I never thought that I would agree with Joe “You Lie” Wilson about anything, but we live and learn. Wilson was in Missouri this weekend turning his new, fringe-wing celebrity status into dollars at a Springfield fundraiser for Roy Blunt. When at one point he declared, ostensibly about Democrats or the Obama administration, that “we need to watch them like a hawk,” he had me — only we disagree on who the proverbial hawk-like observer needs to be watching.
One of my targets of choice would be Roy “Big Lobby Bucks” Blunt himself — and I am apparently not alone. On the one hand, Blunt is being accused by his would-be Republican challenger for Kit Bond’s Senate seat, Chuck Purgason, of taking more in pay-outs from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac PACs than anyone else in Congress. I assume that since Fannie and Freddie are favorite Republican targets, this accusation is calculated to cause bigger shudders in winger circles than simple over-indulgence in lobbyist largess. On the other hand, the Kansas City Star reports on claims by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity that:
…Blunt, a Missouri Republican, was the lone member of the Congressional leadership to participate in a controversial method of providing earmarks to those represented by former-staffers-turned lobbyists.
…former staffers become lobbyists for firms seeking earmarks; the Representatives secure earmarks for the companies those lobbyists represent, and the contractors and/or the lobbyists send campaign contributions to those members of Congress.
None of these accusations prove that Blunt has done anything actually illegal … but there is illegal and there is just plain wrong. To paraphrase Joe, you gotta watch him like a hawk.