stipulation that no taxpayer dollars in the Ag bill would go to illegal immigrants.

The Presiding Chairman, a Democrat (of course), closed the vote on the motion, and totals were formally announced, with the Republicans having succeeded in getting the bill recommitted.

However, once this outcome was learned, the Chairman decided to re-open the vote to allow enough Democrats to cast ballots to change the motion's outcome, after the vote had already been closed, announcing the new vote total (which favored the Democrats and - shocker! - illegal immigrants) and explaining away the earlier vote closure as his own mistake.

As a House staffer said to me, "This wasn't them keeping the vote open, twisting some arms, then getting their way. This was them just pushing through their result, after the vote was concluded and the results were announced."

This brings up an interesting question. If this practice is acceptable (and accepted), then what is there to keep the Democrats from reopening any vote that they wish, in order to alter or to guarantee a favorable outcome?

Video is below the fold.

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Posted at 9:20am on Jul. 10, 2007 Chris Van Hollen’s hypocrisy offensive

By MajorityAP

Promoted by Jeff

DCCC chair takes $15K from company he blames for job losses

U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) recently launched a new offensive: blaming Republicans for the actions of companies in which they’ve invested their personal savings. But that strategy may have unintended consequences for House Democrats, including Van Hollen, D-MD, and freshman Democrat Heath Shuler, D-NC, research by the Majority Accountability Project (www.majorityap.com) has found.

Van Hollen’s first target was U.S. Representative Robin Hayes. The DCCC faulted the North Carolina Republican for the closing of a Philip Morris plant in Concord, NC, since Hayes owns stock in its parent company, Altria.

DCCC officials blasted Hayes, with spokeswoman Krya Jennings claiming he was “out of touch,” because Altria stock prices rose “after announcing that the Philip Morris plant in Concord would close.” Hayes is prohibited by House rules from participating in the business decisions of a for-profit corporation, a fact known to Van Hollen and the DCCC.

Read on . . .

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Posted at 5:22pm on May 22, 2007 The Dems' dilemma: To fund voter fraud, or to fund disaster relief?

Yeah, you guessed correctly

By Jeff Emanuel

Last week, Bluey called out House Democrats for their attempt (approved by the White House) to include in a bill a "so-called "affordable housing fund" that would allow House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) to direct millions of dollars, and potentially more, to liberal advocacy groups such as ACORN," whose employees have pled guilty to voter fraud.

Earlier today, in an effort to kill this personal "slush fund" of Barney Frank's, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) used a motion to recommit on the bill (H.R . 1427) to "define that those funds be used for disaster relief programs and to lower the cost of home mortgage insurance," thereby defining the uses of the appropriated cash and eliminating Frank's ability to distribute it at his discretion.

Unfortunately, the Democrats voted the motion down and saved Barney Frank's $500 million slush fund - but at what cost?

According to a House source, in order to save this pile of cash which Mr. Frank can distribute at his discretion, several vunerable incumbents had to make a deal with the devil, so to speak, voting against disaster relief for their districts, as well as against expanding the home mortgage insurance deduction.

To save a slush fund for Barney Frank, these Democrats have been very painfully put on the record voting against their constituents.

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Posted at 5:26pm on May 16, 2007 Nancy Throws Out Thomas Jefferson's Procedures — Rejects Procedural Issue On Books Since 1822

By RS Insider

The RS Insider can add a bit of meat to the story Drudge is reporting about Nancy Pelosi’s decision to revoke minority rights

After losing a string of embarrassing votes on the House floor because of procedural maneuvering, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to change the current House Rules to completely shut down the floor to the minority.

This happened today after the Democrats changed a rule to prevent Republicans from offering a motion to recommit on the PAYGO provisions of their legislation. The bottom line: Democrats don’t want their members to have to vote on the tax increases that they are trying to slide into bills, and Republican motions-to-commit put them in the awkward position of having to actually cast those votes and go on the record.

