Gingrich urges GOP action over political corruption


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rick_reno
January 5, 2006, 07:49 PM
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/01/05/D8EUMQI80.html

Gingrich Urges GOP Action After Abramoff
Jan 05 2:02 PM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON

As politicians led by President Bush scrambled to ditch campaign contributions from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich cautioned Republicans they risk losing control of congressional majorities if they try to put all the blame on lobbyists.

"You can't have a corrupt lobbyist unless you have a corrupt member (of Congress) or a corrupt staff. This was a team effort," Gingrich told a Rotary Club lunch in Washington on Wednesday. He called for systematic changes to reduce the enormous financial advantages that incumbents have in congressional elections.

As head of a conservative movement based on ethics concerns and promises to curb federal growth, Gingrich led the GOP in 1994 to its first House majority in 42 years. But he decided to resign in 1998 when Republicans lost seats a year after Gingrich himself was fined $300,000 for violating House rules barring the use of tax-exempt foundations for political purposes.

He said the GOP leaders, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., need to resist mere "lobbyist bashing" and push campaign finance changes, along with smaller and more effective government.

"If they intend to retain a majority, then ... they need to take the lead in saying to the country we need to clean this mess up," Gingrich told reporters. "But any effort to push this under the rug, to say this is just one bad apple: That's baloney."

So far the primary response by politicians has been to separate themselves from campaign contributions they took from Abramoff or Indian tribes he represented _ either by returning them or donating them to charity.

In just the two days since Abramoff pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington to three federal felonies, more than 40 elected federal officials have given up Abramoff donations, joining a dozen who did so last year.

This week's list was headed by Republicans Bush, Frist, Hastert, House Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, who faces legal problems of his own. But some Democrats joined in, including Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Republicans dominated the list _ not surprising given that Abramoff, a friend of DeLay's, gave far more to them than to Democrats.

The scandal's effect on the 2006 election was on the mind of many who jettisoned the donations.

"I wish it hadn't happened because it's not going to help us keep our majority," conceded Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Ohio.

As Abramoff pleaded guilty to a second set of felony charges Wednesday, this time in Florida, officials said Bush's 2004 re- election campaign intended to give up $6,000 in donations from the lobbyist, his wife and a client.

A spokeswoman for Blunt, Burson Taylor, said, "While we firmly believe the contributions were legal at the time of receipt, the plea indicates that such contributions may not have been given in the spirit in which they were received."

Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, under federal investigation over his links to Abramoff, joined in the rush.

The Republican scramble to shed cash that once was eagerly sought underscored the potential political problem the party faces in this election year.

Gingrich told reporters he thinks Republicans should elect a permanent replacement for DeLay. In addition to links with Abramoff, the Texan is battling campaign finance charges in his home state of Texas but hopes to regain his leadership post.

Regula, who came to Congress in 1973 and survived post-Watergate elections that crippled his party, said the implications of the Abramoff plea deals could be devastating for the GOP. "I was in the minority for 22 years and the majority for 11, and having tried it both ways, I definitely prefer the majority."

Frist issued a statement placing ethics issues on the Senate agenda for the year. He said he intends to "examine and act on any necessary changes to improve transparency and accountability for our body when it comes to lobbying."

For their part, House Democrats signaled they intend to make ethics an element in their drive to gain a majority in next fall's elections.

"It's more important for these Republicans to come clean with the American people about ... what (they) did for Jack Abramoff and his special interest friends in return for those campaign contributions," said Sarah Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the House Democratic campaign organization.

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Standing Wolf
January 5, 2006, 08:02 PM
Ethics? That seems to be a word we hear from the Washington, D.C. area only when someone's been convicted of something nasty or someone's accusing someone else of something nasty.

Waitone
January 5, 2006, 08:49 PM
Ain't it interesting to see the majority party trying to spiff up its image just in time for the 2006 campaign. Name the issue and all of a sudden spinelessrepublicans fall all over themselves setting an example.

Campaign finance reform? What happened to the last round. I thought McCain's campaign finance control bill took money out of politics (no really, that is what was said). Notice the spinelessrepublican party did nothing to overturn the law all the while decrying its attack on the first amendment. Corruption is politics. What matters is whose hand is on the levers of power when the voters begin to smell problems.

Immigration reform. Can't put lipstick on that pig. Both parties made a studied effort to do nothing. Now that the lid is about to blow spinelessrepublicans are all over themselves trying to look like they've done something. Interestingly enough they only way to differentiate them from democrats is to do something. They can't because their money fountains demand nothing to be done.

And my personal favorite, reckless spending. Pardon me, I can't stop laughing long enough to finish this post. . . . . :neener:

grampster
January 5, 2006, 11:11 PM
So, in 2006 we replace a pig with a hog? Somehow we have forgotten that the Democrats being in charge created most of the socialist mess that is our reality?

