To kick off the 2006 campaign, Washington lawmakers this week are hoisting the "ethics reform" standard. If voters are wondering whether Congress can rally to save itself from temptation, developments in a Tennessee political-corruption scandal that resembles the Abramoff affair aren't encouraging.
Clips from my work.
In his State of the State speech on Tuesday, New Jersey Acting Governor Richard Codey announced new funding for one of his favorite projects, the New Jersey Stem Cell Institute. How will a state that borrowed $2.3 billion to plug this year's budget and faces a $4 billion deficit next year pay for it? Borrow, of course, so that future budgets are obligated to fund it.
The acting governor promised to spend $150 million of unspent bond money to build the research center and plans to ask voters to approve an additional $230 million in new bonds for grants at the institute.
Used to be that money was the bell cow foretelling a campaign's priorities. Want to know which states are critical for an Electoral College win? Look at where a candidate spends his booty. But in an era of close races and hanging chads, a better indicator is where the lawyers hang out before Election Day.