Congressman Charles Taylor Votes for Sham Ethics Reform

{pic courtesy of Jim Jenkins}

In the immediate wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, Congressmen all over America ran about announcing how they were going to tackle tough ethics reforms. Instead of any meaningful changes on lobbyists' power in Congress, the House of Representatives narrowly passed HR4975 ("Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act"). This bill, called a "sham", "diluted snake oil", and an "insult to voters" was approved by a 217-213 vote.

The comprehensive ethics legislation promised earlier in the year has been supplanted with a toothless bill designed to give incumbents rhetorical cover going into the '06 election. Via Think Progress, here's a list of things the bill does not include:

"– No Restrictions on Lavish Gifts: Current gift limits will remain unchanged.

– No Ban on Free Exotic Trips: Lawmakers will still be able to accept lavish privately-funded trips from lobbyists.

– No Increase in Lobbyist Transparency: Lobbyists can continue to pay $25,000 or $50,000 for a campaign fundraiser, with no oversight.

– No Ethics Training for Members: Ethics training will be mandatory for all congressional staff, but not for members.

– No Revolving Door Slow-Down: A companion piece of legislation to the lobbying bill would require administration officials to wait at least two years after they leave office before becoming lobbyists. But there is no legislation to create a similar two-year waiting period for lawmakers.

– No Grassroots Lobbying Regulation: There are no disclosure rules “for professional lobbying firms that are retained to spend money on campaigns aimed at stimulating the public to lobby Congress, including multimillion dollar advertising campaigns.”

– No Enforcement of Existing Rules: The bill “includes no mechanism for enforcing and monitoring old and new rules.”

– Weak Earmark Reform: The bill restricts appropriations earmarks, but does not reform earmarks in tax and authorization bills."

Representative Charles Taylor (R-NC11) voted for this bill, which would not have restricted any of his Abramoff fundraising activities. Taylor is against any meaningful ethics reform, and his vote in favor of this watered-down sham is another blow to his shattered credibility. Congressman Taylor has said that his meeting with Team Abramoff at Jack Abramoff's "Signatures" restaurant was not a fundraiser, despite the fact that all in attendance donated to his campaign and the fact that he supported their desired legislation. If it wasn't a fundraiser, then was it a bribe? Either way, Taylor is not prepared to pass ethics legislation that would prevent or deter lobbyists from buying his vote.

Call Charles Taylor's office today to ask why Taylor supports all of the above pieces that were left out of HR4975 - (828) 251-1988. And when you see journalists cite this bill as proof that Taylor supports ethics reform, call them to let them know the facts. Charles Taylor is against meaningful ethics reform because it would mean he would have to change the way he does business.


Love the picture

“Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.” —Aristotle

this is really good stuff

Screwy, Keep it coming.

Did you happen to see this January editorial in the H-ville paper? Shuler probably framed it. [The site is down so I can't check the link to see if it's still good.]

In case the link is bad, I'll cut and paste my favorite parts:

As a freshman in Congress, U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor belonged to a small group of reform-minded back benchers led by the obscure Newt Gingrich, the minority whip.

The Gang of Seven in 1991 went on to embarrass the Democratic leadership over the House banking scandal and helped fuel the political tsunami that swept Republicans into power in 1994.

Taylor kept on getting re-elected, turning what had been one of North Carolina's most competitive congressional districts into a safe seat and earning a key leadership position on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

There is not much evidence of the stalwart reformer in Taylor these days.

And all this was BEFORE we got the news of the $30,000 fundraiser, and the extra $8,000 from G-T associates and Abramoff tribes, as well as the conniving, plotting, and schemeing e-mails. This editorial was prompted by his refusal to return the $2750 he was admitting to have gotten from Abramoff, as well as Taylor's answering every question about it by pointing to the Democrat's Abramoff donations:

The genuine indignation at beltway misbehavior served him well 15 years ago. In the context of his own superior attitude today, Taylor's half-hearted pass at reform might well make mountain constituents wonder whether he has become part of the problem and not part of the solution.


Sorry this comment is so long. I just couldn't help bringing it up after reading your excellent post. Please please please may these hits keep on comin'!