Did House Democrats Buy Moderate Votes on Global Warming Bill?

Watch what they do, not what they used to say.

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By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Back in the days when the Republicans controlled the U.S. House of Representatives, the Democrats repeatedly accused them of abusing the power of the majority to further their agenda. In one particularly onerous charge, repeated for days in the media, they accused the GOP of trying to "buy" the support of then-Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., for President Bush's signature Prescription Drug Reform package with the promise of campaign contributions for his son, who Smith hoped would succeed him in Congress.

To show how seriously the Democrats took the issue, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stood in the well of the House in December of 2005 to offer a privileged resolution which, in part, accused the Republicans of "bullying and threatening Members to vote against their conscience."

Pelosi's resolution, which also accused the Republicans of "violat(ing) their own rules and the customs and decorum of the House to win votes," called on then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., to take whatever actions might be necessary to prevent further abuse of the House rules.

But that was a long time ago. Things are different now that Pelosi is Speaker and the Democrats have a comfortable majority—or are they?

On Friday Politico's Mike Thrush reported on what the publication called a "Big Dem cash dump on eve of climate vote." In his piece, Thrush wrote that, "Three House Democratic leaders who were whipping members on the climate change bill gave tens of thousands in campaign cash to party moderates around the time of the 219-212 vote on June 26, according to Federal Election Commission records."

And one of those leaders doling out money was, don't get ahead of me, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Thrush does allow that not all those Democrats who got money voted to pass the Waxman-Markey legislation but the timing of the contributions is suspicious.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who co-authored the bill, and who gave at least $16,000 in contributions to members who voted "Yes" on his bill, said through a spokesman that the contributions were nothing more than the usual "end-of-quarter activity." Which sounds a lot like the kind of thing the Republicans might have said when they were in the majority.

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