The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Congressional corruption: a page from the How To guide...

In preparing a list under the heading Tom DeLay as Majority Leader: Pros and Cons, in the Pro column one would have to enter the superlative copy he provides to Big Media and bloggers alike [1]; and the fact that he is a constant, inescapable reminder of the truth of Lord Acton's aphorism to the effect that power corrupts.

But, of course, the system was crooked long before he ever arrived in the House, and will continue to be so long after he returns to Texas. (Or perhaps he will be looking for a country without extradition treaties...)

Law prof Jonathan Turley, in a distressingly short piece in the LA Times spills one or two beans on how it's done. (His tone is deliciously adult: definitely a member of the reality-based community!)

So (emphasis mine),
The most cherished loophole concerns stock interests. The House rules are a model of disinformation on what constitutes conflict when it comes to stocks. They specifically prohibit a member from accepting any outside income above 15% of his or her salary. However, outside income is defined to exclude investment income from stock. The result is that members routinely hold stock in companies that are directly affected by their committees or that directly benefit from their legislation. Members have repeatedly refused demands that they establish a rule requiring them to set up blind trusts for investments or to recuse themselves in situations where they stand to gain — rules already in place for other government employees.

As I described on July 27, Tom DeLay's predecessor as Congressional Texan Satan, Lyndon Johnson, had a rather different scam: abusing his position to lean on the FCC to 'help' him to buy up KTBC Austin on the cheap, and keep out competitors for years.

He wasn't the only member of Congress to have his own [2] radio station, either, I believe.

  1. A sort of Denry Machin, only evil.

  2. Technically, Lady Bird bought WTBC.

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