Culture of Corruption:
Former congressman Tom Delay had his K-Street Project in place, the Democrats were “irrelevant” to Delay, and Mike R was part of it:
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Blunt's deputy whip, said he meets regularly with the lobbying community and, as different bills come up, "we go over lists to see who knows this member, how can we get that person feeling more comfortable, can we get him more information." These drives are conducted "on bills that are big -- tax, energy, bankruptcy, class action, tort reform. The whole world swoops in," Rogers said. For each bill, a steering committee is created that "hands out assignments, coordinates activities."
Trading votes for cash is not new in politics, but in the last three years the confluence of Leadership PACs and lobbyists hit a new plateau. One lobbyist was quoted in a PAC management software program as a testimonial:
"I use the Pontecchio Bridges system to administer more than thirty campaign PAC's for our clients. It does everything I need and yet it really is the service and support we get from the Pontecchio staff that sets them apart from other vendors I have worked with. We're quite pleased." Barbara W. Bonfiglio - Williams & Jensen”.Mark Valente a Republican fundraiser and lobbyist was treasurer for up to 15 Republican Leadership PACs including the MIKE R fund. As a result of ties to “Culture Club” leaders like Tom Delay, and Jack Abramoff, the era of lobbyist as PAC Treasurer has diminished dramatically. Mark Valente stepped down in July and was replaced by Robert Carlin as treasurer. Barbara Bonfiglio stepped down as a principle for Williams & Jensen, and is out of the PAC business altogether.
Between Barbara Bonfiglio and Mark Valente, it appears a lot of money passed between the Leadership PACs they represented. Getting that “mojo” back again will be more difficult.
Submitting statements called "Extensions of Remarks" for inclusion in Congressional Record like this one submitted June 8th probably won't go unnoticed like they used to:
“Mr. Speaker, on the legislative day of May 19, 2006 the House voted on a procedural motion to H.R. 5385, the Fiscal 2007 Military Construction-VA Appropriations Act. On House rollcall vote No. 173, I was unavoidably detained. Had I been present, I would have voted ``aye.''
Bills like the “National Uniformity for Food Act”, won’t get out of committee without substantial changes.
Mike R has developed through his votes quite a record. It will be interesting to compare his previous votes and positions with his statements in the next two years. The word “flip-flop” comes to mind. Mr. Rogers positions are evolving and the new congress hasn’t convened yet.
On the bright side for Mike R, a number of things are still in place:
- Moneyed interests looking for legislative favors;
- Mark Valente is still raising money for Republican interests and candidates;
- Former Delay associates Minority Leader John ‘Tobacco’ Boehner, House Minority Whip Roy ‘Delay-lite’ Blount, and Minority Senior Chief Deputy Whip Eric 'Auction Block' Cantor still represent “business as usual” as far as K-Street is concerned;
- Mike Rogers still has over $360 K in his campaign fund although his Mike R fund is depleted at this point;
- and Mike R can probably count on the continued support of the Gannett owned publishers like the Lansing State Journal, the Daily Press and Argus, The Oakland Press, and the Hometown papers, including the Observer/Eccentric chain.
But we will be watching Mike R, and that’s a good thing.
There are only 695 days until the next General Election.