February 11, 2007
Congress Finds Ways to Avoid Lobbyist Limits
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 — The 110th Congress opened
with the passage of new rules intended to curb the
influence of lobbyists by prohibiting them from treating
lawmakers to meals, trips, stadium box seats or the
discounted use of private jets.
But it did not take long for
lawmakers to find ways to keep having lobbyist-financed
In just the last two
months, lawmakers invited lobbyists to help pay for a
catalog of outings: lavish birthday parties in a
lawmaker’s honor ($1,000 a lobbyist), martinis and
margaritas at Washington restaurants (at least $1,000),
a California wine-tasting tour (all donors welcome),
hunting and fishing trips (typically $5,000), weekend
golf tournaments ($2,500 and up), a Presidents’ Day
weekend at Disney World ($5,000), parties in South Beach
in Miami ($5,000), concerts by the Who or Bob Seger
($2,500 for two seats), and even Broadway shows like
“Mary Poppins” and “The Drowsy Chaperone” (also $2,500
Onetime Reformer Calls on Big
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 11, 2007; Page A01
Just about a year and a half ago,
Sen. John McCain
went to court to try to curtail the influence of a group to
which A. Jerrold Perenchio gave $9 million, saying it was
trying to "evade and violate" new campaign laws with voter
ads ahead of the midterm elections.
As McCain launches his own
presidential campaign, however, he is counting on Perenchio,
the founder of the Univision Spanish-language media empire,
to raise millions of dollars as co-chairman of the Arizona
Republican's national finance committee.
Some See Salvation, Others See Doom for
Medicare and Medicaid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 11, 2007; Page A03
Depending on whom you ask, the budget that President Bush proposed last
week will save or sink Medicare and Medicaid, two popular
programs that, along with Social Security, threaten to swamp
the federal budget as the baby-boom generation retires.
Bush, citing the need for fiscal responsibility, proposed
reducing by $101 billion over five years the spending growth
of the two health programs, which serve 93 million people
and will cost the government $564 billion this year. One of
his most controversial ideas is to charge wealthier seniors
higher Medicare premiums for the second time in the
program's 41-year history.
January 23, 2007
Clinton Bid Heralds Demise of Public Financing
"It's going to be a tremendous test of whether this
system survives," Robert Lenhard, chairman of the Federal Election Commission,
said of the pressure building on the existing system. Michael Toner, his
predecessor, was less restrained. This election, he predicted, will be
"basically the death" of public financing.
Death Knell May Be Near for Public Election Funds
The public financing system for presidential campaigns, a post-Watergate
initiative hailed for decades as the best way to rid politics of the corrupting
influence of money, may have quietly died over the weekend.
Poll: Global image of US deteriorates as Iraq conflict worsens
Survey responses show a high disapproval of US foreign policy in key areas, including nuclear proliferation and global warming.
The poll shows that world citizens disapprove of the way the US government has handled all six of the foreign policy areas explored. After the Iraq war (73% disapproval), majorities across the 25 countries also disapprove of US handling of Guantánamo detainees (67 percent),the Israeli-Hezbollah war (65 percent), Iran's nuclear program (60 percent), global warming (56 percent), and North Korea's nuclear program (54 percent).
Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes comments, "According to world public opinion, these days the US government hardly seems to be able to do anything right"...
GlobeScan president Doug Miller comments, "The US Administration's recent decision to send more troops to Iraq is at odds with global public opinion that thinks the US military presence in the region provokes more conflict than it prevents. This policy is likely to further hurt America's image."
The 25 countries polled in November and December of 2006 were the United
States, Mexico, Britain, France, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Hungary,
Poland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, United Arab Emirates,
Turkey, Russia, China, India, Australia, Indonesia, The Philippines, and South
Korea. The margin of error in each country polled is
+/- 2.5 to four percent
January 20, 2007
Editor comment: This article describes the goings on to pass this rule
and the long and arduous road this rule must follow to become law.
The ability to deliver an envelope of checks — each one in compliance with
the federal limit — is one of the most valuable favors a lobbyist can provide a
lawmaker. Bundling is also a major reason incumbents so easily out raise their
challengers and so rarely lose their seats.
Senate Measure Puts Spotlight on Fund-Raising
“I am sick and tired of fund-raising,” said Senator Bob
Casey, a newly elected Pennsylvania Democrat who voted
for the ethics bill. “When you sit in a room for four
hours making calls, it kind of has a deadening effect on
He added, wryly, “Anything that reduces the amount of
time that you are spending fund-raising is good for the
country, and it is definitely good for me.”
January 12, 2007
Drug Bill Demonstrates Lobby's Pull
Democrats Feared Industry Would Stall Bigger
To strengthen their position, drug firms and their trade groups have been
transforming their Washington operations by hiring top Democratic lobbyists to
gain access to new committee chairmen, bolstering Democratic political donations
and spending millions on public relations campaigns to overcome an image,
indicated in recent surveys, that the industry puts profits ahead of patients.
