So, the House Republican caucus wanted to present a clean, faux-reformist image to Americans, so today they rejected Roy Blunt and chose as Tom DeLay’s replacement as Majority Leader Ohio Congressman John Boehner.
That’s right, the new ethically pure, reformist, anti-corruption Congressional Republicans will be led by a Republican from Ohio. Boehner is a member of a male-only country club with a $75,000 initiation fee. Maybe that cleaned out his bank account, which is why he had to take almost $14,000 in free trips from the lobbyist-connected Ripon Society. He also has a history as a bag man for the tobacco lobby during his days as a capo for Newt Gingrich, even going so far as to disburse checks from tobacco lobbyists to Republican members on the floor of the United States Congress. So this really made me chuckle:
On Tuesday, majority Republicans in the U.S. House sought to contain the damage from the Abramoff scandal by proposing their own package of reforms, including banning travel paid for by outside groups, restricting gifts and denying pensions to lawmakers convicted of felonies related to official duties.
"An honorable majority responds to its stumbles with contrition, reform, and an effort to fix that which is broken," said Republican U.S. Rep. John Boehner, of West Chester.
Boehner’s association with corrupt majorities isn’t limited to being a Republican in the United States Congress, either. It also includes his position as a prominent Republican in the state of Ohio. As you surely know, the Ohio Republican party has so-far made the Abramoff crooks look like a bunch of pikers. There’s still time for the Abramoff scandal to morph into something much, much bigger—and it probably will—but what we know in Ohio is that the Ohio Republicans’ La Cosa Noe-stra centered around GOP fundraiser Timothy Noe has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Republicans running for both state and federal office, including George W. Bush’s Presidential campaign. Noe broke laws in raising money for Bush, and he stole the pension money of Ohio workers by investing it in shady deals with his coin business.
Has John Boehner done anything to clean up corruption in his own party in his own home state? He certainly didn’t distance himself from Jean Schmidt, to whose campaign in 2005 he donated $10,000, despite her connections to Noe. He doesn’t appear to have called for any sweeping reforms of the Ohio Republican party, or publicly urged Republicans to renounce the money they received from Noe.
Why should we expect John Boehner to be a sincere advocate of Congressional lobbying reform, when he’s done nothing to advocate or implement reform among his fellow Ohio Republicans, possibly the most corrupt bunch of Republicans in the country?