From the Washington Post. Here’s how the story opens:
In years past, when the House has recessed for its winter break, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has decamped for warmer climates and a sailing trip to the Caribbean with some of the city’s top lobbyists, including Henry Gandy of the well-connected Duberstein Group and Timothy McKone of SBC Communications.
Then, there’s this on Blunt:
Just hours after Blunt was named to the House’s third-highest leadership job in 2002, he unsuccessfully tried to insert a measure benefiting Philip Morris into the 475-page bill creating the Department of Homeland Security. Blunt’s ties to the company are thick: He was very close to a company lobbyist, Abigail Perlman, at the time, and married her in 2003. She does not lobby Congress. One of his sons, Andrew B. Blunt, lobbies the Missouri legislature for Philip Morris.
Blunt has intervened in legislation on behalf of United Parcel Service of America Inc. and Federal Express Corp. Andrew Blunt represented UPS in Missouri at the time. And the senior Blunt brokered a deal with Rep. Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.) to fight for a vote on legislation that could open the door to Food and Drug Administration regulation of tobacco, a top priority of Philip Morris, because it is far ahead of rivals in designing products likely to gain FDA support….
Blunt, who modeled his political career on DeLay’s, has extensive ties to the Washington lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group, which announced this week it has been so hobbled by its association with Abramoff that it is closing. Blunt, whose name appears as a “Friend of Owner” on a list Abramoff maintained of lawmakers who could dine at his restaurant for free, announced this month that he would donate $8,500 to charity that Abramoff and his wife had donated to his political action committee.
And this on Boehner:
Boehner’s most famous act of the sort also involved the tobacco industry: In 1995, he distributed checks from tobacco political action committees to members on the House floor….
Boehner’s political action committee has received $31,500 from Indian tribes represented by Abramoff, money Boehner strenuously maintains should in no way be connected to the lobbyist.
“I’ve never taken an Abramoff dollar,” he said…
And like Blunt, Boehner has been known to accept the largess of companies with ties to his legislative agenda. The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland reported that in 2004, a lobbyist for student loan giant Sallie Mae, one of the biggest companies affected by the Education Committee, hosted a fundraising dinner for his leadership PAC, where a majority of the company’s top executives wrote checks for the event.