Tag Archives | Congress

Former Congressman’s Federal Corruption Trial Begins

A leading watchdog group named Renzi, above, as one of the top 20 most corrupt congressmen for three straight years. (Photo: Wikipedia)

A leading watchdog group named Renzi, above, as one of the top 20 most corrupt congressmen for three straight years. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Opening arguments in the Tucson trial of former Arizona Representative Rick Renzi (R-AZ) began Wednesday with federal prosecution characterizing Renzi as having engaged in “lying and stealing … taking advantage of people” and having “sold out his office.” Meanwhile Renzi counsel Kelly Kramer contended that his client “didn’t extort anybody … solicit any bribes” or “defraud anyone.” Charged with 32 counts of conspiracy, fraud and extortion, if convicted the three-term former congressman from Arizona’s 1st District could face up to 400 years of prison.

Dennis Wagner writes at The Arizona Republic:

In 2005 Resolution Copper Mining wanted surface rights to an ore-laden national forest area near [the town of] Superior. Another investment group involving former Gov. Bruce Babbitt [(D)] was seeking to trade private conservation land for potential development properties owned by the government near Phoenix.

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CISPA Cybersurveillance Bill Passes In House Of Representatives

CISPAHere’s crossing your fingers that Obama stands strong on his threat to veto if the bill make it through the U.S. Senate. Via CNET on Thursday:

By a 288-127 vote today, the House adopted the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA. CISPA would authorize e-mail and Internet providers to share confidential information with the federal government.

The odds of a Democrat-controlled Senate the approving legislation opposed by President Obama are slim, but today’s vote could increase pressure for some sort of legislation this year.

CISPA is “so important to our national security” that it must be adopted, said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who authored CISPA and heads the House Intelligence Committee.

CISPA is controversial because it overrules all existing laws by saying “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” including privacy policies and wiretap laws, companies may share cybersecurity-related information “with any other entity, including the federal government.”

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Pres Obama Signs Bill Killing Anti-Corruption, Pro-Transparency STOCK Act Provisions

via Daily Kos

Obama-Corruption

…yesterday, President Obama completed this rope-a-dope deception by signing this new bill, which stripped key provisions from the STOCK Act and rolled back a lot of the progress that the original bill made in promoting transparency and open government. The bill was signed without any cameras or fanfare, which is in stark contrast to the very public signing of the actual STOCK Act. It seems President Obama was glad to parade around the signing of the pro-transparency bill, but was not so open about his reversal of the most important parts of it a year later! Open Secrets describes the key provisions stripped out of the bill and labels this action “A reversal of the STOCK Act”:

The elements of the STOCK Act that were removed include:

Creation of searchable, sortable disclosure of the information contained in reports even for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates.

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Republican Roy Blunt Revealed As Senator Who Snuck ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Into Spending Bill

How Monsanto wrote its fondest wishes into law. Mother Jones reveals:

A recent Senate bill came with a nice bonus for the GMO industry: a rider, wholly unrelated to the underlying bill, that compels the USDA to ignore federal court decisions that block the agency’s approvals of new GM crops. Such a provision is [very] important to Monsanto and its few peers in the GMO seed industry.

Which senator pushed the rider into the bill? No one stepped forward to claim credit. But since then, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has revealed to Politico that he’s the responsible party. Blunt even told reporteer David Rogers that he “worked with” Monsanto to craft the rider. The admission shines a light on Blunt’s ties to Monsanto, whose office is located in the senator’s home state.

Blunt’s connections to lobbyists extend to his family. His wife, Abigail Blunt, serves as head of US government affairs for the processed food giant Kraft.

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Congressmen Say Their Own Personal Debt is OK, but not Government Debt

Flickr user: Images_of_Money (CC)

Ah, “elected” government, where hypocrites are paid to advocate for causes they may or may not even agree with, and legislate rules that they themselves don’t follow. And apropos of budget hysteria and economic terrorism being wrought against popular public programs, the trumped-up fears are not only false (the debt crisis is imaginary, and only 6% of the country is aware that the deficit is actually falling) but it’s no surprise to anyone that the ‘debt-fixing’ warriors don’t have the same view of their own debt as they do of the country’s, or yours.

As Josh Israel of ProPublica points out, fourteen of the most vitriolic enemies of vital programs themselves live with the personal irresponsibility of private debt (to the tune of millions).

These hypocrites include:

  • House Budget Committee Member Tom Rice (R-SC):Wrote: “At a time when hardworking American families are living off of a budget, the federal government should be no different.
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The Worst Do-Nothing Congress Since the 1940s

The 112th Congress, which opened on January 3, 2011 and ended January 3, 2013, was not only one of the most unpopular in history (less popular, in fact, than cockroaches, traffic jams and Nickelback), but it was also one of the laziest.

Perhaps lazy isn’t the right word… Obstructionist? Divided? Constipated! That’s the word I was looking for. The current US Congress would rather lie in a pool of its own partisan shit than stand for principled progress for the American people, who used to be their constituency some thirty years ago.

Of the more than 3,900 bills introduced, by the end of the year only 238 had been adopted, a passage rate around 6%.

From David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff from AllGov:

It is worth noting that 32 of the successful bills involved the naming of post offices and other buildings, while many others were of similar import.

Only 61 real bills went to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing, and he signed them all.
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