Primary Lessons

Posted By Jacob Laksin On June 10, 2010 @ 1:00 am In FrontPage | 2 Comments

As President Obama’s poll ratings tumble and the Democratic majority in Congress continues to post record disapproval numbers, some on the Left have consoled themselves with the thought that the growing grassroots hostility to incumbent candidates transcends party and ideology. In this exegesis, liberal and progressive discontents are just as wound up – and just as influential – as their conservative Tea Party counterparts. If this week’s primary election results proved anything, it’s that this reading of the nation’s political map won’t wash. While the Tea Parties continued to notch victories in pivotal primary races, the Left’s insurgents were rebuffed.

The most prominent example came from Arkansas, where embattled Senator Blanche Lincoln staved off a bruising challenge from her union-backed rival, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Lincoln drew Big Labor’s wrath for heresies like opposing “card check [1]” legislation, which would have eliminated secret ballots to facilitate union organizing. As payback, unions, aided by a battery of progressive political action groups, put their full political clout into the race, sponsoring Halter to the tune of $10 million. But while the lavishly funded challenge did force Lincoln into a runoff, the unions’ purchasing power came up short. As one agonized Obama White House official told Politico: “Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise.” Lincoln remains deeply vulnerable. Polls show she trails her Republican opponent John Boozman by some 25 points. But her defeat, if it comes, will be punishment for being too loyal to the Left’s agenda (Lincoln cast the decisive 60th vote to pass ObamaCare) rather than for straying too far from it.

Lest one dismiss Arkansas as a one-off from conservative country, liberal bastions proved no more receptive to left-wing insurgents. In California’s 36th district, far-Left candidate Marcy Winograd lost her second successive bid to oust Democratic centrist Jane Harman. Winograd, who styles herself as a “peace” activist, ran a campaign that sounded the full range of the angry Left’s talking points: Harman was variously portrayed as a corporate shill, a warmonger, and a traitor to the Left. An outspoken foe of Israel, Winograd even tried to capitalize on Harman’s pro-Israel record in the context of the recent clash between Israeli commandos and armed Turkish activists attempting to run Israel’s naval blockade. Winograd boasted [2] that as a sign of “solidarity” with the activists, her campaign had sent a Winograd for Congress T-Shirt that had been “worn on the flotilla.” As primary day neared, progressive blogs began trumpeting [3] Winograd as the new Joe Sestak – a true progressive who would oust the incumbent impostor. The hype proved just that, as Harman won by a comfortable 18-point [4] margin.

While primary challenges from the Left sputtered, Tea Party-backed conservatives scored several successes. Most prominently, Sharron Angle [5], until recently a relative unknown, rode the Tea Party movement’s support to victory in a crowded field for Nevada’s Republican nomination for the Senate. Although Tea Party spending to support Angle’s candidacy was limited compared to Big Labor’s efforts in Arkansas – the Tea Party political action committee spent just $550,000 to boost her name recognition – it was far more effective: From a 5 percent approval rating as recently as April, Angle went on to win the nomination. Tea Party-backed candidates also won [6] in Georgia, Maine and South Carolina.

It was not all glory for the Tea Party. In California and New Jersey, Tea Party favorites failed to break through. (A too-close-to-call race [7] between Tea Party candidate Anna Little and establishment rival Diana Gooch in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional district was one notable exception.) Even in defeat, though, there was encouraging news for the movement, as Tea Party candidates ran strongly in almost all races in which they were involved. At the very least, their generally strong showing indicated that despite their now-stale slogans of “change,” the Left is not nearly as energized, and not nearly the same force in primary races, as the surging conservative opposition.

Still, those determined to rain on the Tea Party’s parade ask a pertinent question: Can the movement replicate its strong success in primaries in general election races, where it must court a more ideologically diverse electorate? Democratic strategists and the mainstream media have professed glee over the prospect of Democratic incumbents facing candidates like Sharron Angle, whom they deem too far out of the mainstream. One Democratic strategist suggested [8] that Harry Reid would be “dancing in the streets” were Angle to win the GOP nomination. The Washington Post even did Reid the unsolicited favor of producing a list of allegedly damning quotes [9] that Reid could use to paint Angle as an extremist. But if early poll results are any guide, the Angle-Reid matchup won’t be the cakewalk that Democrats suppose. Indeed, a recent Mason-Dixon poll has Angle beating Reid by 44 percent to 41 percent. The Tea Party, it seems, is just getting started.

