Politics

Joe Lieberman: Political Opportunist

Republicans are doing back flips now that Sen. Joe Lieberman has chosen to run for re-election in Connecticut as an independent. Some Republican strategists, who are apparently still enamored with Lieberman’s professed conservative views on social issues, are even advocating the support of Lieberman over the Republican nominee, who is embroiled in a gambling scandal. But let’s remember why Joe Lieberman is surrendering his Democratic credentials. He lost in a primary election and wants to maintain his seat at the Senate table. It’s as simple as that.

Truth be told, I’m really not sure how Joe Lieberman has managed to keep his reputation as a social conservative intact. Throughout his political life, Lieberman has demonstrated a willingness to shed his morality if it suits him politically. Take, for example, Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Lieberman, who was supposed to be the "conscience" of the Democratic Party, voted against impeachment. Sure, he gave a speech on the Senate floor "denouncing" President Clinton’s behavior, but his words were so weak even Bill Clinton himself later said that he "agreed with every word."

We all know this, but sometimes we need to be reminded: Pay attention to what a politician says, but pay closer attention to what he does. Joe Lieberman has said plenty when it comes to values and morality. But what he has done is cast his supposed sense of ethics aside for political gain. Some people might call this bipartisanship or the "art of compromise." I call it political opportunism.

Abramoff-Connected Congressman Drops Bid for Re-Election

Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney has yet to be officially charged for his alleged ties to scandal-ridden lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but he has already suffered the political consequences. Under pressure from Republican Party officials who feared losing the seat, Ney abandoned his race for a seventh term in Congress earlier this week.

The circle around Ney has been closing for some time, and you can expect him to be indicted by the Justice Department in the not-too-distant future. In early May, a former top aide to Ney, Neil Volz, pleaded guilty to charges he conspired to bribe Ney and other members of Congress. Volz, who served as Ney’s chief of staff, left his congressional position in 2002 to go work for Abramoff. He now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but could receive a substantially reduced sentence if he cooperates with authorities. It appears, in fact, that he already has.

Volz has reportedly identified 16 specific actions taken by Ney on Abramoff’s behalf. Here are a few of them as described by the Associated Press:

  • Sponsor legislation to lift a ban against commercial gambling by the Tigua Indian tribe, an Abramoff client in Texas.
  • Sign a letter opposing creation of a commission to study Indian gambling.
  • Assist Abramoff in obtaining government property for Abramoff’s private school in Maryland.

And what did Ney receive in return? The usual political currency — gifts and money. According to court papers from Abramoff’s guilty plea, Ney allegedly received tickets to sporting events, free meals, a vacation to Scotland, and contributions in exchange for his "cooperation."

For sure, it is a victory for clean government when a politician is forced to give up what he cherishes most, political power. But political consequences are not enough. Everyone involved in the Abramoff scandal, including Ney, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If guilty, they should go to prison. Otherwise, they’ll simply wind up in the private sector working the system from the other side, and the cycle of corruption will continue.

Judicial Watch Investigates Day Laborer Site in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Judicial Watch continues to expand its campaign to help enforce our nation’s immigration laws. In addition to ongoing investigations and legal efforts in Herndon, Va., and Houston, Judicial Watch recently launched an investigation of the Laguna Day Worker Center in Laguna Beach, Calif. Documents uncovered by Judicial Watch indicate the city has spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds to operate the site, which provides employment assistance to undocumented aliens.

In addition to funding portable restroom facilities and trash removal for the day laborer site, the City of Laguna Beach also provided a $21,000 "community assistance" grant in 2006 to the Cross Cultural Council, a non-profit organization which operates the facility. According to the Laguna Beach budget for fiscal year 2006-07, the Cross Cultural Council received more "community assistance" funding than any other single organization, including the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, Long Beach Seniors, and the CSP Youth Shelter, a local shelter that provides emergency housing to victims of abuse.

I don’t know how we can expect to control our nation’s borders when public officials insist on providing taxpayer-funded employment assistance to illegals. Not only is this bad policy, but it is also flagrantly illegal. I’ll be sure to keep you posted should we decide to pursue litigation against the City of Laguna Beach.


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