Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why Dan Quayle Should Be In The News

The Proto George W. Bush Dan Quayle has not been in the headlines much lately. After misspelling potatoe potato and being mocked mercilessly, he seems to have dropped off the public radar. He is not gone, even though forgotten.

Quayle got a plum gig as chairman of Cereberus which is a billion dollar vulture fund company. They take over dying companies and pick at them like vultures. What they also do is try to get plum governmental contracts for the units that they hold onto.

Let's flash back to 2005. The Republicans were still in charge, the corruption was flowing like toxic waste dumped into a pristine river, and Cereberus had bought $140,000,000 into World Com which helped operate a communications system for the Navy and Marines that worked about as well as George W. Bush's Iraq strategy.

They were about to get dumped. What to do, what to do? Could they fix their system to make it work better? Or...
One day after a New York investment group raised $110,000 for Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis, the House passed a defense spending bill that preserved $160 million for a Navy project critical to the firm. The man who protected the Navy money? Lewis.

Both Lewis and the investment company, Cerberus Capital Management, benefited from the relationship. Eighteen months after the fundraiser and the House vote, Lewis won the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee. He acknowledges that the fundraising efforts of Cerberus "played a very significant role" in winning the post. The ties between Cerberus and Lewis, a 14-term congressman from Redlands, Calif., have not been publicly examined before.

In the opinion of Larry Noble, executive director of the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, the timing of the fundraiser within days of a favorable vote "looks like influence buying." Noble is a former chief lawyer for the Federal Election Commission.

None of the people connected to Cerberus had ever given money to either Lewis or his political action committee before the fundraiser or the vote on the bill Lewis sponsored, a USA TODAY analysis of their political contributions shows.

That looks highly unethical. One would hope that a federal attorney would look into potential corruption by a congress member. It looks like a case of quid pro quo, greenlighting a buggy system that makes our military less effective during a time of war.

Who was the US Attorney for the region that Jerry Lewis' district is in. Oh, that's right, it's Carol Lam. What ever happened to her? There were reports that Carol Lam was investigating Jerry Lewis. It's a damned shame she resigned her position before she could complete this investigation. Because not only was a sitting congressman under the spotlight regarding bribery, but a former Vice President of the United States helped run the company that bundled money to him.

The day news broke that a federal corruption probe in Southern California was spreading to Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis, the chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales fired off an e-mail to the White House about the federal prosecutor who had begun the investigation.

"The real problem we have right now is Carol Lam," D. Kyle Sampson told White House Deputy Counsel William Kelley on May 11. "That leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

There is some mention in the press of how Carol Lam was targeting Jerry Lewis, but Dan Quayle's firm really doesn't get much mention. Here is to hoping that this "oversight" doesn't continue. What role did Dan Quayle have to play with the bundling of the "donation" to Lewis? Any intrepid reporters out there willing to look? Dan Quayle gave $2,500 to Lewis' PAC "Future Leaders Political Action Committee" on 7/22/03. It is one of the largest donations he has made in the past decade. Funny that.