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The Fall of the Incumbents

The Fall of the Incumbents

Posted By Frontpagemag.com On May 19, 2010 @ 1:03 am In FrontPage | 5 Comments

For months now, speculation has been rife that the Tea Party movement and the grassroots revolt against big-government that it represents poses a real threat to political incumbents of both parties. Yesterday’s primary election results have transformed such speculation into political reality.

In Kentucky, the Tea-Party backed candidate, Rand Paul, the son of libertarian Texas Congressman Ron Paul, won a convincing victory over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Greyson. Greyson enjoyed the support of the GOP establishment, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConell, but Paul had the Tea Party insurgents on his side. Unapologetically embracing the Tea Partiers, Paul ran on a straightforward small-government platform, calling for a balanced federal budget, a reduced national debt, and an end to government bailouts and subsidies for private industries and interests. In the end, he won by a comfortable margin.

Rand Paul’s victory is only the latest example of the Tea Partiers successfully gate-crashing the official Republican camp. In Utah earlier this month, voters in the Republican nomination convention heeded the Tea Party movement’s urging to dump Sen. Bob Bennett. Dooming Bennett was his support for several big-government initiatives, most prominently the Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has also met with the wrath of the Tea Partiers, whose opposition forced him surrender the Republican mantle to Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio in favor of an independent run. Polls suggest he faces an uphill struggle.

While the Tea Parties have had their greatest impact on Republican primary races, Democrats have also born the brunt of the anti-incumbent backlash. In Pennsylvania last night, Republican defector Sen. Arlen Specter lost the state’s Democratic primary to two-term Rep. Joe Sestak, effectively ending his political career. Even in the absence of anti-incumbent sentiment, Specter’s was a tall order: He had to convince voters that his political conversion was a matter of principle rather than, as was apparent to all, pure political expedience. It was an obvious fiction that not even President Obama, who campaigned for Specter and even cut radio and television ads on his behalf, could make credible.

Even here, though, the Tea Party, or at least its brand of anti-Washington angst, made its presence felt. In his victory speech, Sestak sounded like nothing so much as a Tea Party candidate, as he hailed his win as a triumph “over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington, D.C.” Of course, it’s a bit rich for a Democrat to style himself as an opponent of Washington, where after all Democrats control both houses of Congress. But such is the national mood that even the party in charge must distance itself from any association with leadership.

Arlen Specter meanwhile is not the only political veteran on the Democratic side, however recent his affiliation, to find himself out of a job for too-close a connection with Washington’s failures. In West Virginia last week, 14-term Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan became the first House member in 2010 to lose a reelection bid. Although he lost to a fellow Democrat, key in Mollohan’s defeat was his support for the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. It is a sign of perilous times ahead for the party that, even in a Democratic primary, support for the Democratic administration’s signature legislative initiative has become a political death warrant.

Still, that does not yet make the Tea Party and its small-government vision kingmaker in political races. While the influence of the Tea Partiers has obviously been important, the usual primary season caveats apply. Primary elections tend to draw a more ideologically motivated cohort of voters, and it remains to be seen whether the Tea Party will be a significant factor in the fall’s elections races. And yet it is becoming increasingly implausible to claim, as many in the prestige media have, that the Tea Party and the backlash against big government are fringe phenomena. As Rand Paul declared in his victory speech last night: “I have a message from the Tea Party. We’ve come to take our government back.” They will soon have their chance.

Billboatd on I-75 At Lake City,Ga…

Billboatd on I-75 At Lake City,Ga…

 Where do we get one? The attached photo is of a billboard recently
established on I-75 just south of Lake City . A group gathered there today
to celebrate its unveiling. The cost of 10 months rental of the billboard
and doing the artwork was $6500. We feel that is a reasonable cost to reach
out to 1,000,000 vehicles per month and perhaps motivate their participation
in the electoral process to get our country on a sound footing.

