The Hypocriscy of Fossella
Earlier this week the House passed H. Res. 6 by a vote of 430-1, with Rep. Fossella voting in the affirmative. So what did he vote for?
Via the Washington Post;
The changes would prohibit House members or employees from knowingly accepting gifts or travel from a registered lobbyist, foreign agent or lobbyist's client. Lawmakers could no longer fly on corporate jets. In addition, congressional travel financed by outside groups would have to be approved in advance by the House ethics committee and immediately disclosed to the public.
The reason I highlight this aside from feeling optimistic about some of these changes, is that Rep. Fossella who voted for it, would have violated most of these rules with his prior transgressions. So the lingering question is that if Fossella found these issues needed to be prohibited, why then did he partake in them in his prior potentially unethical activities? Clearly by voting for these rules he has to know he is restricting the very actions he participates in every year. The following quotes are from Greg Smith's Daily News piece;
From 2001 through this winter, Fossella spent $25,124 in campaign donations to fly himself and his family to Vail each January.
During the trips, lobbyists joined Fossella and other Republican Congress
Fossella's $5,683 bill at Turnberry Isle was paid for by Epiphany Productions, a political consultant firm,
Fossella failed to disclose who paid for a Feb. 25-28, 2001, trip with his wife and children to a conference outside Palm Springs that cost $2,082.
Fossella declined to reveal the names of the lobbyists or donors.
Fossella failed to disclose that in February 2002 he flew to Miami and back on a private jet owned by a corporate donor, the now-deceased Richard Addeo, who was president of ADCO Electrical.
SEC 206; (2) A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may not accept a reimbursement (including payment in kind) for transportation, lodging, or related expenses under the exception in paragraph (b)(1)(C)(ii) of this clause for a trip that is financed in whole or in part by a private entity that retains or employs registered lobbyists or agents of a foreign principal unless any involvement of a registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal in the planning, organization, request, or arrangement of the trip is de minimis under rules prescribed by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to implement paragraph (b)(1)(C) of this clause.
So Rep. Vito Fossella finds these actions so dangerous that he has to vote to ban them, yet failed to question them when he was reaping their benefits for his personal benefit. Antics like this is the reason Congress passed this on the very first day, just hours after they were sworn in.