Which political party is really serious about reforming the practice of lobbyist money going to members of Congress?
The evidence was clear in the latest issue of National Journal. Hint: It is not the Republicans.
The magazine asked 70 members of Congress, a representative group of 35 Democrats and 35 GOP-ers, if Congress should restrict lobbyists from holding fundraisers for members.
Among the Republicans, the count was 37 percent yes and 63 percent no. For the Democrats, it was 80 percent yes and just 20 percent no.
Those statistics clearly unmask the cover the Republicans have established as trying to pose as reformers in view of the Jack Abramoff scandal. Plainly, most in the majority of the GOP don't want to disrupt money ties to the K Street crowd in the capital.
Lobbying members of Congress is a perfectly proper exercise in Washington and in our state legislatures. But in recent years, it has become a cash cow for politicians in Washington, especially Republicans.
When Tom DeLay came to power in the House, he issued an order to K Street that the power folks had better hire Republicans if they wanted a voice in Congress. It amounted to a naked shakedown.
Of course, the status quo crowd hollers "First Amendment right" when any changes are mentioned. That is an excuse for doing nothing really significant to get the public off its back.
Surely, the legal minds on Capitol Hill can place some meaningful restrictions on this seamy practice without infringing on the First Amendment. If not, the current off-year congressional campaigns will again become a cesspool of lobby money.
Don't say the voters weren't warned.