U.S. Congress

Sen. Harkin Hearkens: Junk Food Marketing "Out of Control"

The new Congress is likely to put new and stronger emphasis on limiting junk food marketing, say aides to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Harkin becomes chair of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in 2007. His aides report that food marketing to children "will be one of our top tier agenda items." In recent years, Harkin futilely has sought to push through legislation toughening Federal Trade Commission authority to regulate junk food marketing.


Let the Campaign Begin: A Rundown of Potential 2008 Presidential Candidates

Guest blogger: Tim Malacarne

With the 2006 midterm elections just a month behind us, many political observers have already turned their attention to the 2008 presidential election. For the first time since 1952, neither the incumbent president or vice-president will be seeking his party’s nomination for the presidency. With such an open field, many politicians on both sides of the spectrum are considering bids. However, rather than run down the same list of likely candidates that everyone else on the web is doing, Congresspedia is going to be keeping track of which definite steps members of Congress and other candidates have taken to run for president. We'll be updating our page on the 2008 presidential election, but here's the current breakdown:

Old Scandals Never Die: The Troubles of Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)

Three weeks ago, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that neither Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) nor Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) would be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in the 110th Congress. The elephant in the room during the weeks of intense speculation before the announcement was Hastings' controversial past.

To properly address the controversy surrounding Hastings, we must go all the way back to 1981; the year Jimmy Carter left the White House and Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court. In that year, Hastings, serving as a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida (he was first appointed in 1979), was indicted for soliciting a bribe from two defendants convicted of robbery in his court. Specifically, the alleged briber promised Hastings $150,000 if he kept the defendants out of prison and returned to them the funds they stole. The prosecution’s key piece of evidence was a transcript from a phone conversation (obtained through a wiretap) between Hastings and his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders. Hastings is heard saying:

"I've drafted all those ah, ah, letters, ah, for him, and everything's okay. The only thing I was concerned with was, did you hear if, ah, hear from him after we talked?"

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) in Critical Condition; Senate Majority Potentially at Stake

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is recovering from surgery at George Washington University Hospital to stop bleeding in his brain caused by an arteriovenous malformation, a condition which causes arteries and veins to grow abnormally large. Johnson's condition was described as "critical" by hospital officials early this morning.

Front Groups Lobbying Spurs Thoughts of Non-Profit Reform

Citing instances where groups like Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Tax Reform have accepted corporate funding to lobby for their donors' causes, journalist Bill Adair explores whether greater disclosure by non-profit groups is warranted.



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