Monday, March 20, 2006

Can't Find House Majority Leader John Boehner?

Try looking up. He's probably in a corporate jet. After all, he's spent about six months over the last six years on privately funded trips.
House Majority Leader John Boehner, who rose to power in the wake of a congressional lobbying scandal, spent the equivalent of nearly six months on privately funded trips over the past six years, according to a new study by a nonpartisan research group.

The Center for Public Integrity said the Ohio Republican accepted 42 privately sponsored trips from January 2000 to December 2005. That put him on the road to foreign countries and "golfing hotspots" — often with his wife, Debbie — for about half a year, "only nine days of which he listed as being 'at personal expense,' " the center said.

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And in a related story. It seems lobbyists aren't too worried about restrictions. They're confident they can find ways to buy pols. In fact, they already know how.
Some of Washington's top lobbyists say they expect to find ways around congressional efforts to impose new restrictions on lobbyists' dealings with lawmakers in the wake of the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal. Any limits will barely put a dent in the billions of dollars spent to influence legislation, they say.

While Congress may ultimately vote to eliminate a few of the more visible trappings of lobbying, such as gifts, free meals and luxurious trips, lobbyists say they already have found scores of new ways to buy the attention of lawmakers through fundraising, charitable activities and industry-sponsored seminars.

(read more)


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