Thursday, February 09, 2006

Let's Lynch the Landlord, Man

Lynn Sweet, of your Chicago Sun-Times, reports that there is renewed GOP foot-dragging over ethics and lobbying reform legislation:
[I]n the House, the initial push by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) for speedy change has been slowed with the election of Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is not in a rush -- so far -- to put anything to a vote.

The fundamental role of lobbyists -- and whether Congress needs to crack down on itself when it comes to lawmakers accepting gifts and free trips and subsidized rides on private planes -- is only on the agenda because GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes in a still-unfolding scandal.
But Ms. Sweet doesn't tell us why the GOP's new leader has put the brakes on reforming the -- wait for it -- Republican Culture of Cronyism and Corruption.

For one reason why Boehner might be against cleaning house in D.C., we need to check out this article in the S-T.
House Majority Leader John Boehner rents a basement apartment from a lobbyist whose clients had an interest in legislation overseen or sponsored by Boehner, according to lobbying records.

Boehner (R-Ohio) pays $1,600 a month rent for the apartment owned by lobbyist John Milne and his wife, Debra Anderson ***

Lobbying records show that [Milne] represented Buca di Beppo and Parasole Restaurant Holdings Inc. -- both restaurant companies -- to lobby on the minimum wage, an issue handled by the Education and the Workforce Committee chaired by Boehner. The restaurant industry has opposed increases in the minimum wage.

Milne also represented the parent company, Buca Inc., to lobby for the Small Business Tax Fairness Act, which had provisions to speed up tax breaks for restaurant buildings. While the measure did not go through Boehner's committee, he was among the sponsors. The proposal for quicker depreciation is a major objective for the restaurant industry.
Although a spokesman assures us that the Congressman pays his landlord fair market value to rent the apartment, there was no word whether his landlord pays fair market value to rent the Congressman.

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