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Putting aside the obvious irony of selecting someone from Ohio to clean up the Republican Party's ethical problems, it seems like a good idea to take a look at who John Boehner, the new House Majority Leader, is. Boehner emerged, of course, in a role most had considered destined for Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. Blunt, however, turned out to be too close to outgoing Majority Leader Tom DeLay for comfort, and Republican House members went with a safer choice.
How much safer? Boehner has taken more than $157,000 worth of free trips, placing him 7th among 638 current and former members of Congress in the last five years in acceptance of privately funded travel. Two dozen of his former staff members have gone from working for him to getting jobs as lobbyists or corporate public affairs specialists. Boehner preceded DeLay as the head of the K Street Operation, and, of course, he is famous for handing out tobacco company PAC checks on the floor of Congress.
Boehner is extremely conservative. Here are his ratings on major issues:
NARAL--0% (reproductive rights)
ACLU--7% (civil liberties)
CURE--30% (crime rehabilitation)
NEA--17% (public education)
SANE--22% (military action)
FAIR--0% (immigration advocacy)
US COC--100% (business)
ARA--0% (senior advocacy)
APHA--0% (public health)
His more moderate scores:
CATO--50% (free trade)
NTU--63% (tax reform)