In the annals of Blue-State fiefdoms, Indiana Representative Peter Visclosky (D-IN) is something of an anomaly. While a Democrat, he represents the bluest of blue counties in very red Indiana. His constituents are all pro-union laboreres in the steel mills and refineries of Northwest Indiana, and he has a steel grip on his very blue seat.
So it’s with some surprise that Visclosky is being asked to relinquish the chairmanship of the powerful comittee he chairs:
WASHINGTON | Scrutiny over U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky’s ties to a disgraced lobbying firm intensified Thursday as a Republican colleague urged his ouster from the high-powered House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Darrell Issa asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to urge Visclosky to resign from the committee pending the outcome of the federal probe into defunct firm The PMA Group.
“Now that federal law enforcement officials have ratcheted up their highly public probe of Rep. Visclosky, he must resign immediately from the Committee on Appropriations,” Issa, a ranking minority member of the House oversight committee, wrote to Pelosi.
Under normal circumstances in polite society, soemone under investigation would consider it prudent to step aside to avoid any allegations of impropriety. Unfortunately, we’re talking about Nancy Pelosi’s Stonewalling House -of-No-Shame” here:
Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said Thursday the speaker will not ask Visclosky to resign. Visclosky had no comment Thursday regarding Issa’s request, his spokesman Jacob Ritvo said. Visclosky announced last week his office, campaign committees and some employees have been sent grand jury subpoenas requesting documents relating to PMA.
In November, the FBI raided the Virginia-based firm, which for years had been the top source of Visclosky’s campaign cash. Since 1998, the firm and its clients — through political action committees or employees and their families — contributed nearly $1.38 million to Visclosky, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Wondering where all this got started? If you saw the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War, you heard Tom Hanks’ character talking about how John Murtha (D-PA) owed him a favor for getting him out of trouble with the Abscam investigators. Yes, it’s John “I hate the Marines” Murtha at it again:
Visclosky’s colleague on the appropriations as well as the Energy and Water Subcommittee, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., also has been embroiled in the PMA controversy as a top recipient of the firm’s donations.
As chairman of the Energy and Water Subcommittee, Visclosky is one of the so-called cardinals of the Congress who control federal spending. Earlier this week, Visclosky ceded his control over the 2010 energy and water spending bill, saying he wanted to deflect any Republican attempt to use the PMA case to disrupt the appropriations process.
Controls Federal Spending, huh? He doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of it.
Seriously, this couldn’t happen to a nicer schmuck. Can’t wait for the indictments.