Originally posted in Peoria Pundit.
Ya gotta love the Journal Star. Really. The newspaper has spent months ignoring how their beloved "Congressman Ray" has been raking in cash from lobbyists and in one case them pay for a trip to France.
I've spent that time begging for someone from the local media to call LaHood on his Nixon-style non-denial denials.
The Journal Star's national political reporter finally got around to addressing the issue:
LaHood said he supports extending a ban on lobbying by former members of Congress and their staffers from one to two years and increasing enforcement of lobbying disclosure rules. While he's taken trips funded by private groups and found them beneficial, LaHood said he would support a ban on such trips if it's included in the House bill. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Plano, supports a ban on privately paid trips.
Exactly what do they mean by "privately funded?" Are the talking about groups like the Aspen Group? LaHood has held up trip funded by these folks as completely ethical and appropriate, not to mention of benefit to his constituents.
Does it include the Nuclear Energy Institute, a group funded by companies like General Electric to promote the nuclear power industry? This group employs it's own lobbyists and hires lobby firms as well to promote its agency. LaHood let these guys pay for a trip to France. As far as I've been able to tell, no mainstream reporter has ever, ever, ever asked him about that trip or even mentioned the NEI in his presence.
Long-time readers know that I and a few other bloggers have been hammering on LaHood for his ties to lobbyists. The mainstream media has pretty much gone along with the LaHood party line.
So when there's finally a lengthy story, it's pretty much about the LaHood reluctantly agreeing to a half-hearted reform -- no more lobbyists directly in charge of fund raisers. But he's still going to take cash from them directly, he says.
The story is also filled with quotes about what a wonderful guy he is and how his lobbyist buddies would do favors for him anyway because they are such old friends and how money would never, ever, ever influence his behavior.
You see this kind of reporting all the time in mediocre newspapers all across the country. They run stories and editorials railing about the culture of corruption in Washington, but the hometown congressman -- whose snout is buried as deeply into the trough as anyone else -- is portrayed as a good guy. And if he brings home the pork, so much the better.
There are hardworking and ethical people who work at the Journal Star, and they are capable to good work.
I'm not seeing that much these days.
All my Ray LaHood posts are here.
Technorati Tags: Ray LaHood, lobbyists, Dennis Hastert, Journal Star, National Energy Institute