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GOP Reform RIP

When the Abramoff scandal erupted a few years ago, you may recall that the Republican Party talked for a while about reforming itself, and scaling back the open policy of shaking down corporations for political donations that they had engaged in since taking control of Congress. I always figured they'd backslide, but I did think they'd at least wait until they actually took control of Congress to do so. But they aren't waiting:

The change comes as top Republicans lawmakers appeal more directly to business leaders, putting them on notice that the GOP is keeping track of the corporate donations ledger and will remember who stood by the party. As part of an effort dubbed "Sell the Fight," House Republican leaders have met privately with corporate executives and lobbyists to argue that their giving has tilted too far toward Democrats and that they need to steer more money to industry-friendly GOP candidates in key races in 2010....
In March, Walden met with 80 corporate PAC leaders at the Capitol Hill Club to appeal for more money. In this pitch and others, Walden said he makes no threats for failing to donate but candidly explains that "we're evaluating giving patterns." He said he showcases the GOP's industry-friendly candidates and urges PAC leaders to cut back on their giving to Democrats by spreading the wealth to GOP contenders.

Huh. "Industry-friendly"? The article puzzles over the fact that the drug industry has been strongly favoring the GOP despite its support for a law Democrats enacted. It's really not much of a mystery. The industry gives to Republicans because they agree with Republicans and realize that republicans will do more to advance their interests. But they realize that they can't keep Democrats out of power all the time, and they need to mitigate the damage Democrats do to them when the Democrats are in power. They're giving money to Republicans to support pro-industry policies, and they're giving to Democrats to minimize anti-industry policies. Of course this doesn't exactly reflect well on Congressional Democrats. But nobody involved buys the idea, peddled by some conservative journalists, that it's really the Democrats who are on the side of big business.