Dreier to lead anti-lobby reforms

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Seeking to recover their standing with voters in the wake of a lobbying scandal, House Republicans are considering a total ban on privately funded congressional trips, the lawmaker leading the reform effort said Wednesday. Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, said GOP leaders were “seriously considering” the need to eliminate all privately financed travel. “That would be a very strong statement. We want to be bold,” said Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., asked Dreier to come up with an overhaul of lobbying ethics rules after lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to felony charges involving his influence-peddling activities in Washington. With the House still off for its January recess, Dreier said it will be weeks before he comes up with definitive legislation. He said he also wanted to deal with the “revolving door” issue – lawmakers who become well-paid lobbyists after leaving office. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., co-sponsor of one of several lobbying ethics bills that have been introduced, said legislation must “deal with comprehensive top-to-bottom cleaning” that also includes greater transparency and better enforcement of the rules. Current congressional rules prohibit lobbyists from paying for travel for members of Congress and their staff. There have been incidents “which would clearly be seen as abuse of that,” Dreier said. Abramoff was cited for arranging lavish trips for members and their staff, including trips for former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to the Mariana Islands and to Scotland, where he played golf at St. Andrews. A total ban on privately funded travel is likely to meet some resistance from lawmakers accustomed to fact-finding trips arranged by think tanks and nonprofit organizations as an alternative to taxpayer-funded trips. “There’s a difference between a fact-finding trip that you do with the Aspen Institute and these trips funded by lobbyists and corporations where you do an hour of work and then play golf at St. Andrews all day,” said Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.last_img read more

adminDecember 29, 2019ldaufmLeave a Comment

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Iran leader calls Holocaust myth

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The Bush administration also said Ahmadinejad’s remarks showed why Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the comments “outrageous” and “certainly reprehensible.” “This is one more indication that Iran is headed off 180 degrees from the rest of the world,” McCormack said, taking care to note that “this isn’t the Iranian people who are headed off in a different direction from the rest of the world.” Iran and the Europeans are due to resume the U.S.-backed negotiations soon, possibly in late December, trying to find a compromise on reining in Tehran’s nuclear program and avoiding a confrontation. Washington says Iran is secretly trying to build warheads. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, and Ahmadinejad reiterated Wednesday that his regime refuses to give up key processes that can produce weapons-grade material as well as fuel for atomic reactors that generate electricity. TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s hard-line president lashed out with a new outburst at Israel on Wednesday, calling the Nazi Holocaust a “myth” used as a pretext for carving out a Jewish state in the heart of the Muslim world. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments drew quick condemnations from Israel, the United States and Europe, which warned he is hurting Iran’s position in talks aimed at resolving suspicions about his regime’s nuclear program. In unusually strong comments, a top European Union official said Iranians “do not have the president, or the regime, they deserve.” “It calls our attention to the real danger of that regime having an atomic bomb,” said the president of the EU’s administrative body, Jose Manuel Barroso. It was difficult to measure the impact that increasing anger over Ahmadinejad might have on the negotiations. The Europeans have not threatened to call off the talks, which they see as vital to a peaceful resolution of fears over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But Ahmadinejad’s words, which come as the top U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has said it is losing patience with Tehran, could lead Europe to take a tougher stance. So far, Ahmadinejad has appeared only to escalate his rhetoric in the face of widespread international criticism, suggesting he may be seeking to fire up supporters at home. Some allies warn he is isolating the country when it needs support for its nuclear program. But supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final word on all matters, has stood by the president, even calling this week for Palestinian militants to step up their fight to drive Israelis out of Jerusalem. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

adminDecember 25, 2019ldaufmLeave a Comment

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