Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Corruption Update w/ a Rovian Twist

I know I'm late on this story, but I've been sick the past few days and am only getting back up on my feet now.

So did you hear about how House Majority Leader John Boehner, newly elected as a "reformer," is renting an apartment from a lobbyist who does business with the committee Boehner used to chair?

Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who was elected House majority leader last week, is renting his Capitol Hill apartment from a veteran lobbyist whose clients have direct stakes in legislation Boehner has co-written and that he has overseen as chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee.

The relationship between Boehner, John D. Milne and Milne's wife, Debra R. Anderson, underscores how intertwined senior lawmakers have become with the lobbyists paid to influence legislation. Boehner's primary residence is in West Chester, Ohio, but for $1,600 a month, he rents a two-bedroom basement apartment near the House office buildings on Capitol Hill owned by Milne, Boehner spokesman Don Seymour said yesterday. Boehner's monthly rent appears to be similar to other rentals of two-bedroom English basement apartments close to the House side of the Capitol in Southeast, based on a review of apartment listings.

Milne's clients -- including restaurant chains and health insurance companies -- hired him to lobby on issues at the heart of Boehner's work, including minimum-wage increases, small-business tax breaks and tax-free savings accounts to help cover insurance costs, congressional lobbying records show.

In the weeks preceding last week's GOP leadership elections, Boehner acknowledged his close ties to the lobbying community, but he assured Republican lawmakers that all of his relationships were ethical and he campaigned on a platform of change and reform. Seymour reiterated that message last night.

And did you hear how Boehner, who claimed last week never to have never have met disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and denied any contacts between his office and Abramoff's lobbying "cartel," actually had a former chief of staff (now a White House aide to Karl Rove) help plan a 1996 Abramoff junket to the Northern Marianas islands?

The Associated Press has that story and it's such a good one that I'm posting it in full:

A White House aide who was once chief of staff to House Majority Leader John Boehner helped plan a 1996 trip to the Northern Mariana Islands that was organized by fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff, billing records from Abramoff's firm show.

Barry Jackson, now chief deputy to White House adviser Karl Rove, accepted an invitation to travel to the island of Saipan in April 1996 but later decided not to go, White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said Tuesday.

The government of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands extended the invitations to Jackson and other high-level GOP House leadership staff while Congress was considering legislation to control immigration and labor practices in the remote Pacific island territory.

Abramoff, the central figure in a wide-ranging Justice Department investigation of influence peddling in Congress, lobbied for the Marianas in Washington. The commonwealth's government was accused of permitting egregiously low wages and poor conditions for immigrants working in sweatshops.

According to bills from Abramoff's former lobbying firm to the Marianas government, Abramoff's staff contacted Boehner's office about island issues at least 10 times in the first four months of 1996. Copies of the billing records were obtained by The Associated Press through open-records requests to the territorial government.

Typically, the contact was made by David Safavian, who later became the Bush administration's chief procurement official in the Office of Management and Budget. Safavian recently was indicted on charges of obstructing investigations of his ties to Abramoff. Safavian was the first administration official indicted in the Abramoff scandal.

On March 15, 1996, two weeks before the Saipan trip, Abramoff's lobbying records show Safavian went over trip plans with Jackson and Mimi Simoneaux, then spokeswoman for Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas. On April 1, the day the congressional aides flew to the Marianas, Safavian called Boehner's office "to ascertain the location of B. Jackson." Abramoff's employee called about Jackson again the following day.

Jackson does not recall why he decided not to make the trip, given that it occurred 10 years ago, Healy said.

Since Boehner started campaigning early this year to replace DeLay as the No. 2-ranked House leader, he has denied having any relationship with Abramoff. Boehner has promised reforms to shake the GOP's Abramoff-related troubles.

When asked about the contacts between his office and Abramoff's, including a dinner Boehner attended in May 1996, Boehner told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday: "Some of his (Abramoff's) underlings worked with some low-level employees of my office. I'm telling you I never met the man."

