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Mont. Senate: A Birthday Ba$h for Conrad Burns

UPDATE: Burns apparently thought better of holding his birthday party/fundraiser at a lobbying firm.  He announced today the event would now be held at the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- a seemingly more appropriate choice of venue.  Check out Hotline's On Call blog for the details.

Original Post From This Morning:

The last year hasn't been Sen. Conrad Burns's (R-Mont.) best. 

Democrats have clobbered him over his connections to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, he has had to fend off rumors that he is considering retirement, and a recent independent poll showed his lead dwindling over two potential Democratic rivals.

So what better way for Burns to spend his 71st birthday than at a fundraiser sponsored by Cassidy & Associates -- a leading lobbying shop in the nation's capital?

Burns will do just that next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET, according to an invitation for the event obtained by The Fix.  The party will be held at Cassidy's offices in downtown Washington, D.C.  To serve as a "host" for the event, a donation of $2,000 per political action committee and $1,000 per individual is required. Attendance at the event requires a $1,000 PAC donation or $500 individual contribution.

Burns's campaign chairman, Mark Baker, did not return a call seeking a guest list for the fundraiser, but he did issue a statement on behalf of the campaign:

"This fundraiser is no different then others the campaign has had in D.C.," Baker said. "The campaign prepays for all expenses of these events and fully reports all contributions. Senator Burns doesn't operate on the philosophy of guilt by association."

Through Sept. 30, Burns had raised $4.2 million for his reelection, with $1.6 million of that total (38 percent) coming from political action committee donations -- not an surprising amount for a sitting senator. In his statement, Baker said the campaign had a "very successful" final quarter of fundraising  but is not "resting on our laurels going into the 2006 election year."

Phil Singer, communications director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, cast the Burns birthday event as a case of deja vu all over again: "Conrad Burns apparently didn't learn the lesson that you don't touch a hot stove twice."

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 19, 2006; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

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Posted by: free gay sex movies | May 2, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Hi I wanted to point out that Cassidy Associates hired Jack Abramoff after he left Greenberg Traurig. Why Senator Burns would hold a fundraiser at Cassidy with all the bad press about him befuddles me.

Posted by: Michael | January 20, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Tom Daschle is a lobbyist. His wife is a lobbyist. And he is actually considering running for president. It gets better and better. There is a great picture of Hillary Clinton getting on a Bellsouth corporate plane to Nantucket. It will be next year's Christmas card.

Posted by: Karen | January 19, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone see anything wrong with Nancy Pelosi's deputy chief of staff becoming a lobbyist on the day she announces reforms? Hmmm. Abramoff actually gave hundred of thousands of dollars to the senatorial campaign committee. HE also helped pay for Clinton inaugural, as well as Bush's. Congressman Jefferson's, a democrat, aide pleaded guilty and implicated his boss in the African bribery scandal. The FBI search of Jefferson's house almost missed the $90,000 in the freezer. Harry Reid got a meeting and money from a tribe, and voted their way 2 days later. Please, please make ethics an issue. The republicans will have so many commercials with Jefferson making the National Guard take him to his house during hurricane Katrina recovery to get his "papers". Will it come out that COngressman Murtha's brother has gotten millions in lobbying fees for securing Pentagon contracts that Murtha earmarked?

Posted by: Karen | January 19, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse


as for the "quid pro quo" issue ... In the business world this happens all of the time ... taking your client golfing ... taking your client to a football game, etc. But these people are not elected officials. Basically I think Congress should be under the same scrutiny that all NCAA athletes ... If you're caught receiving any sort personal compensation you get booted.

Posted by: KTC | January 19, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Ofcourse if anyone is indicted and found guilty ... case closed (no pun intended). But being under investigation is a very gray area. Sometimes a person can get labeled corrupt because another person/group demanded that he/she be investigated even though the reasons for investigating were over-embelished.

I say that anyone that hasn't returned the donations from Abramoff should automatically forfeit their seat in Congress, Republican or Democrat. As for any of the people indicted and found guilty they should see some time in jail.

Posted by: KTC | January 19, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | Jan 19, 2006 1:34:55 PM Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | Jan 19, 2006 1:42:06 PM |

Ha Ha. Nice try.

KTC, do you think that quid pro quo should be legal? B/c that is why Burns is under investigation. Just wondrin'.

He is obv innocent until proven guilty, but he is also clearly a friend or associate of all of the big names in the culture of corruption, so should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted if he is found guilty in a court of law.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | January 19, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse


yeah ... being "under investigation" is exactly like being charged with a crime. That's right people if you're "under investigation" game-set-match you are guilty! And watch out guys, dont except gifts from anyone, not even your mother ... you might find yourself "under investigation".

Posted by: KTC | January 19, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Proof? they provided proof that oj was innocent, do you believe that? so much for our system of 'proof'.

When politicians charge money to eat with them or to 'discuss the issues' with them, there is something wrong. it ain't just republicans and it ain't just democrats. its the system we allow to continue. I don't know of any homeless, or 'welfare queens' who can afford $1,000.00 a plate to sit at a table with conrad or max. but hey, these poor people deserve what they get right? if they ain't got the dough, they don't deserve squat right?

Posted by: John from Rocky Boy Montana | January 19, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse


Dave,

Do you know how much I had to through to find you that google link. It took 10 seconds ... easily. A person that can google like me only comes along once maybe twice a second.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | January 19, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Dave,

Obviously you can see that I'm a moonbat liberal that allows MoveOn.org to do my research. I'm too lazy sitting in front of my computer to actually come up with it myself.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | January 19, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Dave:

http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2006/01/18/news/local/news04.txt
Former Burns aide confirms Super Bowl trip is under investigation
By JENNIFER McKEE of the Missoula State Bureau

HELENA - A former top aide to Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., has confirmed that Justice Department investigators are looking into a 2001 Super Bowl trip attended by two Burns staffers and organized by confessed felon Jack Abramoff.

