Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eleanor Holmes Norton Voicemail: Norton Asks Lobbyist for Contribution

D.C. Delegate to Congress, and privileged to use the moniker "Congresswoman" Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) called a lobbyist and left a voicemail directly and very clearly asking for a contribution sent directly to her. In the audio below, she leaves her P.O. box, so you can contribute to her also, if you want to do so.

Nancy Pelosi and Eleanor Holmes Norton

Norton seems perplexed that this particular lobbyist has never given her a contribution, and she mentions that donations have been made to other members of her committee. As a senior committee member, Norton brashly asks to paid for her "long and deep work" on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

(Isn't that the Taj Mahal Pelosi and Norton are standing in front of? I think it is. No doubt we taxpayers paid for that trip.)

BigGovernment broke this story and they some analyzation: At the beginning of the tape Norton mentions other on her committee who have received contributions from this lobbyist.
Beyond being a bit heavy-handed, where did she get this information? Such donations are listed in FEC reports, but it is a violation to use that information to solicit campaign donations.
More serious, however, is her frequent mention of her seniority and her Chairmanship of a subcommittee. She is attempting to solicit funds based on her past actions taken in her official capacity in Congress. She is implying to the lobbyist that, should he decline to donate, he will be turning down a senior member of Congress who Chairs a subcommittee highly relevant to his “sector”. 
Worse than that, she details her role overseeing a large economic development project in the District, funded by “stimulus” funds. It would appear that either the lobbyist has an interest in this project, or the Congresswoman thinks he does, as she states she is “frankly surprised” the lobbyist hasn’t given to her. Especially, she notes, because of her long and deep work …in fact it has been by major work on the committee and subcommittee it’s been essentially in your sector
According to BigGovernment, it is a misdemeanor to ask for a "reward" via a contribution (18 U.S.C. § 600),  and a misdemeanor to threaten to deny anyone government benefit if a contribution is not made (18 U.S.C. § 601).
Then there are House Ethics rules that she seems to have breached.
p. 147: “[N]o solicitation of a campaign or political contribution may be linked to an action taken or to be taken by a Member … in his or her official capacity. … The Standards Committee has long advised Members … that they should always exercise caution to avoid even the appearance that solicitations of campaign contributions are connected in any way with an action taken or to be taken in their official capacity. … 
p. 150: “[A] Member may not accept any contribution that is linked with an action that the Member has taken or is being asked to take. A corollary of these rules is that Members … are not to take or withhold any official action on the basis of the campaign contributions or support of the involved individuals 
It is considered unethical to solicit funds on federal property. From where did she make the call? As a "delegate," Norton can sit in the House chamber, but can only vote in committee. Norton, of course, is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus.

The Lonely Conservative acknowledges "crooked" Democrats as the norm, but asks if the party will "mind one that's crooked and stupid?" I don't think they will, LC. Maxine Waters and Hank Johnson are still around.

Read the entire text of the phone call at BigGovernment, along with more on the corruption, and listen to it below.

Eleanor Holmes Norton Call to Lobbyist (video)

Adrienne's Corner
RightPundits - some good commentary

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