This week was full of developments, in the wake of several ethic investigations and a massive effort on K Street to prepare for the new Congress. Among the top stories we followed:
- Congresswoman in deep “Waters” over contributions – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has recently been accused of penning legislation in favor of a firm whose lobbying arm paid her husband $15,000 in consulting fees. Waters was already knee-deep in an ethics scandal regarding her attempts to steer money into her husband’s bank.
- Jurors in the Kevin Ring ethics trial are having difficulty deciding whether or not Ring violated lobbying laws, specifically whether or not he intended corruption. The judge in the case has assisted with definitions, instructing jurors to further deliberations.
- Legislators in New Jersey are discussing whether or not lobbyists should be eligible for pension plans and health insurance. The State Assembly is set to vote on a bill to deny these benefits later this month, citing a new belief that lobbyists are not “genuine state employees.” With jurisdictions nationwide looking to cut spending, there is speculation as to whether or not this could become a national trend.
- Monday, Lobbyists testified in the ongoing money laundering trial of former Rep. Tom DeLay. Lobbyists for Bacardi and Reliant Energy admitted to $70,000 in donations to DeLay during his 2002 election campaign, but his lawyer claims these donations were simply “politics as usual.“