Thursday, June 15, 2006

Members Of Congress Reveal Finances; Republicans Rolling In Dough

No wonder the Republicans have fought disclosing their finances for so long.

As the following AP report, shows that the Republicans are making too much money outside of Washington D.C.:

"Lawmakers caught up in ethics investigations have plenty of cash _ just in case they someday face hefty lawyers' bills.

House and Senate members detailed their finances Wednesday in the midst of public and government scrutiny of certain dealings that have caused Congress' popularity to drop.

The reports require lawmakers to list last year's assets and debts, along with any income beyond the $162,100 salary for the rank-and-file House and Senate members. Rules require lawmakers to donate their speaking fees to charity and to limit gifts from any individual to $100 in a year.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., holds blind trusts worth $7.5 million to $36 million. He reported making $5 million last year from the largest, worth between $5 million to $25 million.

Frist faces a Securities and Exchange Commission insider trading investigation over selling stock in a hospital company his family founded. He denies any wrongdoing and said he ordered the sales to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest as he considers running for president in 2008.

Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., founder and chairman of Blue Ridge Savings and Loan in Asheville, N.C., reported stock in a holding company for the bank worth more than $50 million. He also purchased 80 percent of a Russian bank and founded a Russian investment company.

State Democrats have called for congressional ethics and conflict of interest investigations into Taylor's banking activities and links to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in a federal bribery investigation.

Republican Tom DeLay of Texas, who resigned his House seat last week, showed his legal troubles have led him into sizable debt. DeLay reported owing $250,001 to $500,000 to four separate lawyers and law firms.

DeLay also reported individual and corporate contributions to a legal defense fund worth $588,320. He has predicted that legal bills will cost him $3 million."

"House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., received royalties worth $15,001 to $50,000 from publication of "Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years of Coaching and Politics." Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., received a partial book advance of $106,210.

Some lawmakers were lucky last year. House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, took home $2,700 in slot machine winnings. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., won an $853,492 share of a $340 million multistate Powerball lottery jackpot."

Instead of trying to get rich everyway they can while in Congress, the Republicans should be working to pass meaningful ethics reform to help fix the culture of corruption they have created.
However, as the report above notes, they are deeply invested in special interests.

So don't get your hopes up for reform anytime soon.