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Congress: The most ethical Congress?

This isn’t the kind of piece you want if you’re a Democrat just five weeks before you might lose the U.S. House: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised four years ago that Democrats would lead ‘the most honest, most open, most ethical Congress in history,’” the AP writes. “But as her party defends its record with its majority in jeopardy, two prominent Democrats await ethics trials. Two other party members gave Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships to relatives. Most importantly, lobbyists, corporations and special interests still have unimpeded ways to buy access to members of Congress.”

And then there’s this from the Republicans… “On April 1, 2008, Rep. Phil Gingrey paid Mitchell Hunter, his former chief of staff, $6,000 for campaign consulting fees. That payment came one day after the Georgia Republican signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting an earmark for the National Center for State Courts, which had recently hired Hunter as a lobbyist,” Roll Call reports.

“Senate Republicans are headed for a showdown over earmark reform in the lame-duck session, with Senators on both sides of the issue preparing for combat on the floor and within the GOP Conference,” Roll Call writes.

Roll Call adds, “Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have become adept at masking their differences of opinion. But when it comes to whether the House should vote this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class, the two leaders have appeared at odds, and up until recently they haven’t seemed to care who knows it.”

Snowe moving right? “Sen. Olympia Snowe is bracing for the possibility of a brutal GOP primary in 2012 after watching as conservative activists turned on Republican moderates and longtime incumbents this year and targeted them for defeat — sometimes successfully. An interview with the Maine Republican on Tuesday revealed her focus on her re-election bid and her recognition that the tea party activism influencing several House and Senate primaries this year could last well beyond this election cycle.”

“Top administration officials were unable to persuade Sen. Mary Landrieu on Tuesday to lift her hold on the nomination of Jacob Lew to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget, making it unlikely that he will be confirmed before the Senate adjourns this week,” Roll Call writes.