Monday, January 16, 2006

Abramoff – Not the First, Certainly Not the Last

The smell up yonder in Washington finally got strong enough for somebody to kick someone's ass to do something, and what'ya know - they’ve found the perfect deep-pocketed, well-connected fall-guy, Jack Abramoff.

And hopefully, there are going to be some members of Congress and the Senate dragged into the light of day for not only dealing with Abramoff, but with other lobbyists who basically pave the streets with money, dealing in favors and perks for the powerful.

At the top of the list of tainted lawmakers, scurrying now like roaches when the light comes on, is none other than the man identified as “Number 1” in the investigation, Bob Ney, Republican Congressman from Ohio.

What most of the news media is swarming around is the Congressman’s position as Chairman of the House Administration Committee, all the while being led in that direction because of Ney’s handling of election reform issues the committee deals with. That, it seems, will always get the media’s attention because the news media believes it, not the average person, should steer elections and their results.

But under that umbrella, Ney’s far more profound impact on the average consumer will probably be kept out of the rain of publicity it so richly deserves.

As will his other cozy lobbyist pal, Wright Andrews of the Butera Andrews “law” firm, a lobbying powerhouse for many of the financial services firms and their associations. Saying Andrews is a Squaliforme promoter doesn’t do him, or them justice. Suffice it to say, nothing that Andrews and the Squaliformes don’t like will end up in a bill that comes out of Ney’s Financial Services Sub-committee.

In the guise of standardizing the patchwork of laws that have cropped up because of deliberate stalling of real lending reform efforts, Andrews has Ney promoting something called the “Responsible Lending Act,” which is little more than a nation-wide license for Squaliformes to supersede state laws that protect consumers.

Having stepped down (as in, ousted) from the House Administration Chairmanship, it isn’t yet clear whether or not Ney will get to keep his Chairmanship of the Financial Services Committee.

Hopefully, Andrews’ key to the kingdom and shepherd of the Squaliformes’ “Responsible Lending Act” will be forced from office and more appropriate pro-consumer legislation can find its way out of the stranglehold the industry has had on the committee.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean

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