Category Archives: Congress

Top 10 Ethics Scandals for 2007

Courtesy of CREW, Citizens for Responsibilty and Ethics in Washington has released their year end report. They note at the top of the page that despite the Democrat’s election vow to institute more checks and balances on Congressional ethics, not a damn thing has changed in that regard. No new enforcement regulations were put into law in the 110th Congress, and a group of fuckwits tasked with providing a report as to what needed to be done has yet to issue said report. Now, on to the scandals!

Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens

Teddy Stevens had his house in Alaska raided by the FBI and IRS this year. “Stevens is under federal investigation for his dealings with Bill Allen, founder of VECO Corp., an Alaska-based oil field services and engineering company that has been awarded tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts. Allen has admitted to paying for an addition to Sen. Stevens’ home.”

Senator Larry Craig

Larry has a penchant for airport restrooms and blowjobs , which caught the attention of most of the U.S. when he plead guilty to soliciting an undercover cop in a MN airport restroom. The Senate Ethics committee is *cough* investigating whether Craig violated the Senate rule prohibiting members from engaging in “improper conduct which reflects upon the Senate.”

Senator David “Diaper” VitterPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Vitter had a penchant for hookers and diapers evidently but the Senate isn’t investigating him for violating the Senate rule prohibiting members from engaging in “improper conduct which reflects upon the Senate”. But they are investigating Larry Craig..Go figure.

10 Million missing White House emailsPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

They are still missing. In April 2007, CREW released a report, WITHOUT A TRACE: The Missing White House E-mails and the of the Presidential Records Act, disclosing that over five million e-mails (CREW subsequently learned that the actual number is over ten million) are missing from White House servers for a two and a half year period between 2003 and 2005. The White House has known about the missing e-mail since October 2005 and was provided a plan to recover them, but to date has taken no action.

In May 2007, CREW sued the Office of Administration (OA), the component of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) responsible for maintaining the White House servers, based on the OA’s failure to provide CREW with any documents in response to its FOIA request for the analyses and assessments the OA prepared of the missing e-mail problem. On September 25, 2007, CREW filed a second lawsuit against the EOP, the OA and the National Archives and Records Administration alleging violations of the Federal Records Act for failing to recover, restore and preserve the millions of missing White House e-mail. On November 12, 2007, District Judge Henry Kennedy granted CREW’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the White House from destroying back-up copies of millions of deleted emails while the lawsuit is pending. The White House has refused to confirm whether any of the backup tapes for the missing email still exist.

Murtha’s earmarking faux paux’s.

In 2007, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) inserted into the Energy and Water Appropriations bill a $1 million earmark to establish the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure – a subsidiary of Concurrent Technologies Corporation, (CTC) a non-profit technology innovation center in Rep. Murtha’s district that has received hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks in recent years. CTC is a large non-profit that in 2005 received over $212 million in government grants. Since 2002, CTC’s employees and employees’ family members have donated over $115,000 to Rep. Murtha’s political committees and leadership PAC.

If that wasn’t enough, Murtha then threatened to screw with Rep. Mike Roger and any attempts he made to insert his own earmarks into defense appropriations bills. Murtha made similar threats to Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s (R-KS) earmarks. No investigations have taken place regarding any of the three above mentioned activities by John Murtha.

GSA’s Lurita Doan

The General Services Administrations head honcho, Lurita Doan violated the Hatch Act by requiring GSA employees to attend meetings designed to educate them as to what needed to be done to elect more Rethugs in the next election cycle. These meetings were held on government property, during employee’s working hours which is a direct violation of the Hatch Act. Nothing has been done to date and Ms. Doan is still running the show at the GSA. Ms. Doan has also been criticized for proposing to cut $5 million from the GSA Inspector General’s budget to limit the office’s ability to audit contracts for fraud and waste.

GonzoGate and the firing of the US Attorneys Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This burro has been beat to death by all of us and although Gonzo eventually resigned..nothing has come of the threatened contempt charges so far against former White House Counsel Harriet Miers or Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for refusing to testify after receiving congressional subpoena’s to do so. No charges have been lodged against Gonzo either. Stay tuned, this one might not be over..

No Child Left Behind funds directed to Bush fundraisers who provide inadequate reading materials for kids

In 2006, the Department of Education’s (DOE) Inspector General (IG) released a report finding he Bush administration’s implementation of the Reading First Initiative was beset with cronyism. In response to that report, CREW filed a lawsuit against the DOE and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings alleging that the DOE failed to comply with any of the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act which requires federally created panels include balanced nd representative viewpoints, hold open meetings and make their notes and records available to the public. In 2007, yet another critical report by the DOE’s IG found the Reading First training program was promoting certain reading materials to financially benefit a select group of Bush dministration donors. CREW’s suit is forcing the DOE to come clean about leaving behind the education of our nation’s children for the privileged Bush administration loyalists and donors.