Maybe we rather ought to have a Constitutional Amendment that bars ALL political contributions of any kind, establishes a part-time congress so they can live and travel around their districts at their own expense; that way they are more accountable, require a 10 year sunset in every law that requires tax money to be spent and a 2/3 majority to renew it.

xd9fan
January 6, 2006, 10:38 AM
term limits....for starters.....please....anybody....

porterdog
January 6, 2006, 10:58 AM
Maybe we rather ought to have a Constitutional Amendment that bars ALL political contributions of any kind, establishes a part-time congress so they can live and travel around their districts at their own expense; that way they are more accountable, require a 10 year sunset in every law that requires tax money to be spent and a 2/3 majority to renew it.

Where do I sign?!

cuchulainn
January 6, 2006, 11:36 AM
The nanny state breeds corruption as people try to bribe their way out of regulation.

The pork barrel state breeds corruption as people try to bribe their way to a bigger share of the trough.

We have a part nanny state, part pork barrel state. Yet we're surprised.

Why do I have a sudden urge to watch Casablanca?

Lobotomy Boy
January 6, 2006, 02:08 PM
So, in 2006 we replace a pig with a hog? Somehow we have forgotten that the Democrats being in charge created most of the socialist mess that is our reality?

Maybe we rather ought to have a Constitutional Amendment that bars ALL political contributions of any kind, establishes a part-time congress so they can live and travel around their districts at their own expense; that way they are more accountable, require a 10 year sunset in every law that requires tax money to be spent and a 2/3 majority to renew it.


Grampster, I agree with everything you say, but I worry about a flaw in your basic logic. This thread is about Gingrich urging the Republican party to reform itself, which is essential if it is to remain in power. But you interpret this as an either-or choice between electing a Republican congress or a Democratic congress. The problem with that is that it provides a smokescreen for the Republican party to hide behind in order to avoid enacting the reform that is essential to its survival.

Again, I am not disagreeing with what you are saying.

grampster
January 7, 2006, 05:51 PM
Lobotomy boy: Well, you did have a lobotomy.:p

Seriously, You're correct. Perhaps my comment had drifted a bit. There has been a lot of comments regarding folks re-installing the Dems into power. That would be a huge mistake as they have drifted so far to the left now that they are out of sight. I think the Republican Party was on the right track when it leaned harder to the right. (contract with America) That was what got the Repubs into power again. You are correct in that they have drifted to center left since then, and always trying to accomodate their opponents who think nothing about continually trashing them and blocking them and propagandizing against them. The trouble is that there are too many rino's in the party, so the party is fractured. If I were Bush, I'd call all the rino's into the oval office and have a sit down about getting on the bandwagon or get the hell out of the party. Newt is right, and they do need to clean up their act. Problem is no one has the balls to confront the rino's. So far Bush has not done that.

Whether you like Bush or not, he does have a vision and an understanding about Wahhabist Islamo-fascism and the world wide danger it represents to the civilized world as well as the 3rd world. That is a Primary Impulse that needs to remain in the forefront. We are in Iraq for damn good reasons and WMD's were only the catalyst that got us to do what we needed to do in the first place. Sadly we tend to place Secondary Impulses over the Primary ones. The West has elevated Secondary Impulses; gov health care, gov day care, gov paternity leave etc over the Primary Impulses; national defense,family, faith, and reproductive activity. Mark Steyn has a good paper on this in The New Criterion. Some of his conclusions may be over the top, but he has nailed some concepts that the Republican Party should be paying more attention to again.

Frankly, if I had my way, I'd like to see the Repubs change their party name to the Conservative Party and the Dems to the Socialist Party. That at least would draw a line in the sand. I don't mean in the Neo sense for either of them.

Waitone
January 8, 2006, 07:01 AM
Newt is a paragon of virtue.

Just before he was keelhauled by republicans he was a really busy boy. He was simultaneously 1>affairing with an aide, 2>breaking it off with his wife, and 3>lecturing democrats over their lack of "family values." It drove democrats nuts and they eventually were able to get him dumped. Good all over 'em. Corruption is a moral problem as is diddling an aide while married.

I'll not concern myself with Newt's pontifications.

tellner
January 8, 2006, 07:52 PM
It's kind of like Ray Charles leading a tour of the Louvre, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Desertdog
January 8, 2006, 09:59 PM
Maybe we rather ought to have a Constitutional Amendment that bars ALL political contributions of any kind,
Sounds good to hear, but we need to find some way for the honest man with good ideas, and without a lot of money to be equal to the millionairs that would/do run.

establishes a part-time congress so they can live and travel around their districts at their own expense; that way they are more accountable,
Agree completly. Maybe 3 monts in Washinton DC each year, maybe broken up into 30 day sessions. Also Federal term limits.

require a 10 year sunset in every law that requires tax money to be spent and a 2/3 majority to renew it.
Right on.

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