Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Congress Tripped Up

A pox on both your parties. In the midst of the Tom DeLay scandal, AP reveals that 43 House members, including many Democrats, have been worse than tardy reporting all-expense-paid trips from lobbyists and special interest groups. Despite rules that such trips be disclosed within 30 days of its conclusion, nearly 200 excursions had been filed as late as eight years after the fact.

AP's Larry Margasak notes that the offending congressmen and their aides were mighty apologetic -- so at least we've got that goin' for us, which is nice.

"The travel in question is not for official government trips known as CODELS, shorthand for Congressional Delegations.

"The special interest trips are usually financed by corporations, trade groups, think tanks, universities and others. They often pay for first-class commercial seats or provide corporate jets for lawmakers.

"Many trips combine speeches, seminars and fact-finding tours with golf, sightseeing, shopping and accommodations at first-class hotels -- often in foreign countries.

" 'This sudden rush to file reports on previously undisclosed trips is certainly filling many pages of congressional passports,' said Kent Cooper, head of the PoliticalMoneyLine Internet site that tracks political donations and travel."

Let's face it. Everyone is just a little bit bought. The trick, just as it was in the Old West, comes down to ferreting out the whores with the hearts of gold.


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