WASHINGTON -- House Republicans, wounded by lobbyist scandals, have called on the House Ethics Committee to investigate more than 10 Democratic members headed by Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Nydia Velazquez of New York.
Schakowsky's husband, consumer advocate Robert Creamer, has been indicted in a check-kiting scheme. The Republicans contend that because she signed tax returns with him, she should be investigated by the Ethics Committee.
Velazquez is accused of violating House ethics guidelines by using her congressional office to endorse Judge Margarita Lopez Torres as Brooklyn Surrogate Court judge.
Democrats on the Ethics Committee are no more eager to explore these cases than Republicans are to investigate their accused colleagues. The only House committee evenly divided by party, Ethics is currently immobilized.
Sen. Arlen Specter, an unyielding Republican advocate of abortion rights, last Monday addressed more than 100 anti-abortion protesters from his state of Pennsylvania who had just participated in Washington's 33rd annual March for Life.
To the dismay of pro-life activists, Specter insisted on attending a reception for the marchers at the Capitol Hill Club. Before Specter arrived, he was lavishly praised by Pennsylvania's anti-abortion Republican Sen. Rick Santorum. Specter's performance as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said Santorum, "was wonderful and very, very key to Judge [Samuel] Alito's confirmation" for the Supreme Court.
Santorum, facing a tough re-election challenge, was criticized by his conservative base when he supported Specter's renomination in 2004. Pro-lifers at the reception did not object to Santorum's remarks, but several left the room when Specter began to speak. Specter declared he would not be there as a U.S. senator were it not for Santorum.
The nation's Republican mayors, in a closed-door White House meeting last week, nearly unanimously supported the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo decision permitting local governments to force property owners to sell or give way to private developers.
The GOP mayors, in Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting, heard a report on the Kelo decision by Dearborn, Mich., Mayor Michael A. Guido. Chairman of the conference's advisory board, Guido opposed undermining the Supreme Court's ruling.
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