Monday, October 16, 2006

Reid abuses campaign donor's cash 

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he lives in an upscale condominium. Federal election law bars candidates from converting political donations for personal use.

Questioned about the campaign expenditures by The Associated Press, Reid's office said Monday he was personally reimbursing his campaign for $3,300 in donations he had directed to the staff holiday fund at his residence.

I didn't get too far out on the Reid land story, because I wasn't wholly convinced there was much there. Transfers of assets to LLCs and partnerships happen all the time - as do clerical errors.

But this seems easy enough to understand.

Splash, out


As long as the media has decided to do Corruption-palooza as this year's election theme...

I find the calls for Kurt Weldon's head to be pretty amusing. His daughter is a lobbyist which, we're told, comprises the cardinal sin of giving the appearance of corruption. Thus our good friends on the left side of the aisle think he needs to go, the sooner the better.

Ironically enough, St. Harry of Reid ("I don't see anything wrong with those land deals. Maybe somebody can elighten me." - Tim F., Balloon Juice) has a couple kids who work as lobbyists as well. Tom Daschle's wife Linda was also a top lobbyists, and had very big clients with matters before the senate on a regular basis.

I believe congressional corruption is a bipartisan sport, and I try to not get too terribly exercised over it. For our friends on the left, who are apparently unaware of the existence of William Jefferson or Harry Reid, this isn't the case. More astonishing of their ignorance of the corruption in their own ranks, however, is their ignorance of Shakespeare:

There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petar: and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.

I suspect AG Gonzales has this passage framed on the wall in his office, and thinks about it often when he meets with the FBI agents running public corruption cases against Foley, Denny "Congressional Privilege" Hastert, Willie Jefferson and probably now Harry Reid.

The FBI breaking the Weldon news this week indicates that they are pissed with Congressional arrogance and willingness to cover up each other's corruption. I read the FBI's actions as a warning shot to Congress - 'you want to assert non-existent privileges and a right to be corrupt, and threaten us with investigations and budget cuts? Okay. We can play. Let's see who runs out of ammo first."

Contrary to public opinion, I think Bush and Rove do have a plan if the Dems win in November: it's to keep lancing and squeezing the boils of corruption on the hill until only blood runs out and the patient is screaming. Two (branches) can play the investigations game... Washington will be an interesting place over the next two years regardless of who wins.
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