Friday, October 14, 2005

I have an idea! Let's not investigate each other!

Rep. Schiff, informed us today that on the House ethics committee "Republicans and Democrats have agreed not to investigate each other." Is this true? If it is, it more or less negates the need for an ethics committee.

MoveOn also says that "It takes a complaint from just one member of Congress to get the process moving." They recommend signing ethics complaints against Rep. Cunningham and Rep. Ney. Two complaint forms in PDF format have been prepared by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. I'm sure you've received these forms from other constituents, but if not please let me know how to forward them to you.

Background information prepared by CREW is abvailable here:
Rep. Cunningham
Rep. Ney
Thanks very much.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -'s email:
Dear MoveOn member,

Republican Rep. Randy Cunningham is being investigated by federal authorities for accepting bribes from a defense contractor. But he's not being investigated in Congress, where the ethics committee could force him out of his seat. That's because the House ethics committee is deadlocked—Republicans and Democrats have agreed not to investigate each other.

Last week, Democrats stood up to Republican corruption on the House floor. Republicans had initially lost a vote on a new energy bill that amounted to a huge giveaway to oil companies, but they held open the vote until they could force some representatives to change their position. They ended up winning 212-210. When Democrats realized what was happening, they started yelling "Shame!" on the House floor. You can watch the video of chaos erupting here.

Now, Democrats have an opportunity to clean house. By signing ethics complaints against a few key Republicans like Rep. Cunningham, they can break the deadlock, get the ethics committee working again, and make sure that Republican representatives are held accountable for their actions. Your representative, Rep. Schiff, could be the signature that would get this process going.

Ask him to sign an ethics complaint today at:

It takes a complaint from just one member of Congress to get the process moving.
Republican corruption is one of the key reasons why Americans will vote for Democrats in 2006. But re-starting the ethics committee is also a good in its own right—it helps ensure that all representatives, Republican and Democrat, obey the rules and steer clear of slimy deals with lobbyists.

Democrats have been understandably wary of working with a Republican controlled ethics committee. But now Tom Delay has been indicted for money laundering. Bill Frist was subpoened by the SEC for possible insider trading. Karl Rove is implicated in a criminal investigation of who outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. It's clear to everyone there's an ethics crisis in Washington at the highest levels and America would be scrutinizing every move the ethics committee makes.

It's time for Democrats to "go big" against corruption, and breaking the "ethics stalemate" is one of the best ways to do that. Until it's broken, there is little incentive for members of Congress to obey ethics rules—they know they won't get investigated. This is how people like Tom DeLay managed to stay in power for so long.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, has prepared ethics complaints against two members of Congress—Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-CA) and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH). In order for an investigation to begin a member of the House of Representatives must sign the ethics complaint and forward it to the ethics committee in Congress.

Ask Rep. Schiff to do that now at:

Thanks for all you do.

–Tom, Eli, Rosalyn, Nita and the Political Action Team
Friday, October 14th, 2005
Just a thought, but I don't know that Americans will vote Democrat in 2006 because of Republican corruption. It's possible that most Americans are corrupt as well.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Miers' appointment is early for Trick or Treat at the White Haunted House

The more I learn, the less I want to know.

After reading the following email from, I'm mystified by Bush's appointment of Miers to the Supreme Court. I get the impression that, while in office, Bush hasn't learned anything about making controversial decisions that lower his approval rating. Why do you think that is? Because he believes that great men don't learn, they teach?

But, then again, this post by Hugo Zoom is even scarier than the email below.

Golly. Witches' hats, white sheets and life-size chessmen.

Hey kid, want some candy?

Dear MoveOn member,

Two days ago, President Bush nominated his personal lawyer and long-time friend Harriet Miers to Sandra Day O'Connor's crucial swing seat on the Supreme Court. With no judicial experience and an extremely thin public record, even leading right-wing pundits are calling her "transparently a crony"1 with "non-existent"2 qualifications.

