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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Democracy in Action
Some Republican leader tried to bribe a Michigan congressman during the three-hour Medicare vote last week. Nick Smith's district is just to the west of here; he represents my sister, brother-in-law, two nephews, their wives, and numerous friends. Smith didn't cave into the threats and bribe offers, but now he's apparently not talking about who actually made the bribe offer. From Slate:

Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., says that sometime late Nov. 21 or early in the morning Nov. 22, somebody on the House floor threatened to redirect campaign funds away from his son Brad, who is running to succeed him, if he didn't support the Medicare prescription bill. This according to the Associated Press. Robert Novak further reports,

On the House floor, Nick Smith was told business interests would give his son $100,000 in return for his father's vote. When he still declined, fellow Republican House members told him they would make sure Brad Smith never came to Congress. After Nick Smith voted no and the bill passed, [Rep.] Duke Cunningham of California and other Republicans taunted him that his son was dead meat.

So good job, Nick, for not caving. Now, keep up the good work by turning in whoever it was who offered you the bribe. According to the article, Smith has already indicated that it wasn't Speaker of the House Hastert, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, or Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, whose very presence on the House floor that night was in violation of long-standing House lobbying rules.

Perhaps those of you in his district should contact him, thank him for not caving to the pressure and the bribes, and encourage him to turn in the attempted briber(s). Heck, we all should! Smith's contact information is here, or, like everyone in Congress, his office can be reached toll-free through the Congressional switchboard: 800-839-5276. You may want to read the whole Slate article before calling.