Ethics-Go-Round

Posted March 4, 2008 at 6:43pm

House Republicans complained Tuesday that Democrats have not sought their input on an ethics reform measure expected to reach the chamber floor Thursday.

[IMGCAP(1)]The measure, which would establish an Office of Congressional Ethics to initiate ethics investigations and issue recommendations to the full Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, is an attempt to strengthen the chamber’s internal review process.

“Unfortunately, no meetings to discuss the Republican alternative have occurred,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said in a statement.

Republicans have called for an overhaul of the ethics committee rather than the creation of new body.

Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.), the measure’s author, introduced amendments Monday but reiterated Tuesday that he has not sought the approval of House leaders.

“I have no commitment from anybody about anything,” Capuano said.

Mo’ Money, Round Two. House Republicans once again will convene at the Capitol Hill Club for their weekly Conference meeting this morning, and, for the second week in a row, anemic fundraising will be the topic du jour.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.), backed up by his fellow GOP leaders, used last week’s closed-door meeting to scold his colleagues for their lack of participation in raising money for the NRCC’s annual dinner on March 12. As of last week, only 15 House Republicans had met or exceeded their fundraising goals for the dinner.

Internal Hire. After promoting its top lobbyist and D.C. office head more than a year ago, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has filled the vacated position from within.

Ray Bracy, formerly Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of state, federal and international public affairs, is stepping into the role of senior vice president of U.S. government relations.

Although it’s a different title, Bracy actually replaces Lee Culpepper, who last year was dispatched to corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

When Culpepper was first hired as Wal-Mart’s top lobbyist in June 2005, Bracy was Culpepper’s boss. Both now report to Leslie Dach, executive vice president for corporate affairs and government relations.

— Jennifer Yachnin, Lauren W. Whittington and Kate Ackley