Scandals surrounding Norm Dicks are long, and deep. However, it was a Freedom on Information request by Doug Cloud, involving FBI files from the lobbyist PMA Group that finally caused Dicks to step aside.
Here is a bit of background on the now defunct PMA Group:
- In return for campaign contributions, PMA group clients received over $200 million in contracts.
- In November, 2008 FBI agents raided PMA's offices and removed records of the firm's political action committee and files from some of its employees.
- In January of 2011, Lobbyist Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Role in Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme.
Guess who else is in those FBI files.
If your guess is Norm Dicks, your guess is a good one according to Official Wire, in their version of the story One Of America's Most Powerful Congressmen Suddenly Retires.
At the sentencing U.S. District Court Judge T. S. Ellis III called the scandal "one of the most extensive and long-running campaign finance schemes ever," telling [PMA Group Lobbyist] Magliocchetti, "You made this choice for one reason: greed."
This scandal took down Rep. John Murtha, but, miraculously, Norm Dicks skated again.
And it would have likely stopped then and there if not for the tenacity of a Tacoma lawyer and opponent of Dicks by the name of Doug Cloud. Cloud filed a Freedom of Information Act request that the Obama administration denied during the 2010 congressional race to get more of the records.
But Cloud tenaciously responded to the denial with a lawsuit to compel release of records and files pertaining to the FBI investigation of Congressman Norm Dicks.
Powerful, Corrupt Officials Not Easily Dislodged
At long last, and only out of fear of what is in FBI records on the PMA Group, Norm Dicks decided to throw in the towel and step aside at the end of his term.
I supported Doug Cloud in the last election. He was one of only a handful I gave free space to on my blog.
It was not to be. Corruption and power are not easily dislodged.
Doug Cloud Press Release
I am pleased to report Doug Cloud is once again going after the seat of Norm Dicks according to his this press release.
Doug Cloud today announces his candidacy for Congress in Washington's sixth Congressional District. Doug is seeking the position currently held by retiring 18 term incumbent Norm Dicks.Personal Message From Doug Cloud
In 2010, Cloud received 42% of the votes cast in his race against Dicks. The 2010 campaign, and its aftermath, ended Dicks career. During the 2010 campaign Cloud hammered at Dicks' frequent practice of rewarding campaign contributors and family members with beneficial legislation. He made the link between Congressional "bailouts" and Congressional corruption. Cloud pinned our economic problems on this type of Congressional arrogance.
"Rewarding your favorites in return for campaign cash is bribery. Allowing people like Dicks to take money from those who earned it and give it to those who didn't has ruined our economy. If Congress picks the winners and losers in our economy, we all lose."
In September, 2011, Cloud filed suit against the Department of Justice, seeking to force release of the agency's FBI investigation files pertaining to Dicks' involvement in the huge PMA lobbying and influence buying scandal. Cloud knew that the Department of Justice position, that the files were not a matter of overriding public interest, was indefensible. The only possible way Dicks could keep the files sealed was to return to private life. On March 2, 2012 Dicks made the only decision he could. His career was done. Cloud explained as follows:
"Dicks was no doubt informed by the Department of Justice that they could not keep the files secret while he was the ranking minority member of the Appropriations Committee. He had two choices, stay in Congress and wait for the files to be released, or leave Congress and claim there was no longer a public interest in the investigation reports. He chose the latter."
Doug Cloud knows what our country and economy needs to prosper. Our country needs honest leaders who understand that our economy cannot thrive by stealing from the public and rewarding political insiders.
"True wealth comes from ingenuity and work. Why make the effort if Congress is just going to steal it from you? If you let people thrive on their own, we will all thrive together," Cloud said yesterday.
I was aware of much of this in advance of the Cloud's press release, and asked for for a couple of statements. Here are a few select quotes.
Hello MishCorruption and Blatant Influence Peddling is Why Deficit is Out of Control
The reason I was so persistent on this issue is because this type of corruption is what is really ruining our economy. Selling Congressional votes to the highest bidder leads to economic disaster because our wealth is given to con men and political schemers instead of naturally flowing to those who innovate and create the goods and services the rest of us desire.
The confidence game run on the public by senior members of Congress goes something like this: "Vote for me so I can keep my seniority. If you don't, the federal money spigot will close to this district. You are beholden to me, and don't forget it."
Mr. Dicks was no exception. Today, the type of blatant influence peddling practiced by Dicks, can no longer be tolerated. The economic injustice of bailing out failing businesses on the backs of productive citizens and businesses has nearly brought this country to its' knees.
Doug Cloud is correct. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, no one is served by those taking bribes for votes.
It's time to put an end to corruption and vote buying. Please Support Doug Cloud for representative of Washington State U.S. Congressional District 6, Tacoma and the Olympic Peninsula.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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