Wednesday, June 20, 2007

All in the Kanjo family

Rep. Kanjorski has a lot of nephews- Above Average Jane

He sure does. Jane pointed this story out last night and it showed up in the CV this morning via The Politico. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington published a comprehensive list Monday of the leading 337 members of the House who have employed their relatives in some capacity or whose family members have become registered lobbyists.

Our own Paul Kanjorski gets a mention as does 2 other PA Congressmen John Murtha and Bill Shuster. This practice doesn't bother me as much as the earmarks for Cornerstone Technologies that directed taxpayer money to a company that was run by the same nephews that he put on his campaign payroll. No laws were apparently broken in the Cornerstone fiasco but it sure doesn't pass the smell test.

Hiring your relatives to work on your campaign comes across as unseemly but not illegal. After all his last few reelection efforts consisted of writing checks to Ed Mitchell. I'd like to get a job like that. Paying yourself rent from campaign contributions for office space gives the appearance of another conflict but again is technically legal. Kanjorski claims he loses money on the arrangement and gave a lame excuse that he fears important mail from the Federal Election Commission might get lost if he moved. Why do I have more faith in the post office to forward mail than he does?


Anonymous said...

The list is very stupid becuase its not bad to have a relativ who is a lobbysit.
I have no problem with fmaily members being hired on campaigns as long as it is out in the open. lets say my sister wanted to run for something, and I want to whole hardingly help ger woin that i am willing to quit my job and work on her camapign and take money just to live, Also factor in the fact that I have decent credentials. also there would be nothing wrong with her hiring me as staff considering A) i would be loyal and i am ell qualified as long as it is all in the open. Bobby Kennedy was high up ion the campaign and I think he had apostion in his brother's administration but i am not sure

I have a smaller problem with nitpicking at members who have relatives who are lobbyist, If your dad is a congressman there is chance you may intersted in government so you become a lobbysit becuase it would look worse if you got a job with another member becuase it would seem ur dad got it for u. Also there are numerous cases where the relative lobbysit is a spouse and that is how they ended up meeting.
lets look at Congressman patrick murphy whoes brother has been W-B City Admin 3 years beofre his bro ran for congress, If his brother never ran for Congress it would surpise me knowing JJ's talents that he could move to Dc and work as a lobbysit for ameircan Asociation of mayors. Then Patrick murphy would be put on this list. Good people like Ron Paul are getting thrown into list woith the likes of Murtha and Kanjorski

AboveAvgJane said...

Just having a relative who is a lobbyist is not the problem. It's having a relative whose job is to lobby you or other members of a committee you are on. If you work in an office and two people are selling girl scout cookies for their kids. One is your boss's nephew and the other is unrelated, who are you going to buy from? You can say that no pressure was exerted but just the fact that it is the boss's nephew can be seen as pressure. But if the nephew works in another department and sells cookies there those people wouldn't feel as pressured. So being a lobbyist is less troublesome than directly lobbying your relative or others on your relative's committee.

Anonymous said...

ABJ, I pretty much agree, but the list does not differenitate between say Congressman X's son being a good lobbysist and Pelosi's and hastars' sons getting all sorts of perks

AboveAvgJane said...


Good point, as is your point about people in the same family having an interest in public policy. Former Congressman Shuster is a lobbyist for transportation interests. That makes sense as it was something he specialized in. One of his sons is now in Congress and specializing in transportation. Another son is a lobbyist as well. But I do think people need to avoid the appearance of favoritism (Caesar's wife, and all that). This is where former Rep. Curt Weldon got into trouble. His daughter and a former aide formed a lobbying firm that primarily lobbied Weldon. That just looks bad. It looks bad no matter what side of the aisle you are on. It also contributes to a decreasing sense of fairness in our democracy. We all need to think our concerns can be heard and that we can help elect honest people into office. Political dynasties, whether in office or in related industries, contribute to a general appearance of elitism and exclusion.