News & Politics

Congress Will Work For Food

On the very day that congress opened, the Republican leadership in the House rammed through a proposal to loosen the ethics rules.
Boy, it didn't take the members of congress long to get down to business, did it?

Not the people's business -- their own. On the very day that congress opened, the Republican leadership in the House rammed through a proposal to loosen the ethics rules that ban lobbyists from buying meals or giving gifts to members of congress. Dubbed the "pizza rule" by some critics, the "Col. Sanders rule" by others, the change allows lobbyists -- get this -- to buy pizza, buckets of fried chicken, and other food for members and their staffs when they're working on bills at night.

Yes, the very lobbyists who have a direct interest in the bills will be allowed to send in a free pepperoni-with-mushrooms to our lawmakers as they write legislation! Can't you imagine the lobbyists scrawling amendments on the paper napkins, plus a little note saying, "Remember, we deliver!"

Of course, the Republican leaders say: Tut-tut, you can't possibly think that we'd sell out for a chicken wing and a slice of pizza. One would hope not, but then why change the rule? Come on -- congress critters are paid $150,000 a year, and top staff make nearly as much, so here's a thought: Buy your own damned pizza! Stop being a cheap moocher!

But mooch they do. The GOP also altered the ethics rules to allow members to accept all-expenses-paid trips to Hawaii, Miami, and other resort areas from "charities" that invite the members to speak to their group. Well, that's not so bad, I mean, it's all for charity, right?

Wrong. Nike has a "charity" arm. So does Citigroup, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and all the other special corporate interests seeking favors from lawmakers. This is a shameful ruse, a cynical use of real charities to get around the ban on lobbyists providing free vacations to members of congress.

I don't know if the Republican leaders are totally stupid, or if they're simply stupid enough to think that we're so stupid that we won't see their stupidity.
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