President Bush has refused to release any documents from Miers' time in the White House,3 and claimed he could not "recall" any conversations with Miers about abortion over 10 years of friendship and legal service.4 The people deserve the facts.

Next week our senators will be home on recess, and will be looking closely at the local press for their constituents' reactions. This is a perfect time to write a letter-to-the-editor urging the Senate to demand real answers about Harriet Miers' views.

You can write and submit your letter online, and it only takes a few minutes. Please write one today:

Immediately after Miers' nomination, MoveOn members stepped up to try to fill the information void. In the last 48 hours we've collected nearly 5,000 facts about Harriet Miers' record, and we're working to get this information into the hands of the media and our partner organizations. But it's remarkable how, even after collecting nearly everything that's publicly available, Miers' position on major constitutional questions and her qualifications to be a judge are still almost completely unknown.

What is clear is the deep personal and professional connection shared by Harriet Miers and George W. Bush. Here's what some members have uncovered about their long relationship:

From David of Howell, MI:
When Miers was Bush's appointee to head the Texas State Lottery Commission, the lottery was accused by a former director of awarding multi-million dollar no-bid contracts to a technology firm represented by former Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes. Barnes has since said he helped Bush escape active duty in Vietnam, and the lottery director alleged that Barnes demanded (and under Miers received) the lucrative public contracts to keep quiet about Bush's military service.6
From Paula of San Mateo, CA:
As Governor, Bush signed a law blocking Texas consumers from collecting a $6 billion dollar judgment against car dealers for predatory lending and keeping secret kickbacks. The law firm Miers headed represented the auto dealers.7
From Nancy of Austin, TX:
Miers was hired as legal counsel on both Bush's gubanatorial campaigns. Among other things, her research was used to persuade a local judge to excuse then Governor Bush from jury duty, a civic task that would have forced him to disclose his 1976 arrest for drunken driving in Maine. He was then able to keep his arrest secret until late in the 2000 presidential campaign.8
From Stephen of Birmingham, AL:
Miers's personal friendship and allegiance to Bush has been cited for years in connection with her promotions, including to her highest post of White House Counsel.9
Cronyism on the Supreme Court is a serious threat to our democracy. In fact Alexander Hamilton specifically argued that the Senate should be empowered to confirm or reject judicial nominees in part to prevent the President from using the Court to reward friends and political allies.10

The call to reject cronyism and secrecy is bipartisan. As conservative columnist George F. Will put it today, "The president's "argument" for [Miers] amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons."11 We may have different reasons not to take Bush at his word, but we can all agree on the need for more information.

It's now up to us to make sure our senators demand that information and refuse to offer a lifetime appointment to a swing seat on the Supreme Court as an act of faith. If you write a letter-to-the-editor today, you can help make sure the media, your community and the Senate hear this message loud and clear.

Please write one today:

Thanks for all that you do,

Ben, Jennifer, Eli, Adam and the Political Action Team Wednesday, October 5th, 2005


1 Statement by Michelle Malkin, October 3rd, 2005

2 Statement by Patrick Buchanan, October 3rd, 2005

3 "Bush Seeks to Quell Criticism of Court Nominee from the Right," New York Times, 10/4/05

4 "Bush base rattled by court pick" Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/05/05

5 "Conservatives are wary over President's selection", The New York Times, 10/04/05

6 Texas Speaker Reportedly Helped Bush Get Into Guard" The Washington Post, 9/21/99

7 "What's the deal with Harriet Miers?" The Village Voice, 10/03/05,webmondo3,68426,2.html

8 "Miers ties to Bush include personal lawyer" Associated Press, 10/03/05

9 "Bush promotes Miers from staff to Counsel" The Washington Post 11/18/04

10 Federalist Papers #76 by Alexander Hamilton

11 "Can this nomination be justified?" George F. Will column in the Washington Post, 10/05/05