A lobbying organization has explained to the Washington Post that “If you try to talk to a member [of Congress] for any great length of time about your issues while they’re in Washington, they’re simply too busy.”
Too busy doing what -- packing? Because as the WP has further reported, based on a thorough research study conducted by the Center for Public Integrity, “Over 5 1/2 years, Republican and Democratic lawmakers accepted nearly $50 million in trips, often to resorts and exclusive locales, from corporations and groups seeking legislative favors….
“From January 2000 through June 2005, House and Senate members and their aides were away from Washington for more than 81,000 days -- a combined 222 years -- on at least 23,000 trips, according to the report…. About 2,300 of the trips cost $5,000 or more, at least 500 cost $10,000 or more, and 16 cost $25,000 or more.”
Democracy at work: Your “lawmakers and their staffers … treated to $25,000 corporate-jet rides and $500-a-night hotel rooms” in the arduous course of “fact-finding” trips to such crisis-drenched hellholes as Paris, Hawaii and Italy (numbering 200, 150 and 140 trips, respectively).
In this week’s winner of Most Boffo Understatement, the Center’s study speculated that “trip sponsors” -- such as the fretting lobbyist above; He who was nonplussed, yea, verily, forced against his will into sponsoring these junkets -- “appeared to be buying access to elected officials or their advisers.”
Oh, say it ain’t so. Please don’t sully the reputation of these esteemed People of the People with your muckraking speculation.
On the other hand, it would appear that lawmakers themselves have questioned the nobility of all this frequent-flying fact-finding, given that their “financial reports that disclose the details of the trips are routinely riddled with mistakes and omissions” -- albeit little picky stuff, you know, like the “sponsor’s” name and what family members accompanied them, gratis.
Actually, it’s a wonder that legislators can even find the time to speed off on yet another investigation into the condo-slum conditions of Molokai, seeing that they’re so busy -- again, reference the abovementioned lobbyist -- or certainly should be, with the people’s pressing business.
Somewhere out there lie two lesbians kissing in a matrimonial bed. America’s fate rests with them. Yet, in an acute, unconscionable abdication of moralistic oversight, the nation’s caretakers can simply drop their attention to this Music Man situation of capital “T” proportions?
I think not, and I think it’s shameful.
We should demand that Congress first eradicate the horrifying specter of same-sex marriage. Then it should tackle the secondary issues like that little ruckus over in the Middle East, a bit too much spending with slightly insufficient revenues, the few folks still without health care, that sort of stuff. Then, and only then, should Congress be permitted to exercise its whorish personality in $500-a-night hotel rooms.