Clyburn: What Capitol Hill needs is a lot more vote buying

posted at 9:30 am on December 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

My, how times have changed.  In 2006, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats won majorities in both chambers of Congress by running against the “culture of corruption,” pledging to operate openly and honestly on Capitol Hill.  Two years later, Barack Obama rode to victory by pledging to change the way Washington DC operates, declaring that he would lead the most open and transparent government ever.  Now Rep. James Clyburn, as House Majority Whip the third-ranking Democrat in the House, has declared that Republicans should join Democrats in buying and selling votes rather than complain about the corruption on Capitol Hill:

U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said Republicans need to stop complaining about deals their colleagues made.

“Rather than sitting here and carping about what Nelson got for Nebraska, I would say to my friends on the other side of the aisle: Let’s get together and see what we can get for South Carolina,” Clyburn said.

Clyburn responded to the news that his state’s Attorney General, along with AGs in other states, would investigate the grubby deals made by Harry Reid to pass his ObamaCare bill.  Those deals got hidden in a manager’s amendment that didn’t see the light of day until just hours before Reid presented it for a procedural vote in the Senate.  They favor some states at the expense of others, which is why these AGs want to challenge both the constitutionality of the bill and shine some light on the process as well:

The top prosecutors in seven states are probing the constitutionality of a political deal that cut a funding break for Nebraska in order to pass a federal health care reform bill, South Carolina’s attorney general said Tuesday.

Attorney General Henry McMaster said he and his counterparts in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, Texas and Washington state — all Republicans — are jointly taking a look at the deal they’ve dubbed the “Nebraska compromise.”

“The Nebraska compromise, which permanently exempts Nebraska from paying Medicaid costs that Texas and all other 49 states must pay, may violate the United States Constitution — as well as other provisions of federal law,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. …

Along with Texas, officials in Washington, Alabama, Colorado and Michigan confirmed they were working with McMaster.

It seems unlikely that the states can do anything unless the bill gets passed into law.  Members of Congress are exempt from arrest while Congress remains in session.  They also wouldn’t have jurisdiction for a criminal complaint unless the negotiations actually took place in their states, and even then would have difficulty selling this as bribery to a court. A federal court may wind up striking down these deals later, but only if they pass into law.

But it’s certainly corrupt, and Clyburn’s response is illuminating.  As we have already seen, Democrats had no intention of ending the “culture of corruption” in DC — they just wanted to be in charge of it.  And now their hubris has grown to the point where Democratic leadership cheers corruption and demands even more of it.


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