We blogged a few days ago that House Republicans were already starting to balk at proposed reforms in the wake of the Abramoff bribery scandal. Now, their newly elected majority leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), seems to be moving to complete denial.
In a news interview Sunday morning, Rep. Boehner restated his opposition to bans on lobbyist-funded travel for members of Congress, as well as to bans on the “earmark” provisions that members use to slip pork barrel spending into legislation. Saying that Congress has in the past “overreacted” to scandals, he made the following remarkable statement: “…taking actions to ban this and ban that, when there’s no appearance of a problem, there’s no foundation of a problem, I think, in fact, does not serve the institution well.”
No foundation of a problem? Not even an appearance of a problem?? Pardon our incredulity, but has the new majority leader been living on another planet for the past six months?
We’ve got the largest Congressional bribery scandal in decades, members of Congress resigning, being indicted and/or being investigated by the Justice Department, trips to lavish resorts and Scottish golf courses, lobbyists pleading guilty to criminal charges, a White House refusing to disclose its ties to the guilty lobbyists, Indian tribes being bilked out of tens of millions of dollars, major legislation (prescription drugs and energy) being written by and for corporate interests while members of Congress and their staff are writing legislation one day and turning around to take high-paying lobbyist jobs with the same firms that benefit the next… and Mr. Boehner does not even see a problem?
A more bullheaded example of arrogant obstructionism is hard to imagine, even for a member of Congress. Do you want to help the Republicans’ new majority leader adjust his ethical vision? Click here to send him an appropriate message.