Cell-Phone Sheila Jackson Lee is Also Caribbean Junketeer

Just how out of touch is Congress? The above video clip is now famous. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) talks on her cell phone while cancer survivor Tracy Miller tries to ask her a question at a health care Town Hall meeting.

Rep. Jackson Lee was one of five members of Congress who took part in a Citigroup-funded junket to the sunny Caribbean island of St. Maartens shortly after all five voted for TARP. The trip was led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), the tax cheat who has proposed tax increases to fund health care.

I crashed the event as an uninvited observer to document violations of House Rules. The House Ethics Committee is investigating. It has requested my photographs, audio recordings and other materials.

True to form, however, the Pelosi-controlled Ethics Committee appointed Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), a member of the Congressional … Read More ➡

Pelosi/Murtha Retreat on Jets for Congress Not Enough

Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha have retreated half way on their plan to spend $550 million on private jets for use by members of Congress. This is not good enough. Plans for the remaining four aircraft must be abandoned as well.

Murtha was quoted by AP as saying, “If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill.” I guess the public uproar over the jet purchase had nothing to do with it. After years of ramming unwanted projects down the throat of the Defense Department, Murtha this time just wants to defer to the Pentagon.

It is amazing that Pelosi continues to allow Murtha such a high visability as his cronies get indicted one by one, and he unapologetically defends earmarks for projects like the Airport for No One in his district.

The fact that these aircraft purchases were even contemplated shows … Read More ➡

Surprise, Surprise: Senate Ethics Committee Clears Dodd, Conrad

Dodd photoAssociated Press reports:

The Senate ethics committee cleared Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad of breaking rules by getting mortgages through a VIP program, even as it scolded them Friday for not being more careful to avoid the appearance of sweetheart deals.

Apparently, the Committee was so proud of its work that it released its decision on a Friday afternoon in August. This will do nothing to undermine the reputation of both the House and Senate Ethics Committees as laughingstocks.

AP continues:

The Select Committee on Ethics told Dodd of Connecticut and Conrad of North Dakota in separate letters that it found “no substantial credible evidence” after a yearlong investigation that their mortgages from Countrywide Financial Corp. broke Senate gift rules. The two influential Democrats got their mortgages through a VIP program for those designated as “friends” of then-Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo.

We should acknowledge a debt of gratitude to … Read More ➡

Boehm Blasts Mass. AG Coakley in Honorary Degree Flap

Coakley photoHillary Chabot reports in the Boston Herald today:

Attorney General Martha Coakley donned a cap and gown to receive an honorary law degree from Suffolk University as her office actively probed a school trustee for conflict of interest – and maintains she did not have to get ethics clearance first.

But Ken Boehm of the ethics watchdog agency National Legal and Policy Center blasted Coakley over the Suffolk honor: “By any ethical yardstick, that’s way over the line and it shouldn’t have happened. Anything of value received from someone under investigation is wholly inappropriate.”

The Herald story continues:

Coakley, widely viewed as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate and a strong backer of ethics reform, was awarded the honorary degree May 7, telling graduates, “If your reputation for integrity is impaired, set that diploma on fire.”

Suffolk spokesman Greg Gatlin said in a statement:

Attorney General Martha Coakley is

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Daily Kos Blogger: Mollohan’s ‘Amazing Conflict of Interest’

Daily Kos masteheadRep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) better watch out. It is not just Republicans who are now complaining about his conflict of interest in controlling the budgets of the Justice Department and the FBI while under investigation by those entities.

From a blogger today known as texasrabble on the left-wing Daily Kos website:

Amazingly — despite credible allegations of numerous violations of federal law — Mollohan is still the Chairman of the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.  That subcommittee, according to Cong. Mollohan’s own website, “funds the departments of Justice and Commerce.”

So let’s get this straight: The highest-level legislator responsible for funding the Justice Department is himself the subject of a very serious Justice Department investigation. Was there ever a bigger conflict of interest?

As texasrabble points out:

For over three years, the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating West Virginia Congressman

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Rangel’s Hissy Fit Response to WSJ Editorial

Rangel photoIn a letter to the editor, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel responds today to the Wall Street Journal’s Monday editorial. He writes:

Your July 27 editorial “Morality and Charlie Rangel’s Taxes” insulted me in an attempt to undermine my work on health-care reform legislation. But your slurs can’t change the fact that the Ways and Means Committee, which I chair, has already succeeded in negotiating and passing its portion of the health-care bill without a hint of the rancor you’ve resorted to in your mean-spirited editorial attack. (emphasis ours)

Rangel’s indignation in the wake of his own admissions of failing to pay his taxes is the clearest evidence yet that he is divorced from political reality, and will become an increasing liability for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.

He whines on:

Your editorial said more about your journalistic practices than it did about the issues under investigation in

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