Sunday, March 05, 2006

More on Pombo and The Republican Culture of Corruption and Cronyism

The Hill:

"Two staffers on the House Resources Committee played key roles in developing controversial environmental legislation while receiving salaries from the Department of Interior in apparent violation of House rules limiting their congressional service to one year.


Jackson Coleman and Rick Deery, the Interior employees, have worked as detailees under Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.)...Their length of service is more than twice the length defined by the House ethics manual.


Before Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) stepped down as chairman of the Committee on House Administration because of his link to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, he signed letters giving Coleman and Deery permission to serve beyond the time limit set by House rules.


One controversial provision would have given states revenue-sharing incentives for opting out of the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf...

The second would have amended mining law to allow federal lands to be sold to support the sustainable development of dying mining towns. Environmentalists criticized the provision as a massive giveaway of federal land...

Richard Charter, the co-chairman of the National Outer Continental Shelf Coalition, said Coleman’s arrival at the Resources Committee, shortly after Pombo took over as chairman, coincided with the beginning of a sustained push by Pombo to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. Charter said Pombo attempted to lift the moratorium by pushing legislation that would give states a share of drilling royalties if they opted out of the moratorium.

Coleman promoted the proposal at a community forum in North Carolina, a state that possesses energy reserves off its famed Outer Banks, according to a November article in The Virginian-Pilot.

Coleman also defended Pombo’s legislation from the criticisms of Democratic lawmakers. When Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) attempted to amend Pombo’s offshore-drilling provision during a committee markup of the budget-reconciliation bill in October, Pombo let Coleman answer Pallone’s questions, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by The Hill.


Kennedy, Pombo’s spokesman, dismissed questions and concerns about Deery’s and Coleman’s service." (more at Source)


"U.S. lawmakers who've been linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff have at least one consolation: Their campaign coffers have never been as full.

Republican Representatives Tom DeLay of Texas, Bob Ney of Ohio, Richard Pombo and John Doolittle of California and Senator Conrad Burns of Montana saw their fund-raising totals surge in the past year compared with previous elections, according to the latest campaign filings. All five lawmakers have been tied to Abramoff by media reports, their political opponents and, in Ney's case, the Justice Department.


Pombo, 45, who has represented his north-central California district for seven terms, received at least $30,750 in donations from Abramoff, his associates and Indian tribe clients from 2001 to 2004. Pombo raised more than 80
percent more cash in 2005 than in 2003, FEC figures show. He is facing a primary challenge from former Representative Pete McCloskey, who says on his campaign's Web site that he's ``embarrassed and shamed'' by Pombo's ties to DeLay and Abramoff." (Source)


"A little-noticed section of a congressional bill to overhaul the
Endangered Species Act would give federal regulators a five-year pass from seeking expert scientific advice from wildlife agencies on the harmful effects of pesticides on rare animals and plants, a move environmentalists say would further threaten hundreds of animals including several in the Bay Area.


...under the bill by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, for five years the agency would not have to seek the expertise of wildlife agency scientists over how pesticides could affect the imperiled species.

The bill would eliminate key provisions of the nation's toughest environmental law safeguarding the 1,272 listed species of plants, birds, fish, amphibians, insects and mammals in the wild...

The pesticide changes and other major revisions are opposed by environmental groups, and local governments and states across the nation are passing resolutions in support of the original 1973 act...

"We see the act as a safety net for wildlife, and the Pombo bill cuts a hole in that net,'' said Sarah Matsumoto, field director of a nationwide coalition of 360 conservation, religious and hunting and fishing groups that want to save it." (Source)


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