Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lawmakers return Abramoff money;

DeLay money should get same treatment

The Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal has members of Congress "scrambling" to return contributions from the powerful lobbyist, who, it appears, is about to start talking as part of a plea bargain.

The AP reports:
Lawmakers Hasten to Return Abramoff Gifts

WASHINGTON (AP) - Not since the 1992 House banking scandal that led to the retirement or ouster of 77 lawmakers has a corruption probe like the one involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff struck fear in so many hearts on Capitol Hill.

Some lawmakers - Republican Sen. Sam Brownback became the latest - are scrambling to return or give away campaign donations, while others are the target of ethics complaints back in their home states by their political foes.
Those who took money from Abramoff are saying, "Gee, it's already spent" or "That money is long gone, so I can't return it" -- the Mark Green defense about why he won't give back about $30,000 in tainted money he's received from Tom DeLay's political action committee. Paul Ryan's made a lot of excuses about his $25,000 from DeLay, too.

Once again, the return of Abamoff money, even if it was given in past campaigns, demonstrates that "the money is spent" excuse is bogus.

Green and Ryan ought to do the right thing now and give DeLay back his $55,000, not wait until he makes his deal and starts to sing.


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