The Left’s war on America

The Left’s war on America

Ann Kane

The leftist progressives continue to plot their strategies in a perpetual war of their own making.  They are on stage mocking America because of the health care takeover, while they have financial institution reform and amnesty for illegal aliens waiting in the wings.  News headlines and conservative pundits tell us the leftists drew a line in the sand when their puppet congressional representatives voted for health care reform.  They have declared war on the American people.  How will we respond?

Winston Churchill wrote about the reality of fighting for a just cause.

“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case.You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish, than to live as slaves.”

Obama removed a bust of Churchill from the White House upon his arrival last year, and sent it back to England whence it came.  Very chilling.

In our arsenal, we have many ways of counterattacking the left.  States are throwing lawsuits at Obamacare; Republicans in congress are using every means possible to repeal the legislation; and private conservative citizens are working doggedly to put like minded candidates into office in the fall. 

However, conservatives should not delude themselves into thinking that these responses alone will win this political war.  According to David Horowitz in his booklet The Art of Political War for Tea Parties, we have to know our enemy because “defining the opposition is the decisive move in all political war.”   We must understand how the America haters do battle.

Just listen to what progressives/tyrants say.  Remember, what they accuse conservatives of being, such as an angry mob, is who they are in reality.  Since they are so radical, and hateful of the good in society, they have to project their ill will onto others.  Hitler exemplified Freudian projection theory.  In speaking to the Reichstag in Berlin in 1942 about his disdain for Churchill, Hitler in fact described himself.

“He is the most bloodthirsty or amateurish strategist in history…For over 5 years this man has been chasing around Europe like a madman in search of something that he could set on fire. The gift Mr. Churchill possesses, is the gift to lie with a pious expression on his face and to distort the truth…His abnormal state of mind can only be explained as symptomatic of a paralytic disease or of a drunkard’s ravings.”

We cannot wait until November, we cannot wait for the courts to take action, and we cannot wait for others to do the right thing.  We must do the right thing now.  We must know we are at war, and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the good of our country.

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 165

  FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 165(Democrats in roman; Republicans in italic; Independents underlined)
      H R 3590      RECORDED VOTE      21-Mar-2010      10:49 PM
      QUESTION:  On Motion to Concur in Senate Amendments
      BILL TITLE: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

  Ayes Noes PRES NV
Democratic 219 34    
Republican   178    
Independent        
TOTALS 219 212    


—- AYES    219 —

Ackerman
Andrews
Baca
Baird
Baldwin
Bean
Becerra
Berkley
Berman
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Blumenauer
Boccieri
Boswell
Boyd
Brady (PA)
Braley (IA)
Brown, Corrine
Butterfield
Capps
Capuano
Cardoza
Carnahan
Carney
Carson (IN)
Castor (FL)
Chu
Clarke
Clay
Cleaver
Clyburn
Cohen
Connolly (VA)
Conyers
Cooper
Costa
Costello
Courtney
Crowley
Cuellar
Cummings
Dahlkemper
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
DeFazio
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Donnelly (IN)
Doyle
Driehaus
Edwards (MD)
Ellison
Ellsworth
Engel
Eshoo
Etheridge
Farr
Fattah
Filner
Foster
Frank (MA)
Fudge
Garamendi
Giffords
Gonzalez
Gordon (TN)
Grayson
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Grijalva
Gutierrez
Hall (NY)
Halvorson
Hare
Harman
Hastings (FL)
Heinrich
Higgins
Hill
Himes
Hinchey
Hinojosa
Hirono
Hodes
Holt
Honda
Hoyer
Inslee
Israel
Jackson (IL)
Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson (GA)
Johnson, E. B.
Kagen
Kanjorski
Kaptur
Kennedy
Kildee
Kilpatrick (MI)
Kilroy
Kind
Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Klein (FL)
Kosmas
Kucinich
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee (CA)
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Loebsack
Lofgren, Zoe
Lowey
Luján
Maffei
Maloney
Markey (CO)
Markey (MA)
Matsui
McCarthy (NY)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McNerney
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Michaud
Miller (NC)
Miller, George
Mitchell
Mollohan
Moore (KS)
Moore (WI)
Moran (VA)
Murphy (CT)
Murphy (NY)
Murphy, Patrick
Nadler (NY)
Napolitano
Neal (MA)
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Ortiz
Owens
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor (AZ)
Payne
Pelosi
Perlmutter
Perriello
Peters
Pingree (ME)
Polis (CO)
Pomeroy
Price (NC)
Quigley
Rahall
Rangel
Reyes
Richardson
Rodriguez
Rothman (NJ)
Roybal-Allard
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Salazar
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Schauer
Schiff
Schrader
Schwartz
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Sestak
Shea-Porter
Sherman
Sires
Slaughter
Smith (WA)
Snyder
Speier
Spratt
Stark
Stupak
Sutton
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Titus
Tonko
Towns
Tsongas
Van Hollen
Velázquez
Visclosky
Walz
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watson
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Welch
Wilson (OH)
Woolsey
Wu
Yarmuth