"That whole trip has been the subject of investigation," Will Brooke, Burns' former chief of staff, told the Lee Newspapers State Bureau. "Investigators have requested that we not discuss those interviews."

...

Burns has come under scrutiny for taking two controversial stands supporting Abramoff clients. In 2001, the senator voted against stiffer immigration and labor laws on the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. The vote came after Burns received a $5,000 campaign contribution from an Abramoff client who hired the lobbyist to defeat the bill. He had earlier supported an identical bill.

In 2003, Burns fought for a $3 million grant for Michigan's wealthy Saginaw Chippewa tribe. The grant came over the objections of the Department of the Interior, which initially concluded the tribe was ineligible for the money.

----------

but it doesnt end there. of course, im not going to do all your dirt digging for you. theres plenty to go around:

http://news.google.com/news?q=conrad%20burns%20investigation&sourceid=mozilla-search&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&sa=N&tab=wn

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | January 19, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

If he is so clean why are the American Indian tribes refusing to take the money he's trying to unload.He knows he's a thief and should be removed from office today.

Posted by: Tom | January 19, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The difference between The Abramoff Right and legal political fundraising is that with legal fundraising there is no quid pro quo. The Dems policy is written by and for the people, the constituents. The GOP policies are written by and for special interest clients who buy votes and wield the power of their money. That is why the Republicans don't understand the "Culture of Corruption." To them it's just business as usual. The sooner we get Exxon, Halliburton, pharma industry, etc out of Washington D.C. the better we will all be.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | January 19, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Ok, where is the proof of any wrong doing? I don't see anything Burns has done that is illegal. Is he under investigation by anyone other than the media, please fill me in on any illegal action he has done. And don't forget, hersay is not proof.

Posted by: Dave | January 19, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Senator Burns connections to Abramoff are well substantiated. He is widely known as one of the Senators closest to Abramoff and the actions he has taken regarding public policy because of that closeness. That is why he is in trouble not for any legal fundraisers.

Posted by: Jason | January 19, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Do I hear this right? Conrad Burns is the only Senator/Congressman/Govenor/Mayor/any politician to take campaign contributions? Wow, if you want to persucute this politician, than you have to accuse all of them. Every single one.

Posted by: BBy | January 19, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

To answer your question BMF, absolutely yes. Public financing of campaigns is long overdue.

Posted by: Jason | January 19, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

It's unfair to single out just Conrad Burns for his campaign committee's efforts to legally raise funds that are then publicy disclosed.

These fundraisers occur all over the country EVERYDAY in our political system.

Would you prefer taxpayer funded campaigns?

Posted by: BMF | January 19, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Kim!

Yes, it is time for MT's beloved Conrad to go. 17 years ago he ran on a term limits platform.

The "bad form" you see here is evidence of just how much is wrong with our national political system. I'd love to see all the money raised go into a communal pot from which each candidate for the particular office got an equal share. Now THAT would make things interesting!

What galls me personally is that the congressmen and women of all stripes think that this is O.K. because "everybody's doing it"!!! Where is the adult thinking in that phrase?

You might want to check Molly Ivins' latest posts on AlterNet. She's right on the money when she says we need to reform NOW and keep on reforming. These are powerful people back in DC and they need a lot of restraining if we're going to get any work out of them that benefits the nation as a whole rather than the special interest groups funding birthday parties for folks who can dang well afford to pay for it themselves.

I apologize for both Conrad AND Max Baucus, our two senators from MT. They're both way too keyed into "financial support for their campaigns" instead of concentrating on the issues before them as far as governance is concerned. Their good intentions and focus have been corrupted BIG TIME.

Posted by: Joe | January 19, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Kirk, you conveniently negelect to mention that "Abramoff's clients" are not accused of any wrongdoing but are groups such as Indian tribes who are victims of Abramoff's deceipt. It is Abramoff and other Republican operatives such as Ralph Reed who are guilty, not the Indian Tribes that some Democrats may have accepted money from. The Democrats have long been interested in making lives better for the Indians so it should be no surprise that some Indian Tribes donate to them. That has nothing to do with what the corruption allegations with Abramoff. The fact that Democrats accepted zero donations from Abramoff who is a Republican operative and gave money to Republicans should tell you all you need to know.

Posted by: Jason | January 19, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Kirk: you say "The demos took in 40% of the loot from Abramoff's clients." Sources, please.

Posted by: lpdrjk | January 19, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

KIM-Brilliant comment. So as long as they are not"connected" to Abramoff they do no sin, in your eyes?

HYPOCRITE!!! The demos took in 40% of the loot from Abramoff's clients. They are all guilty.We can't let any off them off the hook.

I hope it doesn't rain on your glass house, it is full of holes.

Posted by: Kirk | January 19, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse


I'd like to remind Tim that Diane Feinstein isn't under the scope for the Abramoff sins, as Burns is.

C. Burns should retire and let some young blood have a chance.

Posted by: Kim | January 19, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

That's interesting. Cassidy and Associates is where Jack Abramoff went after he was fired by Greenberg Trauig and Team Abramoff members Todd Boulanger and Jim Hirni are currently Senior Vice Presidents. That looks real good.

Posted by: Jim | January 19, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

You are a moron. Republicans and DEMOCRATS have these fundraisers all the time. There will are literally hundreds each month. Do your research!!! Tom Daschle is hosting one for Diane Feinstein on January 24th - $1000 per person. Do you write about that? No! Clear cut case of liberal bias at the Post.

Posted by: Tim | January 19, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Senator Conrad Burns is the ultimate "Brezhnev Republican."

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 19, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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