Senator Arlen Specter defended himself and a member of his staff on Thursday after the disclosure that clients of a lobbyist married to the staff member had received money through the senator's actions.Yeesh. If it’s not attributable to a blatant conflict of interest, it sure is quite a coinkydink.
Vicki Siegel Herson, who until recently was Mr. Specter's legislative assistant on the Appropriations Committee, is married to Michael Herson, a top executive of the lobbying firm American Defense International.
Mr. Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and his staff confirmed that six of Mr. Herson's clients received a total of about $50 million over the last four years through items Mr. Specter inserted into military appropriations bills in a process known as "earmarking."
…Mr. Specter said he would conduct a further inquiry into the possibility that Ms. Siegel might have knowingly played a role in allocating federal money to one of her husband's clients.
"That would be a blatant conflict of interest," Mr. Specter said. "I don't think that happened, but I am going to go back and take a look at the specifics of it."
By the end of the day, a spokesman for Mr. Specter said he had decided "voluntarily" to refer the case to the Senate Ethics Committee as well.
But wait for it—the Karl Rove-Approved Stamp of Denial and Obfuscation:
Mr. Specter said that "I think I knew" that Ms. Siegel's husband was a lobbyist, but that he had met him only a few times and might not recognize him "in a crowded room."Don’t know him…wasn’t me…9/11!
…"The allocations in issue went to Pennsylvania companies for items which were important to national defense," Mr. Specter said in a statement.
Is anyone else beginning to seriously entertain the notion that the entire GOP has been secretly replaced with Stepford-style Congressbots?