Democracy

Nigerian Power Politics in Washington DC

Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar may have lost his bid to become president (though Nigeria's recent elections were "marred by violence and alleged fraud, and results are not yet final"), but it's not for lack of trying. To increase his influence, Abubakar maintains a Washington DC lobbying presence "separate from the embassy, costing him roughly $200,000 over several years," reports The Hill. Abubakar retains Edward Weidenfeld for legal counsel and "support for free and fair elections in Nigeria," according to lobbying registration forms.

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DC Voting Rights March Hailed as Success; House to Consider Bill Soon

Rain and cold temperatures were not enough this past Monday (April 16) to deter residents of the District of Columbia (including newly-elected Mayor Adrian Fenty) from marching in support of long-awaited voting rights in Congress. An estimated crowd of 3,500 turned out for the largest gathering regarding the issue in decades, which featured a march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol.

Senate Facing Another Busy Week of Hearings

After a two-week recess, the House is back in session this week and ready to tackle a full legislative schedule, including a measure which would grant the District of Columbia a voting member in the House. The Senate plans to be active as well, and among other things will consider a bill (passed by the House in January) to allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceuticals for Medicare recipients. In addition to legislation, the Senate is again planning to hold a number of important committee hearings, including the highly anticipated testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Judiciary Committee concerning his role in the U.S. attorney firings scandal. Here, courtesy of GovTrack, is a quick rundown of all of this week’s Senate hearings (the House doesn't have easily accessible committee schedules, something the folks at the OpenHouseProject are trying to fix):

TheWeekInCongress (April 7-13, 2007)

With the House out of session this week, there was less news than usual to report from Capitol Hill. The Senate, however, did consider a number of important issues such as stem cell research and funding for federal intelligence agencies. For a thorough analysis of this action, we again turn to Robert McElroy’s TheWeekInCongress. His site is a great resource for citizens wishing to keep track of what their members are up to in Washington, and we urge you to check it out. Follow the headlines below to the Congresspedia articles covering the respective issues, which in turn link to and heavily rely on McElroy's analyses.

House Reps. Brady and Fattah in Tight Race for Philly Mayor

While Congress has been out of session this past week, Democratic House Reps. Bob Brady (Pa.) and Chaka Fattah (Pa.) have been busy campaigning in the hopes of becoming Philadelphia’s next mayor. The primary will take place on May 15 and — given the city’s heavily Democratic lean (no Republican has been elected mayor since 1948) — is expected to effectively determine the outcome of the general election.

Congress Inches Towards Joining the Information Age

Guest Blogger: Paul Blumenthal of the Sunlight Foundation

For the past seven years Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) introduced a bill requiring Senators to file their reports of campaign contributions in an electronic format. Currently Senators file these reports on paper with the Secretary of the Senate who then transmits the reports to the Federal Election Commission where the reports are retyped back into computers. The process costs about $250,000 a year and means that a lot of campaign contributions to Senators are not available for public review prior to a November election. This year, Sen. Feingold’s bill, S. 223, finally made it out of committee.

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