Court decision regarding search of Jefferson’s office limits ability of DOJ to investigate other corrupt lawmakers

In considering whether the search of Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-LA) congressional office violated the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the court of appeals held — for the first time — that not only can legislative material not be used in prosecuting a member of Congress, but that Justice Department officials, including FBI agents, may not even accidentally see such material. This decision has emboldened members of Congress under federal investigation, who are prohibiting interviews with congressional staff and refusing to hand over documents, and is hampering public corruption investigations.

A wiretap is one example of a law enforcement tool endangered by the ruling because it would be nearly impossible for an agent monitoring the wiretap to be sure no legislative information was accidentally captured.

FEMA, KATRINA and toxic trailersPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Between March and July 2006, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the media reported that dangerous levels of formaldehyde had been found in trailers FEMA provided to house victims of Hurricane Katrina. Concerned about legal liability, FEMA suppressed warnings about the health problems and resisted testing the trailers. Instead, FEMA downplayed the problem, even issuing a public statement claiming here was no ongoing risk. Although 52,000 of these trailers are still occupied, FEMA prohibits its own staff from even briefly stepping inside unoccupied trailers, claiming they are “too dangerous.”

So there you have it, CREW’s short list of nasty, ugly ethics blunders within our hallowed halls of Congress and the White House my dear reader. We can only hope that next years list will be shorter..but I ain’t holding my breath on that one.

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Zogby Poll: President sucks..congress sucks worse

The whole damn bunch of them suck is the basic premise of the newest Zogby poll. Both branches of the Federal Government received record low anyone surprised?

Not moi my dear reader. Take a gander at what the Zogby poll has to say:

Only 29 percent of Americans gave Bush a positive grade for his job performance, below his worst Zogby poll mark of 30 percent in March. A paltry 11 percent rated Congress positively, beating the previous low of 14 percent in July. The Reuters/Zogby Index, a new measure of the mood of the country, dropped from 100 to 98.8 in the last month on worries about the economy and fears of a recession, pollster John Zogby said. “Since the last time we polled we have had the mortgage crisis, and we are hearing the recession word a whole lot more than we’ve heard it in the past,” Zogby said.

Its a pretty pathetic bunch of worthless Asshats up there on Capitol Hill ain’t it? For Congress to receive such a rating screams volumes about how worthless and spineless they are for me. The President of course could give a rat’s ass about his rating..its been in the toilet for years now.

Now, Zogby also does something called an “Index”. It addresses how American’s feel about the country and their lives in general. This monthly index rises and dips, no surprize there..but this month…well, its not good my dear reader. From the Zogby writeup in the same link as above:

The Index, which debuts this month, combines responses to 10 questions on Americans’ views about their leaders, the direction of their country and their personal situations. Polling for the Index began in July, and that month’s results provide the benchmark score of 100. A score above 100 indicates the country’s mood has improved since July. A score below 100, like the one recorded in September, shows the nation’s mood getting worse. The RZI, which will be released the third Wednesday of each month, had remained at 100 in August. “The public mood is not just dark. What’s darker than dark?” Zogby said. “The mood is getting ugly.” The national survey of 1,011 likely voters, taken September 13 through September 16, found barely one-quarter of Americans, or 27 percent, believe the country is headed in the right direction. Nearly 62 percent think the country is on the wrong track.

Congress can’t get 60 votes to restore Habeas Corpus or give the soldiers more time to mend from the horrors of war..but 60+% of Americans don’t have a problem registering their complaints and fears about a worsening economy or that we as a nation are on the wrong friggin track.

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Let the pissing contest begin!

The Senate Republican’s said screw it..they let the Iraq Funding Bill go through without a filibuster. Either they are tired of supporting BushCo or they are thinking of their home districts and how they will explain that they keep propping up the President even after the majority of the people have spoken. From an MSNBC writeup:

WASHINGTON – Defying a veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly signaled support Tuesday for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next March.

Republican attempts to scuttle the non-binding timeline failed on a vote of 50-48, largely along party lines. The roll call marked the Senate’s most forceful challenge to date of the administration’s handling of a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 U.S. troops.

Three months after Democrats took power in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the moment was at hand to “send a message to President Bush that the time has come to find a new way forward in this intractable war.”

The Prez will of course veto and piss and moan and threaten the Democrats. They need to send him the same damn bill every week until he figures it out. Thats my story and I am sticking to it.


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The history of executive officials testifying before Congressional committees

I know it’s a long title. But its the title of a very valuable tool that congress can use if they have to take BushCo to court in order to get Harriet and Rover to testify. The report was prepared by the Congressional Research Service. This report was last updated October 6th 2004. Just a little about the CRS:

The Congressional Research Service is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis.

