Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., fresh off of accusations that he tried to use his regulatory authority to extort campaign donations from credit card companies, is now embroiled in another ethics scandal reports Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo:
A party planning side business run by three current and former congressional staffers raked in over $20,000 last year from lobbyists holding events to honor Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) -- whose own communications director is co-founder of the firm.
The apparent arrangement between Thompson and the business, Chic Productions, at once allows private interests to get closer to the congressman's office and gives the staffers a way to dip a straw into the river of outside money flowing through Capitol Hill.
It seems the party planning business run by Thompson staffers had pretty cozy connections to big name lobbyists:
In a six-week period in late 2008, four companies paid Chic $22,500 to plan events to honor Thompson, according to lobbying disclosures reviewed by TPMmuckraker. The companies were private prison contractor Corrections Corporation of America ($10,000), lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs ($5,000), Pepsico ($5,000), and software giant Oracle ($2,500).