Sunday, January 7: Democrats’ Drug Plan Has Pitfalls, Critics Say
Saturday, January 6: House Tightens Disclosure Rules for Pet Projects
Quote from the article: Still, the changes were
approved by a vote of 280 to 152, with 48 Republicans joining all 232 Democrats.
News staff comment: Mike Simpson voted Yes, one of the
48 republicans that voted Yes, on Title 4 of H Res 6, Adopting the Rules of the
House of Representatives for the One Hundred Tenth Congress. Mike Simpson voted
No on Title 5, as did all the Republicans.
Title 5 of H Res 6 includes:
This voting information is at
To see Title 5 as shown here, click on Read
on this bill at the Library of Congress, from the Washington Post link.
Then click on: Text of Legislation.
Friday, January 5: Senate Feels Heat as House Cranks Up Ethics Overhaul
You may want to tell Mike Simpson, Mike Crapo, and Larry Craig how you feel
Thursday, January 4:
Ethics Overhaul Tops the Agenda in New Congress
News staff comment: This is a test of Democrats taking the money out of
politics and instead, doing what the people want.
Bush Signals Budget Accord
New Plan to Mirror Democrats' Goals
President Bush promised yesterday to produce a plan to balance the federal
budget in five years and challenged lawmakers to slash their special pet
projects in half next year, embracing priorities of the new Democratic
leadership that will assume control of Congress today.
News staff comment: Here is the number of earmarks and
the cost for them last year:
The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW's annual compilation of
the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. The 2006 Pig Book
identified 9,963 projects in the 11 appropriations bills
that constitute the discretionary portion of the federal budget for fiscal 2006,
costing taxpayers $29 billion. A "pork" project is a line-item
in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in
circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a
project must meet one of seven
criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW
and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.
News staff comment: Is cutting the earmarks in half enough? $29
billion / 2 = 14.5 billion for 9,963 / 2 = 4981.5 earmarks last year.
Democrats are guilty of earmarks and Republicans are guilty. Earmarks
are spending bills for pet projects that are attached to big bills, like
military spending. Nobody approves the earmarks: they are attached with no
discussion of their merits.
News staff comment: Larry Craig and Mike Simpson make a case for keeping
earmarks. The do not address the issue that earmarks are not approved by
Wednesday, January 3:
Activists on the Left Applying Pressure to
Liberals Seek Bolder Approach to War, Spying
You may want to read this article. If the democratic left gets its way,
then we have the same problem that we have had for the last 6 years with the
republican right making all the laws.
Tuesday, January 2: Democrats To Start
Without GOP Input
Quick Passage of First Bills
Here is an excerpt from the article:
said they are not going to allow Republican
input into the ethics package and other
early legislation, because several of the
bills have already been debated and
dissected, including the proposal to raise
the minimum wage, which passed the House
Appropriations Committee in the 109th
Congress, said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for
"We've talked about these things for more
than a year," he said. "The members and the
public know what we're voting on. So in the
first 100 hours, we're going to pass these
But because the
details of the Democratic proposals have not
been released, some language could be new.
Daly said Democrats are still committed to
sharing power with the minority down the
line. "The test is not the first 100 hours,"
he said. "The test is the first six months
or the first year. We will do what we
promised to do."
Health Care for All
Sunday, December 31: Health Care Problem? Check the American Psyche
Describes how the single-payer system costs less for better care than we have
in the USA.
Friday, December 29:
Thursday, December 28: John Edwards to announce he is running for president.
See his advance notice at
His Material for Your Citizens' Launch Event is at
He is saying that we can start now.
Wednesday, December 27:
Tuesday, December 26: Bipartisan Effort to Draft Immigration Bill
Democrats Pledge to Restrain Spending
Critics Say Party's Goals Are Too Lofty
Monday, December 25:
Sunday, December 24: This Year's Deficit to Hit Record $427 Billion
Friday, December 22
Is the Way the War Ends…
Incentives on Oil Barely Help
U.S., Study Suggests
Rand Study shows all volunteer
Thursday, December 21
Congress Goes Kosher: CAGW Cheers Pork-Free Diet:
Wednesday, December 20
President Wants to Increase Size of Armed Forces
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Attacks in Iraq at Record High, Pentagon Says
Monday, December 18, 2006
Conservatives' Grip on Key Virginia Court Is at Risk
- Sunday, December 17,
Congress's Inaction Threatens Funding
These are the press releases we've issued
over the last year.
You may want to search for
topics by keyword.
December 15, 2006
Lemhi County Democratic Central Committee
Establishes Internet Presence
- See the press release for more
Recent Media Coverage of
Lemhi County Democratic Central Committee
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