Another day, and the Obama Administration hit by more Nominee Scandals.
For the Democrats, it was a good day on that front, as they hit .500, with the Republican Nominee for Commerce Secretary, Senator Judd Gregg, being contacted immediately after his introduction at the White House by the Justice Department and told that a former staff member was under investigation for receiving inappropriate gifts-for-favors from lobbyists. Gregg was informed that he is not currently being investigates as part of the probe, but the staffer, Kevin H. Koonce, received more than $10,000 in meals, drinks and sports tickets from Jack Abramoff, who in turn received favorable action from Gregg’s office for his clients. Abramoff is currently serving time in Federal Prison for crimes related to improprieties in his activities as a lobbyist.
Can the honest, untainted politicians in Washington please step forward? Obama is already tapping Republicans, who are obviously faring just slightly better than his Democratic appointees in demonstrating uncompromised associations and ethical behavior. Perhaps Washington D.C. will prove to be too corrupt to redeem, and another lofty ideal from President Obama’s campaign will be tossed along the wayside.
President Obama claimed during his post-Daschle-Withdrawal media blitz and meaculpa that “I don’t want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards, one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes.” A very nice soundbite. Which might have had a lasting, resounding effect if not less than two days later if his Nominee for Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, was not married to a Tax Cheat and herself previously employed as an unregistered lobbyist for a Labor Lobbying Firm.
For anyone not yet seeing the trend, “Change We Can” has, indeed, turned into an Audastic Hope. Politics as usual from our new Administration. Same old players, same old games, same old schemes, crooked relationships, ties to big-money, big-business, big-labor lobbyists.
Indeed, even President Obama’s appraisal of his “screw up” in picking former Senator Tom Daschle due to his tax problems and previous employ as an unregistered lobbyist, and his insistance that there are not “two sets of standards” does not even extend out of his own remaining cabinet, from already confirmed and working Timothy Geithner, who President Obama still insists “was a solid pick”, to Hilda Solis, who has not removed herself from consideration and is likely to face stiff opposition in her confirmation process, which was postponed today at the request of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
Yesterday Hilda Solis’ husband paid more than $6,400 to settle 16-years of Tax Liens against his business.
Of more concern to the Senate Committee tasked with her confirmation hearing was her position on the board of the pro-labor organization American Rights at Work. The pro-labor organization, according to their website, states that their mission is to “inform the American public about the struggle to win workplace democracy for nurses, cooks, computer programmers, retail cashiers, and a variety of workers who we all depend on every day. Our vision is a nation where the freedom of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively with employers is guaranteed and promoted.”
The Washington Post, “Former Gregg Staffer Under Investigation” by James V. Grimaldi
The Washington Post, “Obama Defends Treasury Chief” by Michael D. Shear and Anne E. Kornblut
(*This article was originally published February 5, 2009 on the Yahoo Contributor Network)