The Mix

Watchdog group prepares ethics charge against acting House Majority Leader

Will a Dem stand up and file it?
Acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-MO) says he's going to take the corruption plaguing DC seriously. OK.

While Blunt's been busy posturing about reform, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a clean-government watchdog, has prepared an ethics complaint against him and is shopping for a Dem, presumably, to give it to the Ethics Committee. You'll remember that one of the rule changes that started the infamous "ethics truce" in the House was that outside groups could no longer bring complaints on their own.

Here's the gist of the charge:
In November 2002, hours after he was named new Majority Whip, Rep. Blunt attempted to secretly insert a provision into pending legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris at the expense of its competitors. Philip Morris, a division of the conglomerate Altria Group Inc., is Rep. Blunt's largest campaign contributor. Within days of the announcement of Rep. Blunt‚s new position, Altria donated a hefty $32,400 to Rep. Blunt's political action committee (PAC). In addition, Rep. Blunt was dating Philip Morris‚s lobbyist, Abigail Perlman, whom he has since married.
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer.
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