Your Government at Work: Lawmakers Take Lavish Trips and Make Thousands Thanks to Slush Funds

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.

—Lord Acton, in a letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), published in Historical Essays and Studies (1907)

From Fox News.

Members of Congress are routinely using campaign committees as a personal “slush fund,” according to a detailed report by “60 Minutes.”

The report found that lawmakers are using what’s known as “Leadership PACs” to fund trips to high-ranking golf courses, NFL games and other destinations – and are even personally making money off the PACs by lending to them and charging steep interest.

In the most egregious examples, CBS’ “60 Minutes” found that Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., loaned her PAC $150,000 – and made $228,000 over a 12-year period by charging 18 percent interest.

Napolitano admitted to doing it, and an ethics watchdog said the practice is technically legal. In fact, the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington found at least 15 cases where politicians were making loans to their campaign funds.

Napolitano, though, conceded she wasn’t giving campaign donors the details of her personal loan. “Well, you don’t go out and publicize that, but they know that I had a campaign debt,” she said.

Say it ain’t so.  When you misuse campaign funds you damned sure don’t want the public knowing about it.

……Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., spent more than $100,000 entertaining at world-class golf courses, and Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., spent $35,000 on NFL games.

Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., reportedly used $16,000 from his account to bring his family to Scotland for a friend’s wedding, supposedly under the pretense of considering hiring the friend as a consultant.

Andrews told “60 Minutes”: “I follow all the rules.”

Evidently, the ‘rules’ say that politicians can spend campaign money like it’s their own personal piggy bank.

Furthermore, Napolitano blames racism and sexism for her actions:

(Steve) Kroft noted that the “worst offender” of abusing this practice was Rep. Napolitano. “She told us that as a woman and a minority, banks wouldn’t lend her money, so she had to withdraw $150,000 from an investment account to lend it to her campaign,” Kroft reported.
“Would you go out and get a loan and not get charged interest?” Napolitano said in defense of her actions.
Kroft noted that she was charging her campaign 18 percent for her personal loan. “That’s what the mafia gets,” he observed.

The politicians who make personal loans to their own campaigns and charge them sky-high interest for profit, see nothing unethical or wrong about it.

Well, no one ever claimed that ethics, honesty and integrity are prerequisites for political office.

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