Bush Expected to Sign Lobbying and Ethics 'Reform' Bill
By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Senior Editor
September 05, 2007
President Bush is expected to sign an ethics and lobbying reform bill that Democrats are hailing as "landmark" legislation. But one Republican senator has called the bill a "landmark betrayal."
Although President Bush has said the bill doesn't go far enough in curbing pork-barrel spending, he's expected to sign it into law when he returns from Australia, press reports quoted White House officials as saying.
... In an Aug. 2 news release, Sen. Coburn said the public will soon realize that the bill is a "sham.""The problem in Washington is not the lobbyists," Coburn said last month. "The problem is members of Congress who send earmarks to special interests, and even family members, in an effort to stay in office or feather their own nest."Among other things, Coburn complained that the legislation makes earmark disclosure voluntary, rather than mandatory.
"Sadly, private citizens, watchdog groups and congressional offices will have to continue to play hide and seek with congressional appropriators," Coburn said. "The public is tired of this game and will grow even more frustrated when it sees the same game played out later this year.
"Taxpayers should not have to wait on search warrants to find out how Congress is spending its money," Coburn said last month.Citizens Against Government Waste, a taxpayer watchdog group, noted that key provisions were stripped out of the bill in a "secret deal" this summer.
"For example, the Senate-passed bill would have blocked consideration of any bill in conference unless all earmarks were disclosed in advance. That provision no longer exists," CAGW said earlier this summer."The Senate-passed bill required Congress to create a searchable database of earmarks and make it available to taxpayers. The new deal requires Congress to establish such a database only 'if practicable.'
"CAGW also said it's a bad idea to give the Senate majority leader and certain committee chairmen responsibility for making sure lawmakers have met all the earmark disclosure requirements. "In many cases, these are the very people responsible for the glut of earmarks in the first place," CAGW said.
Critics also complain that the bill will allow lawmakers to promote projects in which they will benefit financially -- as long as others benefit from the earmark as well. (A lawmaker could easily overcome that hurdle by claiming benefits to "my district" or "my state," CAGW noted.)
"Taxpayers need to sit up and pay attention to this abuse of their money," said CAGW President Tom Schatz said earlier this summer. "This is a direct attack on their right to know how tax dollars are being spent and misspent.""If this bill becomes law, the country will have taken a step backward from accountability," Schatz said on July 30, when the compromise bill was announced.
... once again Bush illustrates the short-comings that have prevailed during his entire administration. Instead of fighting his political enemies with public communication and awareness campaigns, instead of making better, more conservative recommendations to a particular bill or effort - he unceremoniously gives in and abandons all conservative principles.
BDS, Bush Derangement Syndrome, is not a syndrome; it's an actual, factual disease. If you don't have it yet, you probably don't have a brain!