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Just Like Earmark Reform, ‘GOP’s Swamp-Draining Plans Remain Murky’

First, conservatives are furious at the lack of commitment from Congressional Republicans on plans to reform the earmark process. Wall Street Journal:

Some tea-party sympathizers were particularly troubled by the omission of an earmark ban…

Then, an article in last week’s Roll Call revealed the discrepancy between House Republican Leader John Boehner and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor on the call to end earmarks:

There are deep divisions over what to do among the party’s rank and file, the vast majority of whom have endorsed earmarking in the past.

Finally, an article today shows the inability of Republicans to agree on efforts for Congressional ethics reform:

Republican leaders and rank-and-file Members said privately that there has been almost no discussion about the future of the House ethics process under a potential GOP majority.

But we are familiar with the GOP record – a record of quadrupling earmarks when they were in charge. And for the last four years, Republicans have stood on the sidelines, as the Democratic-led House has enacted major ethics and accountability reforms. Independent advocates for Congressional reform have stated to the AP:

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, credits Pelosi with going far beyond previous speakers, saying she changed what Democrats once called a “culture of corruption” under Republican rule.

Melanie Sloan, director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Pelosi has brought about the culture change she promised.

Obstruction of Congressional Reform by House Republican Leader John Boehner and Congressional Republicans:

Republicans in Congress have offered nothing but rhetoric about earmark reforms over the past four years and now they are having a fight within their own party and outside groups about their commitments for reform.

Republicans opposed the creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Republicans made a regular practice of meeting with lobbyists representing Big Oil, health insurance companies, Wall Street and others in an effort to stop tough legislation that holds the Special Interests accountable and protects consumers.

And what about Mr. Boehner’s special bond with the special interests dating back to his earliest days in Congress when he hosted a weekly meeting of “lobbyists representing some of the richest special interests in the country” in his office, a group nicknamed the Thursday Group?

In fact, Congressional Republicans have a record that has been called everything from “a criminal enterprise” to “outright crookedness,” and last week, Leader Boehner declined to promise the GOP would not return to the days of the infamous “K Street Project”:

But the last time the Republicans ran the House, Tom DeLay and other leaders, including Rep. Roy Blunt (who’s now running for Senate in Missouri), turned this institutional graft into a main part of the show. They developed the K Street project. Its mission: to integrate corporate lobbyists into the GOP power structure. It was a pay-to-play system. Lobbyists would gain access to GOP lawmakers only if they gave donations to Republican candidates and hired Republican staff. Those who went along were granted the privilege of helping GOP lawmakers craft bills. (And the GOP staffers who wrote the lobbyist-friendly bills and ushered them through Congress would go on to receive high-paying jobs at these lobbying joints.)

…Boehner, a leading collector of lobbyist campaign cash, has made no promise not to revive such corruption should the GOP win the House and he become the speaker. In fact, when a colleague of mine, referring to the Pledge’s call for greater transparency, asked Boehner if he and his fellow Republicans would commit to disclosing their meetings with lobbyists and reveal what is discussed in these private sessions, Boehner changed the subject …

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