Friday, May 22, 2009

Boehner more in pocket of lobbyists than DeLay

Original Link:

After Tom DeLay gave up his House Majority Leader post amid a wider corruption scandal that has plagued Capitol Hill these last few years, his replacement, John Boehner, has a lot to live up to. After all, Mr. DeLay was one of the founding fathers of the infamously lobbyist-friendly "K-Street Project."

But many thought that Boehner was of a different breed. After all, his colleagues on Capitol Hill do look up to the Ohio Congressman as a distributor of party talking points, which other Republicans use while on talk shows to channel blame towards the Democrats.

Ever since Boehner took the job as House Majority Leader, he has lived up to that expectation. For example, after the Supreme Court ruled against the White House on the detainee issue, Boehner's office circulated a talking points memo that slammed the court for granting "special privileges to terrorists," and said that the Democrats "celebrate" those privileges.

And just this week, Boehner's office released yet another talking points memo, this time portraying the Republican Party as low spenders, while painting the Democrats as "fiscally irresponsible." Heading into the November elections, Republicans are trying to make voters forget that the GOP Congressional majority has presided over the largest expansion of big government since the Johnson Administration.

But even though John Boehner is skilled at crafting rhetoric, behind our backs he is picking up where Tom DeLay left off: in the pockets of powerful lobbyists. Except, he is exceeding what DeLay was ever capable of doing. Read this, it gets pretty corrupt (Saturday Morning NY Times):

And far from trying to put the brakes on lobbyists and the moneythey channel into Republican coffers, Mr. Boehner, who has portrayedhis ties to Washington lobbyists as something to be proud of, hasstepped on the gas.

He has been holding fund-raisers atlobbyists’ offices, flying to political events on corporate planes andstaying at a golf resort with a business group that has a direct stakein issues before Congress.

Tapping a rich vein of longstandingrelationships with lobbyists and their corporate clients, Mr. Boehner,an Ohio Republican, has raised campaign contributions at a rate ofabout $10,000 a day since February, surpassing the pace set by formerRepresentative Tom DeLay after he became majority leader in 2002, a review of federal filings shows.

His fund-raising pace is roughly twice what it was before he becamemajority leader in February; in April his two federal committees tookin $334,500 from political action committees, a monthly take that Mr.DeLay did not match for more than two years after the elections in2002.

Mr. Boehner’s biggest donors include the politicalaction committees of lobbying firms, drug and cigarette makers, banks,health insurers, oil companies and military contractors. Seven AmericanIndian tribes with casinos have contributed $32,000.

And despitean intensified spotlight on Congressional trip taking, Mr. Boehner flewto a golf resort in Boca Raton, Fla., in March for a convention ofcommodities traders, who have contributed more than $100,000 to hiscampaigns and are lobbying against a proposed federal tax on futurestransactions.

During the trip, Mr. Boehner assured his hosts that Congress would most likely not approve a tax they opposed.

As you can see, John Boehner is doing a lot more than crafting talking points. He is bridging the gap between lobbyists and our lawmakers, keeping average people like you and me out in the cold to fend for our own needs.

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