Friday, January 20, 2006
Debate? And a little rant too.
Just for johnnie78 and MNCR's pleasure, I will define "Abramoff-related/Abramoff tainted" contributions. They would be contributions given to campaigns, party units and campaign organizations by individuals and groups who have ties with Jack Abramoff. There individuals and groups would include his clients and his employees.
The contributions in question fall under this definition.
I have answered your questions and we are left with nothing but the facts:
The DFL and Rep. Oberstar have taken contribution which are Abramoff-related and they refuse to do the honorable thing by giving them away to charity. Also, Brian Melendez is showing his hypocrisy by not giving the money to charity after he sends out press releases blasting the "Republican culture of corruption."
Sorry guys, you cannot change the facts. And at the end of the day, that's all we have.
Clients, RM. Clients. Indian tribes. They gave money to politicians and political parties. Those tribes also signed contracts with a lobbyist and paid that lobbyist hundreds of thousands of dollars to advocate for them with his contacts in Congress. Those two acts are independent and separate from one another, and the difference is worth expounding upon. These people are not co-workers or peers of Jack Abramoff. They are not lobbyists, they are not high-powered Beltway insiders. Not associates, but clients. Clients who were just as screwed by Jack Abramoff as America has been by the very real culture of corruption at the highest levels of the Republican Party. Tom DeLay and ARMPAC. Bill Frist and his little HCA stock snafu, currently under investigation by the SEC. Rick Santorum and the K Street Project, designed to build a revolving door of power between GOP officials in Washington, their legislation, and the lobbyists. Dick Cheney and his blue-ribbon energy policy panel, including Enron and Halliburton officials.
How many of the above-mentioned officials have raised money for Mark Kennedy? An aside. Onward.
So with that delineation in mind, now let us continue down this path of argument - How many dollars were given to the DFL and its elected officials by clients of Jack Abramoff, and how many dollars were given to the DFL by employees and lobbyist peers of Jack Abramoff? I sincerely hope this line of argument is not taken as an attack on Republican Minnesota, or even on the GOP at large. This is a realistic description of the corruption that Jack Abramoff represents - a case of corruption that, sadly, is bound impermeably to only one political party, the Republican Party.
There's a way out of this quandary - for Republican officials to admit that there are problems with the privileges accorded lobbyists in Washington D.C, and work with their Democratic colleagues to craft effective lobbying reform legislation. Just such a bill has recently been proposed by Congressional Democrats - what do you think are the chances it will draw support from Republican leaders?