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John Boehner, the newly elected house majority leader, says he’s a reformer – so we can rest easy, now, knowing that he’ll put a stop to all that corrupt coziness between congress and corporate lobbyists… right?
Sure, Pollyanna – until you take a hard squint at the man known as “Suntan Johnny.” This Ohio congress critter maintains a perpetual tan as a result of spending an uncommon amount of time on Florida beaches and golf courses. Lobbyists line up corporate jets to fly him to the Sunshine State for lavish beach parties with corporate donors.
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He’s tight with the K-Street crowd that has mired the Republicans in their present influence-peddling scandals. “Yes, I am cozy with lobbyists,” John candidly confides, “but I have never done anything unethical.” Oh? How about this? In the mid-nineties, Boehner was caught doling out checks from tobacco lobbyists to lawmakers on the house floor while tobacco legislation was being considered!
Or, how about this? His biggest campaign funder is SLM Corporation, the giant marketer of loans to college students. Guess who chairs the committee overseeing much of the legislation that benefits SLM? “Suntan Johnny,” that’s who! And guess who has been a frequent flyer on SLM’s jet, going golfing in Florida with the chairman of SLM’s board? Yep, that would be Mrs. Boehner’s boy, John.
And how about this? Supersleeze lobbyist Jack Abramoff funneled $30,000 to our new “reformer” – and Boehner has refused to return any of the tainted money, even as the Abramoff scandal keeps brewing. Here’s another one: Boehner even rents his Washington apartment from a lobbyist whose clients need legislative favors from Boehner’s committee.
This is Jim Hightower saying… Meanwhile, John is already backing off from any real reform, now saying there should be no outright ban on lobbyists paying for trips and gifts for lawmakers. With “Suntan Johnny,” it’s going to be business as usual.
“Boehner, too, has had dust-ups over lobbying,” Associated Press, February 3, 2006.
“Boehner will lead the GOP in House,” Austin American-Statesman, February 3, 2006.
“Boehner Suggests New Tack on Lobbying,” The Washington Post, February 4, 2006.
“Blunt, Boehner Share Broad Network of Lobbyist Ties With DeLay,” Bloomberg.com, January 10, 2006.
“Boehner can rely on K street cabinet,” The Hill News, February 5, 2006.
“Controversial Industries Have Backed Boehner,” Washington Post,” January 29, 2006.