Frustration between the House and the Justice Department stems in part from the probe of lobbyist Jack Abramoff
Mr. Abramoff in January pleaded guilty to trying to bribe members of Congress, and has been cooperating with federal investigators. Much of the evidence that has emerged suggests Mr. Abramoff curried favor with lawmakers by shoving cash from his clients into their campaign accounts, providing flashy accommodations for fund-raisers, such as his own downtown restaurant or skyboxes for football or basketball games, and paying for expensive trips abroad.
For many lawmakers, the investigation seems to be moving from the most egregious practices of a few members to criminalizing some basic fund-raising and lobbying techniques. “There is widespread belief on the Hill that the Justice Department is out of control with this idea that campaign contributions equals bribery,” noted one Republican close to the caucus.
Well, it’s this thing called the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as McCain-Feingold. And those members of Congress who voted for it are the ones who criminalized “basic fund-raising and lobbying techniques.” The FBI is simply enforcing the law Congress passed. Again, we have more members of Congress who think they are exempt from the laws they pass.