After hiring Jack Abramoff, tribal clients gave less to Democrats and more — 135 percent more — to Republicans. This is not a bipartisan scandal.
ThinkProgress launched last year on February 2 with real-time rapid response to the State of the Union address.
Next week, we’ll mark our first full year on the Internets with several events around this year’s State of the Union. Here’s the schedule — hope you’ll tune in:
1) Monday morning — SOTU Prebuttal: The Progress Report — our daily e-newsletter — will feature a special State of the Union prebuttal edition. We’ll tell you what Bush is going to say, and what you need to know. (Not a subscriber? Enter your email address at the top of the screen.)
2) Tuesday, 8 PM ET — Live Pre-SOTU Webcast: We’re teaming up with Air America’s Majority Report for a panel previewing Bush’s speech. You can listen in on Air America, or watch the video webcast live on ThinkProgress.
Sam Seder, Air America
Duncan Black (Atrios), Eschaton
Chris Bowers, MyDD.com
Anna Greenberg, V.P., Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
John Halpin, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Matthew Kerbel, Editor, Get This Party Started
Judd Legum, Editor, ThinkProgress
John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
Amy Sullivan, Editor, The Washington Monthly
3) Tuesday, 9 PM ET — SOTU Live-Blogging: Check ThinkProgress for real-time research-intensive rapid response to the State of the Union address.
4) Tuesday, 10 PM ET — ThinkProgress Radio: A live two-hour SOTU wrap-up featuring Judd, Faiz, and Nico from ThinkProgress, broadcast nationally on Sirius satellite radio and on several terrestrial stations (we’ll have a full list on Tuesday).
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) has been suffering from a debilitating case of amnesia about his leadership of the K Street Project and his close ties to Jack Abramoff.
I had absolutely nothing to do — never met, never talked, never coordinated, never did anything — with Grover Norquist and the — quote — K Street Project.
But the connection between Santorum, Norquist, and the K Street Project is in the public record. In 2002, Norquist described meeting with the K Street Project:
He [Santorum] has gotten me in to talk to all those guys [in the K Street Project].
At the time, Santorum even admitted that he “allowed Norquist to speak to the group.”
Santorum’s amnesia is getting so bad, it may be time for Senator Frist, M.D., to step in. Maybe he’ll conduct one of his famous video diagnoses using this 2005 tape of Santorum and Norquist (who, of course, have “never met”):
Next Tuesday, President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address. If his previous speeches are any guide, he’ll fill his speech with promises to support the troops:
2002: “Our men and women in uniform deserve the best weapons, the best equipment, the best training — and they also deserve another pay raise. “¦ Whatever it costs to defend our country, we will pay.”
2004: “[M]y administration, and this Congress, will give you the resources you need to fight and win the war on terror.”
2005: “During this time of war, we must continue to support our military and give them the tools for victory.”
While it is quick with rhetorical support, the Bush administration has repeatedly refused to take the actions necessary to provide the troops the resources they need. The latest example comes from the Army Times, which reports that the Pentagon is currently working on a proposal to triple the costs of the military health insurance program (Tricare):
Increases would be substantial “” as much as $1,200 more a year by 2009 “” with no end in sight because the plan calls for annual rate hikes in 2010 and beyond that would match inflation.
Steve Strobridge, government relations director for the Military Officers Association of America, said it best:
In the middle of a war, with troops and families vastly overstressed, recruiting already in the toilet, and retention at risk, the Defense Department wants to pay for weapons by cutting manpower and trying to cut career military benefits by $1,000 a year or more? That’s just flat unconscionable.
More soldiers have been taken off the battlefield in Iraq by injuries and illnesses than by enemy fire. An increase in health care costs would be a great burden for these soldiers. Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer recently wrote to President Bush demanding that he disavow the program.
You can help. Already, more than 22,000 members of the Military Officers Association of America have written Congress opposing the initiative. Contact House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and tell them what you think about Bush’s proposed policy.
Stephen Colbert will host this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner.
President Bush, 1/6/06:
The American economy heads into 2006 with a full head of steam.
Bloomberg News, today:
The U.S. economy limped into 2006, growing at slower-than-expected 1.1 percent pace in the fourth quarter as consumers spent at the slowest pace since 2001 and corporations limited equipment purchases.
Yesterday, Today show anchor Katie Couric falsely claimed that “Democrats took money from Jack Abramoff.” Challenged on her facts, Couric said she “would look into that and clarify that for our viewers.”
Returning to the topic this morning, NBC’s Matt Lauer and Tim Russert both reiterated the right-wing talking point that the Abramoff scandal is bipartisan.
LAUER: Katie pressed him [Howard Dean] on that and we did some research. We went to the Center for Responsive Politics and found out that technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct. But here’s what we found. That 66 percent of the money in this situation went to Republicans, but 34 percent of the money — not from Abramoff, but from his associates and clients — went to Democrats. So, can Democrats wash their hands of this?
RUSSERT: No, they will say it is a primarily a Republican scandal because the personal money of Abramoff went only to Republicans. But Matt, the issue is broad and wide. Democrats also understand that they accept trips from lobbyists and meals and so forth, and that’s why in order to reform all this, it has to be a bipartisan approach. But Democrats get raging mad when you suggest this is a bipartisan scandal.
Matt Lauer doesn’t get it: Katie Couric’s claim was completely wrong. It simply isn’t true that Democrats received money from Jack Abramoff, and there is nothing “technical” about it.
Moreover, Tim Russert’s response to Lauer was misleading. Prominent Democrats haven’t denied that corruption is widespread in Washington. They acknowledge that ethical improprieties — such as the lobbyist-funded trips that Russert mentions — are a bipartisan problem. But they are right to get “raging mad when you suggest this is a bipartisan scandal,” because the Abramoff scandal is not bipartisan. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), the Democratic “point man” on lobbying reform, summed it up best:
None of us claim that Democrats have a monopoly on virtue. … Although Democrats are certainly not without sin, Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, the K Street Project “” those are Republican sins and Republican sins alone.
Full transcript below: Read more
“Our government is not corrupt, lobbyists are not bribing people, and members of Congress are not being bought for campaign contributions,” says Paul Miller, head of the American League of Lobbyists. Well that pretty much settles it.
The [Washington Post-ABC News] survey found that three in four–76 percent–of all Americans said Bush should disclose contacts between aides and Abramoff while 18 percent disagreed.
Two in three Republicans joined with eight in 10 Democrats and political independents in favoring disclosure, according to the poll.
It’s day 22 of the White House stonewall. Time to come clean.