Thursday, February 05, 2004
CNN.com - Medicare bill bribery allegations probed - Feb. 5, 2004|
The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it started an investigation almost two months ago into allegations Rep. Nick Smith was offered a bribe to vote for the Medicare prescription drug bill.Unfortunately, bribery is standard procedure for congressional Republicans. Yesterday's Lexington Herald-Leader can attest to that.
It was the first public acknowledgment the committee was looking into the matter, following public statements suggesting it was not.
On the night of the Medicare vote in November, Republican leaders worked hard to persuade Smith, a fiscally conservative Republican from Michigan who opposed the $400 billion price tag of the measure, to support the bill. In the end, he did not. (Full story)
Days later, however, he wrote in a column on his Web page that he was offered financial support for the campaign of his son, Brad, to succeed him when he retires at the end of this term.
U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pledged for the first time yesterday that he would push a tobacco buyout plan to the House floor -- but only if Republican Alice Forgy Kerr is elected to Congress.Vote Republican or you can kiss your buyout goodbye. Thanks Mr. Soprano.
Democrat Ben Chandler, who faces Kerr, said through a spokesman that he was disappointed that Hastert was "playing politics" with the buyout issue. Chandler, if elected, would continue to press for a buyout anyway, the spokesman said.
Asked if he would still push the bill if Chandler were elected, Hastert responded: "I made a commitment to Alice. I certainly hope that she would be there to see the fruition of it."
Later, speaking to about 200 people, Hastert said he and the Congressional leadership will work with Kerr but that he couldn't say the same thing about Chandler.
"I need Alice Forgy Kerr in Congress," he said. "So I'm willing to do what I have to to help. And I'm asking you to do what you have to do to make this happen."