Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 47562
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2018/11/15 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
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2007/8/8-10 [Uncategorized] UID:47562 Activity:nil
8/8     Vicious ultra ring wingnut Margaret Carlson bashes new ethics law:
http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_carlson&sid=aSwNPAuJbnbU
        \- on a sort of weird note, MCARLSON used to traffic with FTHOMPSON
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bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_carlson&sid=aSwNPAuJbnbU
Enlarge Image Representative William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat Aug. At almost the same time, a federal court handed down a decision involving a congressman whose office was raided by the FBI last year as part of a bribery case that included the earlier discovery of $90,000 he stashed in his home freezer. The ruling reminds us how much more Washington is like Vegas than Peoria. Under the Constitution, a congressman can protect his legislative files from being searched. In other words, what happens in your Capitol Hill office stays in your Capitol Hill office. The ruling came in the matter of Representative William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat indicted for bribery in June. Jefferson allegedly got the $90,000 from a telecommunications entrepreneur who enlisted his help in getting approval from a Nigerian official to do business in that country. The court didn't buy that the Justice Department did everything it could during the search to shield privileged documents, short of letting Jefferson conduct his own raid. A filter team'' removed any material that smacked of Jefferson's legislative duties. The court found the effort insufficient to protect the privilege'' of the legislative branch to be free from intrusions by the executive branch. Shielding Lawbreakers This means that under the principle of shielding lawmakers, lawbreakers may be shielded from legitimate law enforcement. Why didn't he think to take the loot out of the freezer in his home and disperse it among the files labeled congressional bills'' at his office? Yes, it would have been hard for former Representative Randy Duke'' Cunningham, now in prison, to keep his Louis XIV commode hidden in his office. Stevens's house in Alaska was raided last week by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service as part of a broad corruption probe. Stevens has multiple ties to businessman Bill Allen, who, since pleading guilty to bribery in May, is said to be singing like an Arctic loon. If Only He'd Known With the court's ruling, Stevens could have shipped anything he didn't want to be discovered to the Hart Senate Office Building for safekeeping. Stevens and Jefferson are just two of at least a dozen members of Congress under investigation, which puts increasing pressure on the lawmakers to do something about corruption. That something, unfortunately, has loopholes large enough for a Gulfstream V to fly through. The ethics legislation allows members to do all kinds of things -- as long as they disclose them. Just make sure he discloses that he's bundling donations from friends, clients and employees. You can still shoehorn an appropriation for millions of dollars onto an unrelated piece of legislation as long as you put your name on it. Bridge to Nowhere' The law would have done nothing to stop Stevens from getting his Bridge to Nowhere,'' a quarter-mile span connecting an Alaskan town to an island of 50 people, a couple of years ago. Gifts and free travel are banned, unless they are part of campaigning. In other words, Congressman A can't have a rare rib-eye, creamed spinach and a bottle of Merlot with Businessman B at the Palm unless it's in conjunction with fundraising. In the case of congressional ethics, two wrongs do make a right. The reason disclosure no longer works as a deterrent is that shame no longer works. As the ethics legislation was rolling to passage, Stevens, at a private luncheon with Republican colleagues, threatened to hold the whole thing up if the ban on traveling on corporate aircraft wasn't removed. He'll just have to pay for it at commercial charter rates. In wanting to keep his perks, Stevens may be the most outspoken member, but he's, by no means, alone. Ethics'' is the one area in Congress where there is heartwarming bipartisanship. Culture of Corruption' Former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich and Democrat Thomas Foley filed legal briefs in support of Jefferson. When the court said the search was unlawful, Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded. Earlier, Pelosi, who once pledged to end the Republican culture of corruption,'' took away Jefferson's coveted seat on the House Ways and Means Committee after the FBI raid on his office only to try to award him a coveted seat on the homeland security panel. Senator John McCain, showing again why he'll never be president, said the ethics bill will delude voters into thinking things have been fixed when they haven't. This will continue the earmarking and pork barrel projects,'' the Arizona Republican said. The public would be better off if Congress had to live by the laws that apply to everyone else, criminal and civil, and at least a few of the Ten Commandments. I'd start with thou shalt not steal -- and work from there.