August 04, 2005

Bring on the Rules

Apparently, and am I ever surprised, all of the laws passed to take the money out of politics have failed to take the money out of politics:

A lushly produced video on DVD arrived in lobbyists' mailboxes all over Washington this summer. In it, Sen. Michael D. Crapo narrates what amounts to a sales pitch for them to pay $2,500 each to party with him later this month in beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho.

"We shoot all day. We fish all day. We ride horses all day. And then we finish the day with the best barbecue in the West," the Idaho Republican boasts. "Frankly, I think this is the best event in the country."

... For example, congressional rules prohibit a lobbyist or any other outsider from spending more than $100 a year to feed or entertain a federal lawmaker or any of his staffers. But the "Crapo Hook & Bullet" event is exempt from the limitation because it's a campaign fundraiser. Governmental ethics rules don't govern election financing.

"One of the capital's great ironies is that lobbyists can't treat lawmakers to golf or an expensive meal unless they're handing over a check for the congressman's election or for his charity, which, of course, only compounds the problem," said Bill Allison, editor-at-large for the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity. "Some of the most outrageous things that happen in Washington are perfectly within the rules." ...

All of this on the perfectly sensible principle that when you're sitting behind a fundraising howitzer, you don't pay any attention to the opponent who wants you to come down and use the same sort of financial bow-and-arrow set they've got.

Can't wait for more Dean Democrats who earned their cash through small donations to get elected. They'll be the only people in Washington with any interest in limiting the rivers of corporate bribery that flow through the capital.

Posted by natasha at August 4, 2005 01:01 AM | Corruption & Graft | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Its amazing that I live here in Idaho and follow politics fairly well, but this is the first I have heard of Sen. Crappo's fundraising event. The details have certainly not been in the paper or mentioned on the airwaves here by the rightwing talk show hosts. Of course, this is one of the most Republican states in the nation and since it wasn't a Demorcrat asking for a "bribe", it doesn't surprise me that a blind eye is turned for a local boy doing good in the grand old party.

Posted by: Hank at August 6, 2005 11:28 AM