Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Monday, December 29, 2003  

I expected the accusations by Nick Smith of Republican bribery to die, along with accusations of all other Republican corruption. And while they have mostly, an article last week in the Washington Post revived the issue with new allegations, and they were repeated again today in the Arkansas News. From the Post piece:

About 20 Republican congressmen -- all fiscal conservatives -- gathered nervously in a back room at the Hunan Dynasty restaurant on Capitol Hill on Nov. 21, trying to shore up their resolve to defy President Bush. It was the night of the big vote on the Bush administration's Medicare prescription drug bill, which they had concluded was too costly, and they began swapping tales about the intense lobbying bearing down on them....

But the most dramatic account was given by Rep. Nick Smith (Mich.), who is to retire next year and hopes his son will succeed him. According to two other congressmen who were present, Smith told the gathering that House Republican leaders had promised substantial financial and political support for his son's campaign if Smith voted yes. Smith added that his son, in a telephone call, had urged him to vote his conscience, and with the support of dissident colleagues, Smith stuck to his no vote.

Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.), who was present at the dinner, recalled Smith saying it was "people from leadership" who had offered the money. He said Smith did not say who it was, but he assumed it was someone who controlled a "large leadership PAC, who can raise a hundred thousand dollars by hosting a few fundraisers."

"I think something happened," Gutknecht said. "If it happened, then somebody in the leadership is guilty of at least gross stupidity. . . . Whoever made that comment should resign."

"It's all going to be just as Nick said," said Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.). "When you see people making more than a million dollars a year on K Street, there is just too much money in the process."

Of course, the coverage happened over the holidays, when a minimum of people were reading about it (including me). So I guess I shouldn't expect it to exactly set the world on fire. You'd think some ambitious reporter who wanted to become the next Bernstein would dig around and find out who offered the bribe. That'd find its way on to the cover of the papers.

posted by Jeff | 9:06 AM |
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