New mainstream = secretive group that targets GOP?

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Orrin Judd points us to an editorial posted to The Hill that excoriates Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an interest group that promotes greater transparency in politics but, as the editorial points out, doesn’t much believe in transparency for itself. As the editorial also points out, the group tends to target Republican lawmakers.

What does this have to do with Houston?

As it turns out, this secretive group that targets Republicans played a role in helping Chris Bell (D) file his ethics complaint against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) after Bell lost his Congressional primary to Democrat Al Green in a redrawn district:

Chris Bell

CREW assisted former Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas) in drafting a complaint against Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) that resulted in the majority leader’s admonishment by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

More on CREW’s role is revealed by liberal columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel:

CREW proved its mettle when it used the ethics process in the House to expose House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s corrupt activities (including allegedly bribing his Republican colleagues to win their votes for the GOP’s sham Medicare legislation, engaging in quid pro quos with corporations seeking legislative favors and violating campaign finance laws in Texas in 2002.) Sloan discussed filing a complaint against DeLay with members of the House, but nobody bit. But then, Chris Bell, the Congressman from Texas whom DeLay had effectively redistricted out of his seat, phoned her. He agreed to take the complaint to the Ethics Committee.

A former Assistant US Attorney from 1998 to 2003, Sloan drafted the complaint as if “I was writing an indictment.” After Bell and Sloan traded several drafts, the complaint was filed.

It’s always good to know which interest groups constitute “the new mainstream.”

UPDATE: Betty Friedan, Howard Metzenbaum, and Jim Hightower lend their names to a different group that seems to be clamoring to be part of “the new mainstream” also.

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