The Note: Witness for the Witness

Here is Rep. Shadegg's statement from yesterday evening: "I think we need to clean up our act in the wake of the recent ethics scandals, and get back to the agenda that brought us the majority in the first place. I am concerned that the two members currently in the race, whom I have a great deal of respect for, will not move aggressively enough in that direction. I will continue to talk to Members to gauge how many share that concern."

In a piece that looks at the "wide range" of "fully legal" practices that reflect "the steady dismantling of the wall between lobbyists and members of the House and Senate," the Washington Post's Tom Edsall includes unflattering looks at both Boehner and Blunt. LINK

"One lawmaker hoping to move up in the GOP leadership is" Boehner. "He maintains the lobbyist-financed Freedom Project, with a lobbyist as treasurer and an all-lobbyist executive board. It has raised $5.94 million over 10 years and has contributed $3.26 million to fellow Republicans."

"The soon-to-be-closed Alexander Strategy Group, for instance, received funds from committees associated with" Blunt "and DeLay -- $386,552, and $392,740, respectively."

Boehner and Blunt are engaged in an all-out "arms race" to see who can support the more stringent lobbying reforms, reports the New York Times, in part to distance themselves from their own "well-established links to Washington's lobbying community." LINK

The Republican ethics agenda:

The Washington Post's Jeff Birnbaum has Ron Bonjean, the Speaker's spokesguy, saying he expects the House to pass a lobbying reform bill "as soon as possible." The details of the bill have "not yet come into focus." But a touchstone for all sides is the McCain plan. LINK

". . . one particularly powerful group is gearing up to oppose several of the most sweeping proposals: lobbyists."

Following a visit from Tony Blankley, the New Hampshire Union-Leader's editorial page calls on the GOP to "institute real reforms, not paper ones." LINK

DeLay:

The infamous Texas redistricting masterminded by Tom DeLay may, in an ironic twist of fate, lead to his defeat. The 2003 redistricting raised the Democratic vote count in DeLay's district—a district that was then regarded as strongly Republican—by nearly 5 percent, according to a New York Times analysis. LINK

The Houston Chronicle Notes that with Rep. DeLay stepping down from his seat last week the "clout" of high ranking Texas politicians lessens. LINK

Samantha Levine, also of the Houston Chronicle, reports on the clean up and next steps for Rep. DeLay's staffers in the Majority Leader's office. LINK

Abramoff:

The Associated Press writes up a new Pew study that finds only 18% of Americans are paying "close attention" to the Abramoff story. LINK

The Las Vegas Review-Journal follows up on yesterday's Washington Times story and reports, "The Justice Department is not focusing on Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada as part of an investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a source close to the probe said Wednesday in challenging a published report." LINK

Jefferson:

Yesterday's guilty plea on bribery charges by a former aide to Rep. William Jefferson made Jefferson's own legal problems "dramatically worse," reports Roll Call.

The Washington Post's Allan Lengel has more. LINK

2008: Republicans:

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