Different Day, Same Republican Hypocrisy

U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, Florida, has a Delay Problem. While he claims a trip to Ireland was not paid for by lobbyists, he also says it doesn’t matter because the House ethics committee approved the trip. Is that like saying your dog never bit your neighbor and the neighbor had it coming anyway?

Palm Beach Post

Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. is one of five members of Congress who reported taking a 2003 trip to Ireland paid by a lobbying organization in violation of House ethics rules…

He said he originally misidentified the sponsor of the trip and plans to file an amended report naming the lobbying firm’s parent company — which is not a lobbying organization — as the actual sponsor.

In any event, he noted, the House ethics committee “signed off” on the trip in advance…

Small wonder that Shaw is doing the DeLay Waltz. The two are pretty tight.

Shaw has received $30,000 from Armpac, a political action committee run by DeLay, during the past three elections, and last fall gave $5,000 to DeLay’s legal fund.

Shaw and four other members of the House and Senate made the trip. Back then, they said it was paid by registered lobbyists Kessler & Associates, which represents Microsoft, Delta, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and other Big Pharma manufacturers.

The lawmakers and several of their wives stayed at the 13th century Ashford Castle, converted into a luxury hotel on 350 acres on the banks of Lough Corrib…

Shaw said he did not know at the time that Kessler was a registered lobbying firm. He listed Kessler as the sponsor because the trip itinerary was on Kessler letterhead stationery, he said.

Shaw said he now believes the sponsor was Century Business Strategies, a Cleveland accounting and consulting firm that is Kessler’s parent company.

All of this might not be so bad, except for the egregious hypocrisy involved. Shaw, after all, is the guy waging war on 527s, which, like the Internets, Democrats figured out how to use first.

An earlier story in the Palm Beach Post reported on Shaw’s full-disclosure initiative.

Shaw and his fellow sponsors of a new bill — Reps. Mark Foley, R-Fla., and Phil English, R-Pa. — said their 527 Transparency Act of 2005 would let Americans know who is behind the political ads on their televisions…

The bill would also provide information to politicians about their supporters, Foley said…

“Let’s find out who is writing the checks.”

Yes, let’s. Especially before we fly off to Ireland with our palms extended.


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