Sunday, December 15, 2013

It is the season to give gifts and who knows better how to give gifts than Congress? They have been voting to give themselves gifts for a long time now but most Americans didn’t even notice it till now where there is a great divide between the working tax paying middle class and the elitist upper class rich voting Congress of which there has not even been one member to suggest that they need to reform their greedy practices. Yes, perks for Congress. 

We recently had a government shutdown that stopped jobs for about 800,000 government workers for about 2 weeks.  Congress didn’t stop getting paid a dime and maintained the high class lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.   With all their talk about their political differences they all seem to agree about all the money they get.  Many Congressmen even give jobs to their extended family members  and never say the word nepotism about themselves.  It is as if they are excluded from all the constraining rules they vote on involving everyone else and they don’t feel bad at all.  They are the modern day Scrooge story. 

They are completely satisfied with campaign financing and ethics as the rules are now.. Both parties have managed to change the rules to benefit themselves financially very well. Most Americans feel it should be against the law for  Congressmen and Senators to profit personally from their political office but serving the people is the last thing on their minds.    The real scandal in Washington isn’t what is illegal it is what is legal.

In 1980 Congress passed The Ethics Reform Act that plainly states that “ a member shall convert no campaign funds to personal use.” but  afterwards Congressional leaders quietly invented something called “Leadership Pacs” which are political action committees that technically are not paid with campaign funds that are exempt from the personal use prohibition.  So, through these so called committees, Congressmen are spending lots and lots of money on whatever they want from lavish dinners to exotic vacations to salaries for family members.

Trevor Potter , the former Chairman of  the Election Comission with a smile admits that this is a loophole. Today nearly every Congressman has formed a Leadership Pac and they are used to solicit contributions from friends and supporters in order to advance their political agendas , careers, and in many cases their lifestyle.. Back in 2006 North Carolina Senator  and Presidential candidate John Edwards used his Leadership Pac to pay his Mistress Rial Hunter $114,000 dollars to make a campaign video.  We all know he fathered a child with her

The Political Pac money can even be held onto for the future. They will keep the money and be able to use it in retirement for anything that is vaguely a political expense.  Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews of New Jersey used $16,000 dollars from his  Political Pac  money called The Committee to Strengthen America to fly his family to Scotland  to attend the wedding of a friend who he was thinking of hiring as a political consultant. Why he needed to meet him at a four star resort and take his entire family is questionable but as they have it, perfectly legal.

The fund does not go away. Even if they leave political office and become a lobbyist for a company which two thirds of politicos become after office, they get to keep the money even beyond death.  They can will the fund.    When Republican Congressman Paul Gilmore of Ohio  died suddenly from a heart attack in 2007,  his staff thought that no political contribution should go unspent so they spent the money on dinners and resorts so they can get over the grieving process and discuss how to get new jobs.

The rules that apply to the rest of us do not apply to Congress. They have even taken political contributions and made personal loans to their campaign funds  and charging as much as 18% interest and pocketing the interest money.So they can say loan themselves $150,000 dollars and then take in $228,000 dollars in interest over a year period. These are deals that no one can get but them.

So in the spirit of gift giving, tell people to give you money for a cause of yours and then spend the money on yourself.  Be like Congress the official American Scrooge Imagine what a wonderful life it would be if the greedy bastards shared the money with the communities they serve and who elected them.

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