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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Nuclear Option: A Tangled Web in Ohio

Posted by Tim Tagaris

When the infamous middle of the night passage of the Medicare bill happened in Congress, part of the fallout was the story told by Nick Smith (R-MI) about GOP leaders strong-arming him to change his vote their way by using support for his son's election bid as the lever.

Smith stood firm and voted against the bill, which passed by five votes on Nov. 22. But shortly afterward he leveled an explosive charge: Unnamed lawmakers and business interests had promised substantial amounts of money to his son's congressional campaign if Smith voted for the bill and had threatened to support other candidates if he did not change his vote.
Fast-forward to Ohio, and the impending nuclear option. According the the Cincinnati Post, Senator Mike DeWine has not indicated which way he will move in the event that Bill Frist pushes the button. But what is interesting, is the amount of contributions his son, Pat DeWine, has received from U.S. Senators in his contested primary for the open in seat in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:
What does U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi care about Hamilton County? Here's a surprise: $5,000 worth. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska cares $3,000 worth, and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah spent $1,000 on the southwest corner of Ohio.

All three Republican senators made large donations through their political action committees to the Hamilton County Commission campaign of Pat DeWine last year. So did other Washington-area individuals and groups. Campaign finance reports show DeWine collected about $50,000 from senators, PACs and individuals outside Hamilton County for his primary defeat of John Dowlin.

Trent Lott, as we all know, is right at the center of the nuclear option debate. Looking back at Republican tactics to use family members to force a member's vote a certain way on key votes, this is a question that should be investigated. After all, referring to the Nick Smith situation, even Newt Gingrich conceded:
And Republicans were mounting a defense, with former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) telling C-SPAN that Smith was "a disgruntled retiring member" who was the victim of nothing more than the usual treatment in a close vote.
Time to start asking more quesitons.

Posted at 03:06 PM in Ohio | Technorati


who was the victim of nothing more than the usual treatment in a close vote.

So bribery is a common GOP practice - we knew that. As a poster on DKos said recently, lies are the new truth.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 21, 2005 03:55 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It seems like a bit of a stretch to suggest a quid pro quo here, particularly since Hagel himself is still on the fence on the nuclear option. He seems an unlikely candidate to be twisting a colleague's arm to the tune of $3,000.

Posted by: Steve M [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 21, 2005 06:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment