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June 06, 2006

Good Riddance

Tom DeLay is resigning from Congress this week.  This man has damaged the manner in which politics works in this country, probably more than any other single person in our history.  It is democracy itself that has suffered.   

I wrote about his wretched K Street Project in March, riffing off a no-holds-barred speech that our national treasure, Bill Moyers, gave.  In the interest of reminding us why we need to take back Congress this fall, I repeat myself:

Moyers provides an incredible history of the "K Street Project" and Tom DeLay's part in that.

Here’s how they ran it: On the day before the Republicans formally took control of Congress on January 3, 1995, DeLay met in his office with a coterie of lobbyists from some of the biggest companies in America. The journalists Michael Weisskopf and David Maraniss report that “the session inaugurated an unambiguous collaboration of political and commercial interests, certainly not uncommon in Washington but remarkable this time for the ease and eagerness with which these allies combined.”

DeLay virtually invited them to write the Republican agenda. . . . The rules were simple and blunt. Contribute to Republicans only. Hire Republicans only. When the electronics industry ignored the warning and chose a Democratic Member of Congress to run its trade association, DeLay played so rough – pulling from the calendar a bill that the industry had worked on two years, aimed at bringing most of the world in alignment with U.S. copyright law – that even the House Ethics Committee, the watchdog that seldom barks and rarely bites, stirred itself to rebuke him – privately, of course.

DeLay's own people took the best jobs:

At least 29 of his former employees landed major lobbying positions – the most of any Congressional office. The journalist John Judis found that together ex-DeLay people represent around 350 firms, including thirteen of the biggest trade associations, most of the energy companies, the giants in finance and technology, the airlines, auto makers, tobacco companies, and the largest health care and pharmaceutical companies. When tobacco companies wanted to block the FDA from regulating cigarettes, they hired DeLay’s man. When the pharmaceutical companies – Big Pharma – wanted to make sure companies wouldn’t be forced to negotiate cheaper prices for drugs, they hired six of Tom DeLay’s team, including his former chief of staff. The machine became a blitzkrieg, oiled by campaign contributions that poured in like a gusher.

<snip>

They centralized in their own hands the power to write legislation. Drastic revisions to major bills were often written at night, with lobbyists hovering over them, then rushed through as “emergency’ measures,” giving members as little as half an hour to consider what they may be voting on.

The Democratic minority was locked out of conference committees where the House and Senate are supposed to iron out their differences with both parties in the loop. The Republican bosses even took upon themselves the power to rewrite a bill in secrecy and move it directly to a vote without any other hearings or public review.

Good riddance to the worst of them.  May this be followed by many, many more farewells to the rest of the miserable lot of corrupt Republicans. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on June 6, 2006 at 08:24 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink

Comments

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Posted by: Joe | Jun 6, 2006 7:41:54 PM

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