The race to replace Rep. Tom DeLay as majority leader began taking shape immediately, with Reps. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the GOP whip, and John Boehner of Ohio, a former member of the leadership, making clear their intentions to run.Back in June 2003, soon after Blunt attempted this back-door maneuver, the Washington Post wrote this article, noting:
... Blunt garnered some controversy when he unsuccessfully tried to slip a measure into the 2002 bill creating the Homeland Security Department that would have benefited tobacco giant Philip Morris. At the time Blunt had a personal relationship with a lobbyist for the company, Abigail Perlman. Blunt divorced his wife of 35 years and married Perlman in 2003.
[Blunt's] provision would have made it harder to sell tobacco products over the Internet and would have cracked down on the sale of contraband cigarettes, two practices that cut into Philip Morris's profits.Four months later, the two were married. (The following year, having divorced his wife and married Perlman, this same congressman declared himself ready to "defend traditional marriage.")
Blunt has received large campaign donations from Philip Morris, his son works for the company in Missouri and the House member has a close personal relationship with a Washington lobbyist for the firm.
It is highly unusual for a House Republican to insert a last-minute contentious provision that has never gone through a committee, never faced a House vote and never been approved by the speaker or majority leader.
... Blunt, who several Republicans said spends considerable time with (Philip Morris lobbyist Abigail) Perlman, would not discuss their relationship or whether the two had talked about the provision.
Beyond the Philip Morris episode, there are other clues about how Blunt uses his power. For example, the subpoenaed documents obtained in the DeLay case by Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle reportedly indicate that DeLay's infamous PAC was communicating with Blunt's -- a great big no-no under federal election law.
So if House Republicans elevate Blunt to majority leader, they will be choosing someone who is definitely cut from the same cloth as the world's biggest asshole.