Can This Elephant Be Cleaned Up?

The Republicans hope Tom DeLay's successor will repair their reputation, but the stink of the lobbying scandal clings hard to the G.O.P.

The spreadsheet, bristling with million-dollar totals, jumped from flat screen to flat screen last winter in the Washington underground of fund-raising consultants and political-action committees. It had been created by allies of Congressman John Boehner, an Ohio Republican known for massive, raucous late-night parties. A window into the science of the shakedown, the spreadsheet calculated the "efficiency" of fund-raising committees headed by various leaders of the House, showing which were most generous to other Republicans. Boehner's backers were thrilled when the widely forwarded spreadsheet produced a front-page headline in The Hill, a newspaper focused on Congress, saying BOEHNER BOASTS OF BIG...

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