The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 November 2004

The annoyance of having Ernest

Yours truly has generally believed that Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK 5), were he to leave office, would not, in fact, create a vacancy; his absence, in fact, would probably strengthen the rest of the Oklahoma Congressional delegation.

Apparently he has no qualms about screwing over his fellow Republicans. Yesterday Congress passed a spending bill which had a provision way down in the fine print that would give the Appropriations committee chairmen in both the House and the Senate the right to examine income-tax returns without regard to existing privacy rules, a provision which Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called the "Istook amendment."

Congressional Republicans, thoroughly embarrassed, vowed to hold up that spending bill until the provision is struck; Frist went on the Sunday-morning pundit circuit to vow "accountability" against the culprit, though this time he didn't mention Istook by name.

Given what passes for accountability among Republicans in Congress these days, Istook doesn't have anything to worry about; even if he's named as the culprit, some staffer will be sacked and things will be forgotten the next day. But apparently he's wearing out his welcome in his district: running essentially unopposed this year — the Democrats had a sacrificial lamb in place — Istook managed to pull less than two-thirds of the vote. If there's ever a name-brand Democrat in District 5 who can be talked into running... but let's not hold our breath.

(Original story via Joe Gandelman.)

(Update, 22 November, 12 noon: Joshua Micah Marshall notes the differences between Istook's description of the paragraph and the actual text inserted into the bill, and covers Istook's attempt at damage control.)

Posted at 5:18 PM to Political Science Fiction


TrackBack: 7:27 AM, 22 November 2004
» No right to privacy...no rights, no privacy from The Anger of Compassion
It seems that the Republicans, the party of "limited" (heh) government, would like their committee chaircritters in Congress to enjoy unlimited access to your -- that's your income tax records. For whatever reason. Nice, eh? Here's Joshua Marshall on i......[read more]

Nice title.

Posted by: Tig at 5:58 PM on 21 November 2004

Are you sure there isn't an initial 'M' on that guy's last name?

Posted by: McGehee at 7:01 PM on 21 November 2004