History and Mission

Congress created CRS in order to have its own source of nonpartisan, objective analysis and research on all legislative issues. Indeed, the sole mission of CRS is to serve the United States Congress. CRS has been carrying out this mission since 1914, when it was first established as the Legislative Reference Service. Renamed the Congressional Research Service by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, CRS is committed to providing the Congress, throughout the legislative process, comprehensive and reliable analysis, research and information services that are timely, objective, nonpartisan, and confidential, thereby contributing to an informed national legislature.

The short of it is..the CRS is the legal research brain of Congress. They have provided Congress with a fairly good oral argument, imho, they can use when Bush’s latest bullshit move is taken through the court’s. But on to their report.

Since 1944, 74 members of the Presidents inner circle have testified before congress or their committee’s. Only 8 have refused or weren’t compelled to testify. Thats a LOT of friggin precedence sportsfans…lots of it. Guess who the guy is that currently is playing advisor to the Prez on this topic…go ahead..guess already.

Fred Fielding. Freddy was a legal counsel to Nixon. During WaterGate. We know how that turned out..nuff said. But I digress…

Don’t buy Tony Snow’s latest round of horseshit that Congress has no oversight when it comes to the President. Mr. Snowjob used the words ‘unprecedented’ and ‘highly unusual’. We are calling bullshit on that right here and now.

Tony Snow had the audacity to state in a press conference last week that if Harriet and Rove went into the lions den known as Congress, under the terms set by Congress, it would set a precedence. His exact words were:

Q If it’s behind closed doors, what’s the problem?

MR. SNOW: The thing that we have said all along is, we think that you ought to have the ability for members of Congress to get information in a way that also does not create precedence, and is going to have a chilling effect for presidential advisors to be able to give their full and fair advice to the President of the United States. We think that the compromise we shaped enables us to fulfill that obligation to the President, and to the public in terms of first-rate advice from the White House and the people working in the White House, and at the same time, allows Congress to do what it has to do, which is conduct oversight. There is nothing that says Congress has to have television; it says that Congress does have oversight responsibilities and needs to get at the facts.

In his next breath..he said this:

Q They get to be in public, but you want your guys behind closed doors.

MR. SNOW: There are — in this particular case, the Department of Justice — the Congress does have legitimate oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice. It created the Department of Justice. It does not have constitutional oversight responsibility over the White House, which is why by our reaching out, we’re doing something that we’re not compelled to do by the Constitution, but we think common sense suggests that we ought to get the whole story out, which is what we’re doing.(emphasis mine)

If Congress thinks the executive branch is pulling a fast one or lying their asses off, you bet your left nut(or tit) they have oversight responsibility over the White House. I don’t give a shit what Tony Snow says. Yes, they could have a Special Prosecutor..but why waste time? Do it yourself Congress, cut out the damn middle man ok? Thanks, now stick to your guns please.

Another question everyone should be asking is why in the blue hell did BushCo slip in that little amendment to the fucking Patriot Act that said they could appoint who ever they friggin wanted without Congressional approval? You know they backed their asses down from that one as soon as everyone on the Hill thought about it. But a bigger question is..

Why would they put a mindless fuckwit like Tim Griffin in one of the USA’s post? This man has never done a fucking thing that mattered unless you count being a Republican operative and a good bud of Karl Rove. Thats part of the job description for US Attorney now? No shit?

I doubt it. But Rove thought he was perfect for Bud Cummins job in Arkansas. And guess what? Timmy got it..without being confirmed by the Congress, thanks to that g-d Patriot Act provision I mentioned earlier.

Another point of fact. Rove is known for using the RNC email system instead of the government email system. Perhaps part of the missing email trail is there. Its worth a look, its worth asking him about. As Froomkin points out here, It’s against the law to use the RNC email system while your working for the executive branch. Its something about accountability. That pesky accountability thing..damn I just know Bush and Rove hate that.

As Salon writer Joe Conason points out, Rove is a liar. He calls him a proven liar, but I won’t go that far. Four trips to the Grand Jury say he wasn’t sharing recipes and frankly I do believe Conason when he says the reason Rover had 4 trips to the GJ is because he narrowly skirted an indictment his OWN self and finally fessed up that he was involved in outing Valerie Plame.

I have laid out enough reasons that Harriet and Rove should testify in front of Congressional committees. They should testify under oath and with a transcript of the hearing. Nothing less should be accepted. I would also like to see it on Cspan, but I will sit and read the transcript if I have to.

You can bet your sweet ass that I will read the transcript. Bush hasn’t seen the last of Congressional oversight. Fuck that bastard, the shit hasn’t even started to be flung. Get those raincoats and rubber boots on boys..your ass and your bullshit are about to be exposed.

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Bush thinks he is the the video of the "Bad offer"

This is short, but VERY sweet. The folks at Bring it On! Made it..specifically my beloved “Cranky” did it this morning over his breakfast cereal! Stop by BIO and give them a shout out for doing this for us to enjoy ok?

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