December 3, 2005
WORRIES ABOUT ETHICS
-- Worried Republican leaders from both the House and Senate cleared
out staffers Wednesday for the first night of their three-day
retreat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to discuss their anxiety
about the question of ethics.
at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., the GOP leaders
were reported to have discussed the repercussions of the scandal
revolving around the federal investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
They were said to have discussed how many of their colleagues
might find themselves linked to Abramoff, as has Rep. Bob Ney
of Ohio, the "mayor" of Capitol Hill as chairman of
the House Administration Committee.
took place two days after the Hill was shocked when Rep. Duke
Cunningham of California pleaded guilty to receiving $2.4 million
in bribes from defense contractors. However, Republicans feel
the likelihood is greater of exposing more Neys, challenged by
ethical questions, than of more Cunninghams, committing overtly
who was forced to resign as speaker of the House seven years ago,
is serious about seeking the Republican presidential nomination
of Gingrich have suggested that he encourages the presidential
talk mainly to boost book sales and promote lecture fees. In fact,
however, as he travels the country, Gingrich privately makes personal
pitches in seeking supporters for a presidential candidacy.
there is no sign of any success by Gingrich in signing up former
colleagues whom he has approached. He has generated more support
from former staffers, who are ready to work on his '08 campaign.
Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio, excoriated by Democrats for intimating
that Rep. John Murtha is a coward, faces a possible Republican
primary challenge next year from former Rep. Bob McEwen.
the usual veil of anonymity for freshman House members, Schmidt
was battered by Democrats for suggesting that decorated wounded
war veteran Murtha was a coward because he proposed withdrawal
from Iraq. Republican colleagues were furious with her for making
the well-liked Murtha the issue instead of the war.
Rep. Schmidt won the nomination last June 14 with 31 percent of
the vote in the 11-candidate field, trailed by McEwen's 25 percent.
In the Aug. 2 special election, she nearly lost the heavily Republican
counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, is getting high grades
as the low-profile sherpa guiding Judge Samuel Alito toward confirmation
as a Supreme Court justice.
replaced former Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie. After
serving as sherpa for Chief Justice John Roberts and later for
the aborted nomination of Harriet Miers, Gillespie wanted to return
to his Washington lobbying firm. Former Sen. Dan Coats was brought
in to help Miers and has stayed for Alito, while Gillespie is
providing part-time assistance for Alito. Former Sen. Fred Thompson,
who helped out with Roberts, is out of the sherpa business because
of acting commitments.
An indicator pointing to possible success for Alito was a favorable
reaction by Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson after meeting with Alito.
Nelson faces re-election next year in Nebraska, which was carried
two-to-one by President Bush last year.
Street Partnership, the leading moderate Republican organization
tilting the balance of power in the House, is expanding its staff
and looking for larger quarters in Washington.
analyst Jonathan Stevens has been hired by Main Street, and he
plans to take on two additional staffers to work with him. The
organization is also looking at expanded office space in the Firemen's
Insurance Co. building in the high-rent downtown district just
off Pennsylvania Ave.
headed by Rep. Michael Castle of Delaware, has recently blocked
passage of oil drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)
and extension of investment tax cuts.
2005 Creators Syndicate