This is ironic, because in 2006, Nancy Pelosi promised to do the exact opposite.  Excerpts:

  • “Minority Leader Pelosi says a Democratic majority next year would place a heavy emphasis on bipartisanship -- and would offer the Republicans minority rights often denied Democrats now.”
  • "[I would like] to come as close as you can in the political reality to a bipartisan management of the House"
  • “Pelosi…intends to stand by a proposal she offered House Speaker Hastert two years ago to enact a Minority Bill of Rights.”
  • “It includes … a commitment to moving legislation through regular order…”
  • “"I would consider the role to be speaker of the House, not speaker of the Democrats" [Pelosi] said.”
  • “Pelosi said her time as minority leader has been spent "learning in the minority how you don't want to be treated, and that's how we would not want them to be treated."”
  • In perhaps the biggest break from the current practices of GOP leaders, Pelosi said she would be willing to lose votes on the floor.”
  • "I certainly would not say that we can't bring things to the floor because we'll lose…”

The Motion to Recommit rule has been on the books and unchanged since 1822.   The Rules Committee website says “The motion to recommit is the prerogative of the Minority party.”  Thomas Jefferson prepared a rules manual for his own use as President of the Senate, and the House still uses it for guidance.   At the beginning of Jefferson's Manual he quotes the Speaker of the House of Commons from 1728 to 1761:

"It was a maxim he had often heard when he was a young man, from old and experienced Members, that nothing tended more to throw power into the hands of administration, and those who acted with the majority of the House of Commons, than a neglect of, or departure from, the rules of proceeding; that these forms, as instituted by our ancestors, operated as a check and control on the actions of the majority, and that they were, in many instances, a shelter and protection to the minority, against the attempts of power."

The rules of the House are there to protect the Minority from the tyranny of the Majority.  But Nancy Pelosi is in charge now, and the Rules are being eliminated.  You do the math.

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Posted at 3:02pm on May 16, 2007 How's This Ethical?

By RS Insider

If a lobbyist gave a sitting Member of Congress an unsecured, open-ended $25,000 loan, and then the Congressman supported legislation directly benefiting one of the lobbyists clients, where should the lobbyist end up?

a)      Prison

b)      Banned from future government work

c)      Chief of Staff to House Majority Leader Hoyer

If you answered C, you're right!

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Posted at 2:40pm on May 15, 2007 Dem Ethics

By RS Insider

The RS Insider sees that even the Kos Kids are catching on to the fact that Congressional Democrats just haven’t been that interested in passing the Congressional ethics reform on which they campaigned.  The RS Insider can confirm that many Republicans on the Hill aren’t very happy about it either, especially since the Ethics and Lobby Reform Act contained the DeMint Amendment bringing transparency to earmarks.

The Democratic approach to ethics reform are nicely demonstrated in the beginning and end of this Politico story

  • [BEGINNING] As House Democrats tackle a lobbying reform bill that they pledged to adopt on the midterm campaign trail, reformers say that a number of the members are privately questioning its necessity after all.
  • [END] [T]his reporter asked [House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel] -- in the effort for openness and disclosure -- if a journalist could sit in to hear debate on the language.  "Why don't you go f--- yourself?" Emanuel replied, as he entered a men's room in the Capitol basement.

One of these things is a lot like the other.

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Posted at 10:13pm on May 14, 2007 Boehner: 'Geographic Balance' More Important Than Ethics

How Do You Spell 'Out of Touch'? B-O-E-H-N-E-R Perhaps?

By Erick

The Politico somehow managed to write an entire article about the controversy over Ken Calvert without mentioning RedState.

They did pull out two interesting nuggets:

In a sidewalk interview, Boehner defended the choice that he and others on the House GOP steering committee made to elevate Calvert. He acknowledged that geographic balance was one factor driving the appointment -- one that proved more important than questions raised in a Los Angeles Times article about Calvert's land sale.

and this

"If only John Boehner the Republican leader would act like John Boehner the leadership candidate, the Republican Conference would be in a much stronger position," said a House Republican aide who works for a lawmaker upset with Boehner's move. "Decisions like the Calvert appointment cripple our party's ability to be associated with reform, and until our leadership changes direction, they are leading this conference even further into the political abyss."

So, Members of Congress are upset at this appointment and recognize it is a bad deal, but Boehner felt "geographic balance" was more important than ethics.

What. The. Hell?

Can you see a pattern from the 'geographic balance' on Appropriations:

Duke Cunningham (R-CA) - Jail
Jerry Lewis (R-CA) - FBI Investigation
John Doolittle (R-CA) - FBI Investigation
Ken Calvert (R-CA) - FBI Investigation

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Posted at 7:08am on May 14, 2007 Who Will Stand On Either Hand And Retake the GOP With Me? The Battle Plan . . .

