Monday, June 26, 2006

LOBBYING REFORM FADES AS HASTERT, LEWIS PROBED -- "When Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) announced his resignation as majority leader in January -- soon after lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to corruption charges -- House Republicans panicked. Dozens of GOP lawmakers, fearing a political backlash, flooded the office of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) with urgent pleas for lobbying reform."

Which prompts a WaPo editorial: "Never underestimate the congressional impulse to do nothing -- especially when doing something could make life less pleasant for lawmakers."

And NYT: "Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, promised credible reform back when the stench of illegal quid pro quo dealings between lobbyists and ethically challenged lawmakers seized public attention. But nothing close to true self-policing is emerging from Congress."

Amid all of this there's fresh reporting on the probe of Appropriations chairman Jerry Lewis:
When defense contractor Nicholas Karangelen launched a political action committee directed by the stepdaughter of the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, he added another dimension to a tight circle of Capitol Hill relationships that is under federal investigation.

The relationships revolve around Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, who leads the Appropriations Committee and has extraordinarily close ties to lobbyists Letitia White and Bill Lowery.
See also TPMMuckraker; Harper's Washington Babylon.