Concerning extortion

The Washington Post reports that the House Democrats are considering filing ethics charges against Michael Oxley for his attempt to extort a job for a Republican from the mutual fund industry’s lobbying group by threatening a tough investigation of some mutual fund misconduct if the group retains a Democrat as chief lobbyist.

Naturally, the Republicans are defending themselves from charges of extortion by resorting to blackmail: threatening to push for an investigation of some technical violations by Nancy Pelosi (she had two PACs when the rules permit only one) if the Democrats go forward with the charges against Oxley.

The story points out that Oxley’s move is part of a long term effort called the “K Street Project,” with its origins in the Gingrich Revolution, to force the Washington lobbying industry to fire Democrats and hire Republicans. I’m delighted the Democrats are finally waking up; I’m still waiting for the Justice Department to impanel a grand jury.

[Earlier post here. Ted Barlow and Kos picked up the story before I did.]

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: