January 9, 2004
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Listen to the GOPHOTW HERE.
Welcome back to the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week.
After all the New Year's celebrating, how quickly we forget the GOP Hypocrites of yesteryear.
Maybe you didn't get to fully savor the House floor bribery allegations made by Michigan GOP Congressman Nick Smith, for instance. The twist here is that Smith charged it was a Republican or two who tried to bribe Smith to vote for the "Poison Pill" Medicare Bill when it barely passed the House in late November.
If you remember, Hastert and DeLay lost the vote, but then, in an unprecedented hijacking of the House, they extended the voting until they could muscle enough wayward Republicans into supporting the Medicare privatization bill.
And Smith, who was voting "No," says that someone offered $100,000 to be given to the upcoming campaign of his son, Brad, who wants to replace Smith when he retires at the end of this session.
Now, in case you didn't know, offering a member of Congress a sum of money in exchange for a vote is called a bribe, and that -- hard as it can be to imagine in the age of the Bush Cartel cash-and-carry government -- is still illegal AND prosecutable as a federal crime.
Well, who to prosecute?
Interesting question -- and Nick Smith, our GOP Hypocrite of the week has suddenly gotten amnesia. Not only did he temporarily take a vow of silence on the bribe, in December he suddenly claimed it didn't occur. Of course, his December denial was a bit hard to swallow since a Michigan reporter had recorded interviews in which Smith stated that the $100,000 bribe attempt had indeed occurred. Robert "CIA Operative Outer" Novak also confirmed the bribe offer, and the Washington Post produced Republican Congressmen who claimed that Smith had told them of the bribe attempt.
So who made the offer?
Well, you would think that the Justice Department would want to find out, right? But John Ashcroft has basically said that "we'll get back to you." And Hastert apparently talked with Congressman Smith and they decided to decide nothing much really happened, even though Hastert and Tommy Thompson were seen hovering around Smith trying to get him to vote yes on the bill.
A January 7th story now reports that Congressman Smith is returning ... somewhat ... to his original bribery tale. He now says that he was offered money for his son's campaign, but not specifically $100,000.
In Michigan's Lansing State Journal, Smith said, "Nobody ever mentioned exact dollars, but what people said was that there would be strong endorsements ... Another member said 'Well, that could mean tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.' In my mind, substantial support means money."
Let's see. Money for votes is still a bribe and bribes to government officials are still illegal and doing absolutely nothing about the illegal activity of Republicans is standard operating procedure in Ashcroft's Justice Department.
Maybe when the Justice Department finally gets around to busting the criminal that leaked Valerie Plame's name, they can ask the criminals if they know who tried to bribe Congressman Smith.
Because Congressman Smith keeps changing his story. That's why he's more than just the BuzzFlash Hypocrite of the Week, he's also a pretty bad liar to boot.
Until next week, remember the BuzzFlash slogan: So many Republican Hypocrites, so little time.
Catch up with you soon.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
otherwise noted, all original