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NATIONAL
January 20, 2009 | Josh Meyer
In one of his final acts in office, President Bush on Monday commuted the controversial prison terms of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting an unarmed Mexican drug smuggler who fled across the Rio Grande, away from a van loaded with 743 pounds of marijuana.
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NATIONAL
December 11, 2009 | By Richard Simon
Getting into the holiday spirit, the House of Representatives on Thursday approved a spending bill loaded with goodies for the folks back home. Trails for Monterey Bay. An arts pavilion for Mississippi. Bus shelters for Bellflower. In all, the bill contains 5,224 earmarks costing about $3.9 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group. Though Democrats say they have cracked down on pork-barrel spending, critics attacked the bill as excessive. "Clearly, the earmark culture has not been swept away," Brian M. Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, blogged Thursday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2006 | Ashley Powers and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
A federal grand jury conducting a criminal investigation has subpoenaed San Bernardino County records related to a Washington lobbying firm with close ties to Rep. Jerry Lewis, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, according to federal documents. Federal investigators are looking into the relationship between Lewis (R-Redlands) and a Washington lobbyist linked to disgraced former Rep.
NATIONAL
April 28, 2006 | Richard Simon, Times Staff Writer
House Republican leaders overcame a rift within party ranks Thursday to clear the way for passage of legislation to tighten ethics and lobbying rules, a key to the GOP effort to repair Congress' image before the November elections. The bill narrowly cleared a procedural hurdle, but only after Republican leaders scrambled to bring together their rank and file to avoid an embarrassing setback on one of their priorities.
NATIONAL
March 9, 2006 | Maura Reynolds, Times Staff Writer
Senators would have to go Dutch when wining and dining with lobbyists under a provision approved Wednesday as part of a pending ethics reform bill. Senators are currently permitted to let lobbyists pick up the tab for meals worth less than $50, and the bill as originally written would have required public disclosure by the lawmakers of such payments.
NATIONAL
May 11, 2006 | Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
A popular state legislator conceded Wednesday that he lacked the "fire in the belly" to challenge fellow Republican Katherine Harris for a U.S. Senate seat, apparently clearing the way for the beleaguered poster girl of the 2000 presidential recount to challenge Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. State Speaker of the House Allan G. Bense had been courted by Gov.
NATIONAL
March 2, 2006 | Mary Curtius, Times Staff Writer
Two key senators begin their bipartisan push today for creating an office of public integrity, a proposal that would significantly alter the way Congress investigates itself. Under the measure sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the panel's ranking Democrat, the new office could initiate probes of House and Senate members suspected of ethics violations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2005 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
A Superior Court judge on Friday declared unconstitutional a July ballot measure aimed at preventing the removal of a cross atop Mt. Soledad, the latest twist in a 16-year court battle. Judge Patricia Y. Cowett invalidated the voter-approved measure that would have kept the 43-foot-tall cross in place by transferring the city-owned land to the federal government so the site can become a national monument.
NATIONAL
March 15, 2007 | Richard A. Serrano, Times Staff Writer
The day news broke that a federal corruption probe in Southern California was spreading to Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis, the chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales fired off an e-mail to the White House about the federal prosecutor who had begun the investigation. "The real problem we have right now is Carol Lam," D. Kyle Sampson told White House Deputy Counsel William Kelley on May 11.
NATIONAL
May 4, 2006 | Faye Fiore, Times Staff Writer
Hoping to stem the political damage from a spate of embarrassing scandals, the House voted Wednesday to tighten rules governing lobbyists but stopped short of a ban on free trips or gifts for lawmakers. The close vote on the measure -- 217 to 213, largely along party lines -- reflected criticisms by Democrats that the bill, intended to address Congress' ethically tarred image, would do little to change the way business is conducted on Capitol Hill.
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