—- NOES    212 —

Aderholt
Adler (NJ)
Akin
Alexander
Altmire
Arcuri
Austria
Bachmann
Bachus
Barrett (SC)
Barrow
Bartlett
Barton (TX)
Berry
Biggert
Bilbray
Bilirakis
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blunt
Boehner
Bonner
Bono Mack
Boozman
Boren
Boucher
Boustany
Brady (TX)
Bright
Broun (GA)
Brown (SC)
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Buchanan
Burgess
Burton (IN)
Buyer
Calvert
Camp
Campbell
Cantor
Cao
Capito
Carter
Cassidy
Castle
Chaffetz
Chandler
Childers
Coble
Coffman (CO)
Cole
Conaway
Crenshaw
Culberson
Davis (AL)
Davis (KY)
Davis (TN)
Deal (GA)
Dent
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
Dreier
Duncan
Edwards (TX)
Ehlers
Emerson
Fallin
Flake
Fleming
Forbes
Fortenberry
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gerlach
Gingrey (GA)
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Granger
Graves
Griffith
Guthrie
Hall (TX)
Harper
Hastings (WA)
Heller
Hensarling
Herger
Herseth Sandlin
Hoekstra
Holden
Hunter
Inglis
Issa
Jenkins
Johnson (IL)
Johnson, Sam
Jones
Jordan (OH)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kirk
Kissell
Kline (MN)
Kratovil
Lamborn
Lance
Latham
LaTourette
Latta
Lee (NY)
Lewis (CA)
Linder
Lipinski
LoBiondo
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Lummis
Lungren, Daniel E.
Lynch
Mack
Manzullo
Marchant
Marshall
Matheson
McCarthy (CA)
McCaul
McClintock
McCotter
McHenry
McIntyre
McKeon
McMahon
McMorris Rodgers
Melancon
Mica
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Minnick
Moran (KS)
Murphy, Tim
Myrick
Neugebauer
Nunes
Nye
Olson
Paul
Paulsen
Pence
Peterson
Petri
Pitts
Platts
Poe (TX)
Posey
Price (GA)
Putnam
Radanovich
Rehberg
Reichert
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Rooney
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Royce
Ryan (WI)
Scalise
Schmidt
Schock
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shadegg
Shimkus
Shuler
Shuster
Simpson
Skelton
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Souder
Space
Stearns
Sullivan
Tanner
Taylor
Teague
Terry
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiahrt
Tiberi
Turner
Upton
Walden
Wamp
Westmoreland
Whitfield
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Wolf
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

GERMANY 1939 ALL OVER AGAIN FASCISM IS ALIVE AND WELL

GERMANY 1939 ALL OVER AGAIN FASCISM IS

 ALIVE AND WELL 

SEND THIS TO EVERYONE

Bill would give president emergency control of Internet

Original article

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html

 

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness,” said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. “It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill.”

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller’s aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president’s power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.

When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs–from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records,” Rockefeller said.

The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government’s role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is “not as prepared” as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

Rockefeller’s revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a “cybersecurity workforce plan” from every federal agency, a “dashboard” pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a “comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy” in six months–even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. “As soon as you’re saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it’s going to be a really big issue,” he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

“The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,” EFF’s Tien says. “It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)…The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There’s no provision for any administrative process or review. That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.”

