Abramoff Scandal: GOP Calls Democrat Minority Leader Pelosi a Hypocrite
by Jim Kouri, CPP
In the wake of the breaking news story about powerful Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff's plea deal with the Department of Justice being played up by Democrats and the news media, Washington insiders and pundits are already guessing as to which political leaders in the US Congress will be named by Abramoff. As part of his plea agreement, Abramoff is expected to name names.
Already Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority Leader, is calling for investigations of key Republican leaders since Abramoff is known to favor Republican candidates in elections. However, according to journalist Sher Zieve writing in The Conservative Voice, there are known links between Abramoff and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Pelosi's counterpart.
According to the Washington Times, House Republicans called Pelosi a hypocrite for not demanding investigations into new ethics questions that have arisen about the travel of her fellow Democrats.
"She demanded an investigation into [Majority Leader] Tom DeLay, but hasn't said a word about these Democrats who have done the same thing," said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina Republican. "If she doesn't call for investigations into her fellow Democrats, then it's clear she's being a hypocrite."
GOP leaders are becoming suspicious over why she won't demand ethics or criminal investigations into Democratic Reps. Norm Dicks of Washington, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, all of whom face questions about accepting travel paid for by lobbyists. Thompson and Clyburn are believed linked to Jack Abramoff.
"As we expressed in earlier letters, Madame Leader, it appears more and more that your repeated calls for an investigation of Mr. DeLay are more driven by politics than by any real concern for the House rules," Mr. McHenry, with two other Republicans, wrote in a letter to Mrs. Pelosi, according to the Times.
Despite urging from Republicans, Mrs. Pelosi continues to refuse to call for any investigations of her Democratic colleagues. They also point to her own ethics problems involving $21,000.00.
"The Republicans are yet again attempting to muddy the waters to divert attention from their pattern of abusing of power," Pelosi spokesperson Jennifer Crider said.
Rep. Dicks claims that a trip he took to Miami this year was paid for by a defense lobbying firm without his knowledge. He said that when he discovered that The Spectrum Group had paid for some of the trip he paid the money back. But without an investigation, it's not clear what actually transpired.
According to an Associated Press story regarding Reps. Thompson and Clyburn, AP reported that they discovered documents showing that their travels in 1997 to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands had been paid for by the Washington lobbyist Abramoff.
According to the Washington Times, despite evidence showing that Mr. Abramoff paid for travel by Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican said he "never knowingly allowed any lobbyist to pay for his trips." Similarly, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Clyburn filed travel disclosure reports stating that a nonprofit organization paid for their trip and said they had no idea that Mr. Abramoff -- or his firm at the time, Preston Gates & Ellis LLP -- had footed the bill.
In addition to bills totaling $5,240 for Mr. Thompson's travel and $4,823 for Mr. Clyburn's, the lobbyists also paid for the travel of two DeLay aides, according to records obtained by AP.
Gregg Hilton, an official with the nonprofit listed on Mr. Thompson's and Mr. Clyburn's travel forms, told AP that the group never reimbursed the lobbyists. Mr. Hilton, who was on the trip, also said the lawmakers were never told that the now-defunct National Security Caucus Foundation would be footing the bills.
In an ABC interview Sunday, Mrs. Pelosi dismissed questions about travel by Democrats, telling interviewer George Stephanopoulos: "Do not fall into a Republican trap of equating technicalities on reporting, timing of reporting with not upholding an ethical standard of the House."
However, Republicans see the old double-standard in Washington politics and in the news media. If a Republican is accused, it becomes a media frenzy. If a Democrat is suspected, it's a mistake. Even Pelosi was forced to pay back $21,000.00 in her own ethics case.
"What is a "technicality" for her requires a full-scale investigation for others," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Carl Forti
Sources: Washington Times, Associated Press, NewsMax, The Conservative Voice
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.