Boehner spokesman Don Seymour said Tuesday that Boehner now does recall meeting Abramoff once, in "a brief, incidental conversation at a widely attended event that he estimates was about five years ago."

In an e-mail to the AP, Seymour also said Boehner did not intentionally downplay Jackson's role on his staff.

Boehner has declined to give up more than $30,000 he got from Abramoff's Indian tribe clients, saying his own work on tribal issues justifies the contributions. He did not receive any money from the tribes until Abramoff represented them.

Jesus, and the GOP elected this guy as a reformer? What were thinking?

As Jack Cafferty said on CNN tonight:

You know, these guys are either arrogant or stupid and neither of those is a good thing to be if you're going to be the House majority leader.

John Boehner, elected to replace Tom DeLay in the House, just as the report suggested. DeLay, remember, is under criminal indictment in Texas, so Boehner has trotted out, and he's being touted as the Republicans' answer to reform.

The second thing we find out about Boehner is he rents his apartment from a lobbyist whose clients have a vested interest in legislation that has come before Boehner. The first thing we found out is that he accepted more than $157,000 worth of free trips to places like Scotland -- he's an avid golfer -- since the year 2000. The trip is paid for by lobbyists.

And Boehner thinks that that's a practice that should be allowed to continue. Am I missing something here? Where is reform part? I wonder how long this guy is going to last.

Meet the new corrupt, arrogant House Majority Leader, same as the old corrupt, arrogant House Majority Leader - only with a better tan.

Can they hold another election for House Majority Leader this soon after the last one?

And one more thing about these Abramoff stories.

You'll notice how there is one linchpin in all of these Abramoff stories that nobody seems to be focusing on, and that's Karl Rove.

Rove's assistant, Susan Ralston, used to work for Abramoff. Boehner's former chief of staff, Barry Jackson, the man who helped plan the Marianas junket, now works for Karl Rove as his chief deputy. And don't forget that according to former Tyco general counsel (and former deputy attorney general nominee before he pulled out of the proceedings) Timothy Flanigan, Tyco hired Jack Abramoff in 2002 so that he could help them avoid paying off-shore taxes, in part because he had a good relationship with Karl Rove.

It's so interesting how Rove's name keeps coming up in the Abramoff scandal.

But so far the press hasn't really touched on it.

It sure would be nice to see somebody in the press look into that.

But I guess there too busy covering the "fallout" from the Coretta Scott King funeral.

Cuz' the preznit should never have to hear criticism about himself, especially not at the funeral of a civil rights leader.

And Karl Rove should never be investigated by the press for any alleged wrongdoing/criminal behavior - like when two reporters and one editor for TIME Magazine knew back in July of 2003 that Rove was one of the administration officials who had outed Valerie Plame to the media (because they had been recepients of the leaks!) and yet TIME still published stories by two of these very same reporters in October 2003 that suggested that Rove was no longer under suspicion for having outed Ms. Plame.

Cuz' it's only a crime if you've been indicted, you know?

Fucking amazing.

No wonder Rove gets away with so much.

Even when the press knows he's committed a crime, they protect him.

Grand Jury testimony of Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States (COSTUS), leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor). How much will COSTUS cost us?

It is posted at: Karl Rove Says Who Leaked First

Number one hit on MSN Search when searching for “Rove and Fitzgerald”
Number two hit on Google blog search using “Rove or Karl Rove”
Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret.
Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

Bobbing and weaving, a tangled web we do. Book him, Danno.
Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret.
Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

We can only hope that Fitz doesn't fizzle.
I think Mr. Fitzgerald's motto should be: "If you do a white collar crime then you will serve blue collar time." Look where he lodged Judith Miller. A few months in a blue collar jail and she was ready to sing. Unfortunately, she says she forgot the words

The Times & Post They Should Be A-Changin

Bloggers Request:

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the Times & Post should be a-changin'.

Good Bye Sulzberger, Keller, Miller, and Woodward!

Fitzgerald's response:

Come politician's, journalists
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled

There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the indictments they are a-comin'.

--Bob Dylan
Perhaps for Rove?
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