Gotta love how Steny Hoyer handles ethics scandals in the Democrats alleged “most ethical congress ever.”
“I didn’t use that term,” Hoyer said when asked if he thinks Democrats have “drained the swamp.” “What I believed and continue to believe is that we have made the ethics process work, and we have made it work in a meaningful way.”
I guess by “meaningful way” Hoyer means hiring lobbyist and MD Dem chair, Terry Lierman as his chief-of-staff. Lierman, a lobbyist and former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, gave Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) a $25,000 unsecured, open ended loan while his client Schering-Plough Corp. had a patent bill pending before Congress.
But by far the smelliest odor to emerge from this so-called public servant was captured by the Washington Post in a front-page story on October 31. Five days before signing on in June of 1999 to co-sponsor an ultimately unsuccessful bill to extend Schering-Plough Corp.'s patent on Claritin, he took an unsecured $25,000 loan from Terry Lierman, an outside lobbyist for the company. Lierman loaned his longtime friend the dough at 8 percent. The note set no repayment schedule, but it was callable anytime, effectively making Moran a puppet on Lierman's string.
"He'd be unlikely to get those terms at a bank," Keith Leggett, senior economist at the American Bankers Association told the Post. At the time, banks were making similar loans at 12.5 percent. No matter. $25,000 is chump change to Lierman, who's currently running for Congress in Maryland. In 1999, he pulled $1.2 million in salary from the lobbing firm he founded. And the patent extension on the more than $1-a-pop pill that makes life livable in allergy season, meant big bucks to Lierman's client- specifically, $7.3 billion, according to a University of Minnesota study.
Moran, who defends the loan even as he promises to pay it back with yet more money borrowed from family members, obviously wasn't proud of it at the time. At least he wasn't proud enough to it to clear it through the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, a house requirement for gifts of more than $250….
As for the influence, Moran says Lierman never lobbied him on the Claritin bill. Lierman told the Post, "[I] probably did lobby Jim," on the Claritin bill, but he denied there was any connection to the loan. At any rate, on July 23, Moran sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues seeking support for the bill.
Yep, Maryland Democrats they hate lobbyists.