Monday, January 30, 2006

GOPers Urge White House to Release Abramoff Info

There are still a few Republicans in Washington with a little bit of sense. As the LATimes reports this morning, several lawmakers yesterday urged the White House to abandon its silly and ridiculous position of refusing to release the "grip and grin" photographs of Bush with Jack Abramoff, as well as other records regarding meetings between Abramoff and Bush's staff. At this point, everyone knows they exist, and continued stonewalling from the Administration only makes it a bigger story - if they're released, they show up on the front page and then they disappear (alright, except from left-wing blogs and every window at DNC HQ).

Senator John Thune (SD) said that he didn't think the photos should be released, and then inexplicably said that records of meetings should be, because "I'm one who believes that more is better … when it comes to disclosure and transparency, so I'd be a big advocate for making records that are out there available." Now to my mind that also includes the pictures ... but baby steps. Rep. Mike Pence took the same position as Thune.

On "This Week," Senator Chuck Hagel (NE), went a little further: "My personal opinion on these things is to just get it out. If you've got pictures, get the pictures out. Disclosure is the real issue. Whether it's campaign finance issues, whether it's ethics issues, whether it's lobbying issues, disclosure is the best and most effective way to deal with all of these things." While I don't agree with Hagel that disclosure is the cure-all he seems to think it is, he's right about the pictures and the release of records in this case.

Perhaps (maybe even probably) the Administration is just waiting until after the State of the Union to release the photos in order to keep them off the front page and get the speech a little bit of coverage. We'll soon see.


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