Fair warning to the House GOP Steering Cmte. We will not yield.

By Erick

image
We will target their in-district donors. We will target in-district reporters. We will spread Ken Calvert's dossier. And if they will not change, we will wipe them and replace them. We cannot afford to yield on this.

There have been some over these last few days who have objected to this war of mine.   Some think it needed, but object to calling it a war.   Some object to fighting it at all.   But this is a war.  And it is a just war.  It is a war for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.   My party. Your party.   The party that, had it not lost its way, would not now be having to defend our troops from a position of weakness against a Democrat majority intent on surrender in the War on Terror.   This is a war worth fighting.

This war is not about Ken Calvert.   The people of his district elected him and he has every right to represent them.   He should not, however, be on the Appropriations Committee.   Already on the Appropriations Committee -- that committee which doles out taxpayer funds -- Republicans have seen Duke Cunningham go to jail, John Doolittle resign because of a federal investigation, and Jerry Lewis most likely to soon be indicted.  Calvert is just the most recent unfortunate example of why this war is necessary.

This war was not originally about the House Republican Steering Committee, though it has now come to that.   They are now the targets.   They are the leaders who continue to ignore the message the voters and their base sent them in November.   The list includes J. Dennis Hastert , who presided over a House that defended William Jefferson when the FBI sought evidence of his bribery and corruption.   It includes Jerry Lewis, who, it appears, will soon to be indicted for corruption.   They are Don Young, who has fought for a bridge to nowhere, despite clear voter disgust.   And it includes John Boehner , who, when placed in the minority by the voters, declared it not good enough to just deny plum positions to indicted congressman, but that they "should expect more from each other."   They have not practiced what they preached.

Below the fold, the battle plan…

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Posted at 8:28pm on May 11, 2007 FBI Looking Into Calvert. Do We Really Want Calvert *AND* Lewis On Appropriations?

By Erick

ImageI deeply appreciate Congressman Calvert stopping by to respond to my post.

And I deeply appreciate the concern a number of you have about going after our own. But I have two questions, one for the Congressman and one for the rest of you.

First, Congressman Calvert, do you think this helps the image that Republicans are not corrupt:

The FBI is examining the personal financial records of House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis, the California Republican’s wife and two close advisers as part of its broadening lobbying-for-earmarks investigation that led to the imprisonment of ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.).

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) has also come under financial scrutiny by the FBI, which sent a special agent from its office in Riverside, Calif., to the Cannon House Office Building to retrieve the records of the lawmakers and advisers.

Source: Paul Kane, Roll Call, June 8, 2006. The investigation is ongoing.

Read on . . .

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Posted at 12:29am on May 11, 2007 Ignore The Red Alert

By Erick

ImageInstead call John Boehner and ask him why Ken Calvert got John Doolittle's seat on Appropriations.

Doolittle had to resign because of some problems *cough* FBI *cough*.

Calvert, class act that he is, got earmarks appropriated last term for some real estate right next to a rather nice piece of real estate he was invested in.

And the GOP really wants to attack Nancy Pelosi for her San Fran waterfront earmarks that will benefit her property. Pot, meet kettle.

Sigh.

It's only 2007 and I'm already ready for 2010 to get here. Hopefully by then the GOP will have spent enough time in the wilderness to actually, you know, learn something.

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Posted at 5:24pm on May 7, 2007 Lawmakers Remain Tight Lipped About Earmark Requests

By RS Insider

Both the House and the Senate voted earlier this year to identify the sponsors of pet projects that get funded through federal spending bills.  But they did not require lawmakers to disclose all the funding they are requesting — an extra step that could ensure more transparency.  As the deadline for lawmakers to submit their requests passes, newspapers across the country are polling their state congressional delegations to see who will disclose their funding requests, and who will not.  Here is a sampling of these stories. 

·         California:  The Tulare Advanced-Register reports that “Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both California Democrats, declined to disclose a full list of the requests they have made so far.”

·         Florida:  The Tampa Tribune reports that “two - Republican representatives Ginny Brown-Waite of Brooksville and C.W. Bill Young of Largo - refuse to disclose their requests for what often are described as budget earmarks.”  Yet, “two freshman House members - Democrat Kathy Castor of Tampa and Republican Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor - agreed to release to The Tampa Tribune what they say are their complete request lists. So did four-term Republican Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow, the House GOP conference chairman.”

Read on . . .

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