This morning brings a big Christmas present for those of us who care about the health of the planet, and a big lump of coal for corrupt Republican anti-environmentalists.
As speculated here a couple of days ago, Republican anti-environmentalist Richard Pombo is officially a "close associate" of Tom Delay, the indicted Republican who once ran the House with an iron hand, and his close buddy Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist already indicted in connection with a Mob murder.
Delay is facing trial in Texas on a money-laundering charge; Abramoff is facing a long prison sentence, and has reportedly agreed to co-operate with the Federal authorities. He is known to have helped funnel money to Pombo–at least $20,000 worth. In fact, according to this story in today’s LA Times (reg. required), the FBI is already following the trail of money from an Eastern tribe hopeful of getting official Federal designation, so as to be able to open a casino…to Pombo, head of the powerful House Resources Committee. Reports the Times:
Officials do know that the flow of cash from the Mashpee to Abramoff and Pombo is a textbook example of the kind of cases of alleged influence-buying that the task force is assembling.
But what investigators want to determine is whether the Mashpee episode crossed the line into criminal behavior, as other Abramoff ventures allegedly did.
Last week on another story I talked to Andy Stahl, who leads the small-but-wonderfully active Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics group. He pointed out that the best window of opportunity for anti-environmentalists to pass bills was probably 2005; now legislators such as Pombo will be running again for re-election (not to mention quarreling over the Patriot Act). Pombo has won decisively in the past in his heavily Republican district, but according to this post from Judith Lewis, his corruption and anti-environmentalism have so ticked off former Representative Pete McCloskey, a Republican and one of the authors of the Endangered Species Act, that McCloskey is actively recruiting a Republican candidate to run against him, and will do it himself if he has to next year.
According to a front-page story in the Tracy Press:
Former congressman Pete McCloskey is getting closer to taking on Rep. Richard Pombo.
In what he called a “revolt of the elders,” the 78-year-old Republican said he would run in a June primary if he can’t find anyone else by the end of the year to take on Pombo, R-Tracy.
“Every professional has told us that the only way to beat Pombo is in a primary,” McCloskey said Monday in a meeting with the Tracy Press editorial board.
McCloskey said Republicans in Congress had been corrupted by power, and he compared the existence of progressive Republicans like himself to the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
“They’ve been extinct for 20 years, but there are rumored sightings,” he said.
Go Pete! Remind the world that the GOP once cared about the planet…