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  Lobbying Colors GOP [Leader] Contest
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Last EditedArmyDem  Jan 11, 2006 01:03am
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MediaNewspaper - Washington Post
News DateWednesday, January 11, 2006 07:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionRivals for DeLay Post No Strangers to K St.

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 11, 2006; Page A01

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.

Over the summer, they discussed a trip for this year as well, Boehner said yesterday, but last week the lobbyists weighed anchor without him, content to communicate by telephone while the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee rushed to Washington for a high-stakes run to succeed Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) as House majority leader.

The annual vacation, dubbed a "boys' trip" by detractors, points to an issue underlying the current House leadership race: Both Boehner and his rival for majority leader, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), have extensive ties to the same K Street lobbying world that stained DeLay's reputation and spawned the Abramoff corruption scandal.

"Do I have K Street friends? Yes, I do," Boehner said. "Do I have relationships with them? Yes. And every one of them is an ethical relationship."

In another year, that answer might have sufficed, given how many lawmakers maintain such cordial ties. But with all of Congress anxiously awaiting the testimony of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his partner, former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon, the atmosphere has changed.
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