Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Column: Blunt conflicts of interest typical of Congress

Keep in mind that Dick Morris is no paragon of virtue, but the ethically challenged former Clinton adviser, in his most recent column, points out several conflicts of interest that exists on both sides of the aisle, including ones pointed out in this blog concerning Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt:

Not to be outdone, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) wife, Abigail Perlman, is director of federal government affairs for Altria — the former Philip Morris corporation. Their relationship is one that was hatched in lobbying. While Blunt was dating Abigail, he quietly drafted language to benefit Altria/Philip Morris and tried to sneak it in the bill that established the Department of Homeland Security — without alerting the Republican leadership. Blunt’s mission was to minimize the sale of cigarettes on the Internet, a thorn in the side of Altria/Philip Morris. Fortunately, Hastert killed the amendment.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Morris notes the ethical problems faced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Now that Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.) is the Democratic floor leader, he has not just one but three sons — and a son-in-law — who are lobbyists. One of Reid’s sons, and his son-in-law, has lobbied in Washington; a second son lobbies for the same interests in Nevada; and a third son is an attorney who litigates for them in court. Reid’s lobbyist-sons worked to promote federal land swaps, mining interests and the University of Nevada at Reno.

Morris begins his column with what he calls Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's own version of No Child Left Behind:

Now Pelosi has come up with her own version of the No Child Left Behind program by asking the Defense Department to allow adult children of members of Congress to accompany them on their taxpayer-funded travel abroad if their spouses can’t make it. Such heartfelt concern for the lonely congressman on a publicly paid junket may be her version of family values, but it is a waste of tax money.

Is it any wonder Congress only has a 23 percent approval rating?

No comments: