Notably absent from the Democrats much heralded unveiling of their new ethics and lobbying reform plan this week was Steny Hoyer, the number two House Democrat. Maybe that’s because Hoyer’s launched his own version of the Republican "K Street Project" so rightfully derided by many Democrats and good government-types. Back in May 2003, Roll Call reported that Hoyer "invited scores of business lobbyists to sit down with him in his Capitol Hill digs to discuss legislation, share information and just get to know him." The second phase of the outreach commenced this winter, when Hoyer and DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel hit up lobbyists for ’06 campaign contributions.

When he’s not cozying up to K Street, the House Minority Whip’s busy undermining Democratic calls for a speedy withdrawal from Iraq. After Jack Murtha dramatically broke with President Bush’s Iraq policy in November, Hoyer issued a press release stating that a "precipitous withdrawal" of troops "could lead to disaster." When Murtha later gave an impassioned speech before the House Democratic Caucus "he was looking right at Hoyer," one Congressional aide told The Hill. The pro-war, pro-lobbyist routine has earned Hoyer plaudits from the likes of conservative columnist Bob Novak. Imitation, after all, is the highest form of flattery.