Translation: If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

The Internet Security Alliance’s Clinton adds that his group is “supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective.”

 

Lawmakers take fundraising to slopes

Lawmakers take fundraising to slopes

WASHINGTON — The deepening economic recession hasn’t stopped members of Congress from throwing lavish events to raise campaign money for the 2010 election.

This weekend, donors to a political action committee run by Rep. Jeb Hensarling are invited to the Snake River Lodge & Spa near Jackson Hole, Wyo., for a ski outing hosted by the Texas Republican. The minimum donation: $2,500, according to the invitation, which touts opportunities to take sleigh rides to an elk refuge and snowmobile excursions to the Continental Divide.

Skiing also is on the agenda at a fundraiser this weekend in Vail, Colo., for Democrat Ed Perlmutter. Donations range from $2,400 for an individual to $5,000 for a political action committee.

Donors seeking warmer climes could have joined veteran Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii for a “Weekend of Aloha” fundraiser at a resort on Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach. Inouye’s event, held last weekend, started two days after lawmakers passed President Obama’s $787 billion plan aimed at jump-starting the economy. Lawmakers are on a week-long break and return Monday.

“Everyone is tightening their belts, but lawmakers are doing what they have always done: holding fundraisers in exotic locales,” said Nancy Watzman, who tracks political fundraising events for the watchdog group Sunlight Foundation. “This is the kind of thing that’s out of reach to most people, and it’s pretty much hidden from the public.”

Aides to the lawmakers said the events are driven by the need to raise growing amounts of campaign money. House and Senate candidates raised nearly $1.4 billion to fund campaigns in 2008, up from roughly $1 billion eight years earlier, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

“Almost every member of Congress is fundraising all the time,” said Julie DeWoody, the finance director of Perlmutter’s campaign. “It’s the reality of running for office and how expensive campaigns are.”

Perlmutter, a Colorado congressman in his second term, opted to host the ski weekend to give “supporters a different way to interact with him and have fun,” DeWoody said. She would not say who planned to attend.

Hensarling’s fundraising event supports his political action committee — Jobs, Economy and Budget Fund, also known as JEB Fund. Hensarling aide Dee Buchanan said in an e-mail that the money goes to “conservative candidates who believe in limited government and unlimited opportunity.”

Buchanan did not respond to questions about fundraising goals and who was expected to attend the event. It was scheduled to begin Thursday night and run through the weekend.

Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, raised about $100,000 at last weekend’s event at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, according to Helen Milby, his fundraiser. It was held in Hawaii so Inouye could raise money and carry out constituent work in his home state, she said.

It also “was a great way for people to support tourism in Hawaii,” she added.

About 20 donors, who each raised or gave $5,000, and their spouses came from Washington. “Some were lobbyists; some were not,” Milby said.

She said Inouye would “never” allow contributions from special interests to influence his policymaking. “He’s a great American, and he does what’s right for the country all of the time,” she said. “That’s his benchmark.”

Ethics rules approved in 2007 bar members of Congress from accepting most gifts, trips and expensive meals from lobbyists and organizations that employ them, but did not impose restrictions on campaign activity.

“The same person who can’t buy a meal for a senator can go to the fundraiser, have a nice meal … and give contributions,” said Stephen Weissman, of the Campaign Finance Institute. “This is a real problem.”

The posh venues aren’t restricted to fundraising events, either.

Earlier this month, House Democrats held their annual retreat at Kingsmill Resort & Spa near Williamsburg, Va. House Republicans headed to The Homestead, a mountain resort and spa in Hot Springs, Va., for their policy retreat.

The lawmakers used campaign funds to pay their expenses. But the non-profit Congressional Institute helped underwrite staff travel and overhead expenses for the Republican gathering, said Matt Lloyd, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference. He confirmed that participants included lobbyists who help fund the institute, which hosts seminars for lawmakers and conducts public policy research.

The getaway was approved by the House Ethics Committee, he said.

Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-02-19-fundraising_N.htm