Thursday, November 10, 2011

Patty Murray Stumbles While Staff Retreats to Lobbying Firm

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The "Mom In Tennis Shoes," as she likes to be known, may not have tightened her laces this week, causing her to stumble.

Late yesterday afternoon, reports surfaced that the Super Committee, which Murray co-chairs, and has been tasked with cutting at least $1.2 Trillion from spending over the next 10 years and saving the country, collapsed. She and her colleagues walked away from the table, unwilling to work with Republicans.

While she was presiding over the committee fiasco, her staff was holding a two-day retreat at a high powered Democratic lobbying firm, raising questions of ethics not only from watchdog groups, but by the Seattle Times. Imagine that.

Yesterday afternoon, Democrats of the Super Committee rejected Republicans' offer to "raise federal tax collections by nearly $300 billion over the next decade."

Senator Rand Paul exclusively told Sean Hannity that not only are Democrats rejecting offers put on the table, but now they won't even continue to negotiate and have "walked away from the table...refusing to talk to the Republicans."

Paul warns the American people that this is all about Obama's reelection, and the taxpayers livelihood is of no concern to Obama and the Democrats.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Murray's staff was being hosted for two days by the Democratic lobbying firm "Strategies 360".

The firm was founded by Democratic political operative Ron Dotzauer. Murray's former deputy state director is now senior vice president at the lobbying firm.

Strategies 360's current client list includes pharmaceutical companies, public utilities and a solar manufacturer.

Some congressional watchdog groups are concerned about the ethics of the firm hosting Murray's staff.

"Not to worry," says Dotzauer, "I don't even know what they're doing."

Yep. Guys who build successful lobbying firms usually don't know what people are doing.

He said we host groups here all the time, "like non-profits, local pizzerias, etc."

Some feel Patty Murray may be a little different than say, a local charity or pizza place.

Patty Murray's office says it's a "non story." They say they checked it out and they are not breaking any rules.

To their credit, the Seattle Times doesn't agree and thinks it is a story.

The Times reports that, "The Senate Ethics Manual prohibits lobbyists from making financial contributions or expenditures 'relating to a conference, retreat or similar event' for members of the Senate of their employees."

The Times quotes Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, a DC watchdog group that monitors such things, expressing concern and saying this certainly raises questions.

"Whether it satisfies the rule or not," he says, "clearly having a lobbying firm host her staff is a benefit she is getting from the lobbying firm."

He says, "It also causes some to shake their head and ask, "Why isn't this against the rules?"

It also causes some to shake their heads and ask, "What are the voters in Washington thinking? Can't we do better?"

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Active. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed

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