Democrats use intimidation tactics on lobbyists, witnesses
posted at 12:55 pm on June 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Two reports from Washington DC demonstrate the level of bipartisanship we have gotten from full Democratic control of the federal government. First, The Hill reports that Rep. Edward Markey demanded a FERC investigation into a business run by a witness scheduled to testify to Congress against Markey’s cap-and-trade legislation:
Energy panel Republicans are levying accusations of witness intimidation against Democratic Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the key authors of the contentious House climate change bill.
Republicans have seized on a letter – a copy of which was obtained by The Hill – that Markey penned to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff asking FERC to investigate the actions of a major energy company on the same day that the company’s CEO was set to testify before the energy panel on the dangers of a carbon cap and trade system. …
GOP sources confirmed that Republicans reacted furiously when they saw that the letter was sent the very same day that MidAmerican’s CEO, David L. Sokol, was testifying as a Republican witness before Markey’s subcommittee.
Once upon a time, we used to call that abuse of power and corruption. Now we just call it Hope and Change. Markey should get removed from Congress for threatening to abuse prosecutorial powers of the federal government in order to silence a witness before Congress. That won’t happen as long as Nancy Pelosi is in charge of the House, but this should be Exhibit A for the Republicans in 2010.
Nor are those tactics limited to just the one Democratic policy priority. They’re strong-arming lobbyists on the health-care reform bill, too, according to Congressional Quarterly:
Health care lobbyists met Thursday with Senate Republicans despite what some characterized as warnings from Democratic staffers against undermining overhaul legislation.
Democratic leaders denied discouraging participation in talks as health care legislation takes shape, citing committee meetings with Republican lawmakers and sessions with industry advocates, such as one Thursday at the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
But attendees at a June 10 meeting with top Democratic aides described apparent warnings about participating in two meetings with Republicans on Thursday. One meeting included Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Thune of South Dakota, and the other was with GOP leadership staffers.
Those apparent warnings came from Russell W. Sullivan, the Finance Committee staff director, and Jonathan G. Selib, chief of staff to Finance Chairman Max Baucus , D-Mont., according to a Democratic lobbyist who was among those cautioned about Thursday’s Republican meetings.
The lobbyist said that he didn’t feel threatened — “not at all” — but that there was a general message that working with Republicans would be a “hostile act.” … Another participant in the June 10 meeting said he also felt discouraged from working with Republicans.
Remember when Barack Obama promised to change the way Washington works? He has — for the worse.