Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Daddy Blunt - Top Thirteen Most Corrupt

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington (CREW) released yesterday a 93 page report on the thirteen most corrupt members of Congress. The list includes both Democrats and Republicans - this is not a partisan effort. Missourians can be proud that one of their own made the cut:
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is a fifth-term Member of Congress, representing the 7th district of Missouri. In 1999, two years after taking office, Rep. Blunt was handpicked by then-Whip DeLay to serve as Chief Deputy Whip, and Rep. Blunt assumed the role of Whip in 2003, when DeLay became the Majority Leader. Rep. Blunt’s ethics issues stem from his misuse of his position for the benefit of his family.

Legislative Assistance to Family Members

Legislative Assistance for Philip Morris

In 2003, Rep. Blunt divorced his wife of 31 years to marry Philip Morris (now Altria) lobbyist Abigail Perlman. Before it was known publicly that Rep. Blunt and Ms. Perlman were dating – and only hours after Rep. Blunt assumed the role of Majority Whip – he tried to secretly insert a provision into Homeland Security legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris, at the expense of competitors.

In addition, Rep. Blunt’s son Andrew lobbies on behalf of Philip Morris, a major client he picked up only four years out of law school. Notably, Altria is Rep. Blunt’s largest campaign contributor, having donated more than $270,000 to political committees tied to him.

Legislative Assistance for United Parcel Service, Inc. and FedEx Corp.

In 2003, Rep. Blunt also helped his lobbyist son Andrew by inserting a provision into the $79 billion emergency appropriation for the war in Iraq to benefit U.S. shippers like United Parcel Service, Inc. and FedEx Corp. The provision required that military cargo be carried only by companies with no more than 25% foreign ownership. UPS and FedEx were seeking to block the expansion of a foreign-owned rival’s U.S. operations. Andrew Blunt lobbies on behalf of UPS in Missouri, and UPS and FedEx have contributed at least $58,000 to Rep. Blunt since 2001.

Members of the House are prohibited from "taking any official actions for the prospect of personal gain for themselves or anyone else." 5 CFR §2635.702(a). By pushing for legislation that would benefit Philip Morris and UPS, and, as a consequence, his then-girlfriend and his son, Rep. Blunt may have violated this provision.

Federal law also prohibits public officials from directly or indirectly demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting or agreeing to receive or accept anything of value in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act. If Rep. Blunt accepted campaign contributions from Philip Morris, FedEx or UPS in exchange for legislative assistance, he may have violated the bribery statute.

Matt Blunt’s Political Campaigns

Family connections have also helped Rep. Blunt’s son, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, who received campaign contributions from nearly three dozen influential Missouri lobbyists and lawyers when he ran for governor of Missouri in 2004, half of whom had provided financial support to his father.

In 2000, when Matt Blunt was running for Secretary of State, Rep. Blunt was involved in an apparent scheme to funnel money through a local party committee into Matt Blunt’s campaign committee. Committees tied to Rep. Blunt contributed $90,000 to the 7th District Congressional Republican Committee which, in turn, contributed $76,000 to Matt Blunt’s campaign committee. In addition, Altria – the company for which Blunt’s wife is the top lobbyist – made a $24,000 contribution to Matt Blunt’s campaign, and a $100,000 contribution to the 7th District Congressional Republican Committee.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct should investigate these campaign funding schemes to determine whether Rep. Blunt violated the law by improperly using his political connections to fill the coffers of his son’s campaign chest.

Moreover, Rule 23 of the House Ethics Manual requires all members of the House to conduct themselves "at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House." The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct should investigate the various schemes used by Rep. Blunt and his son to fund his son’s campaign to determine whether or not they reflect creditably on his position in the House.

Legislative Assistance for Jack Abramoff’s Client

Rep. Blunt and his staff have close connections to uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is the subject of criminal and congressional probes. In June 2003, Mr. Abramoff persuaded Majority Leader Tom DeLay to organize a letter, co-signed by Speaker Hastert, Whip Roy Blunt, and Deputy Whip Eric Cantor, that endorsed a view of gambling law benefitting Mr. Abramoff’s client, the Louisiana Coushatta, by blocking gambling competition by another tribe. Mr. Abramoff has donated $8,500 to Rep. Blunt’s leadership PAC, Rely on Your Beliefs.

If, as it appears, Rep. Blunt was accepting campaign contributions from Mr. Abramoff in exchange for using his official position so support a view of gambling law that would benefit Mr. Abramoff’s client, he would be in violation of the law.

Trip to Korea

Rep. Blunt attended a luncheon in Seoul in January 2002, that was paid for by the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council (KORUSEC), a registered foreign agent. House Rules provide that a Member, officer or employee may not accept travel expenses from a foreign agent. The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct should investigate whether Rep. Blunt violated this prohibition by accepting reimbursement for travel from KORUSEC.
I wonder how the so-called "values voters" feel about the scumbag they selected.


Blogger Brian Stayton said...

Wow. I knew he was scum -- now I know why.

9/27/2005 10:12 PM  
Blogger kahunah said...

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is made up of the following members:

Stephanie Tubbs Jones – Attorney
Gene Green – Attorney
Lucille Roybal-Allard – Fundraiser, no business experience, Career Politician
Mike Doyle – No non political job, Career Politician
William Delahunt – Attorney
Doc Hastings – Career Politician
Jo Bonner – Career Politician, Assistant to Roy Blunt
Gresham Barrett – Citadel Graduate, Former Military – Probably a good guy
John Kline – Retired USMC, Probably a good guy
Michael McCaul – Attorney, Assistant to Roy Blunt

John Kline and Gresham Barrett would me my pick for members that would want to do something about Roy Blunt. I doubt that you will get any other members to act.

7/14/2007 10:01 AM  

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