Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Burton Brother Blues

Today was not a happy day for the Burton Brothers. The Star served up a double-whammy for the two poster boys for the Christian right. It seems Congressman Dan Burton has an “Abramoff problem” and State Rep. Woody Burton has a “primary problem.”

The Star informs us that the always campaign cash-rich Burton brother collected more than $7,000 in political contributions from the admitted felon lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. And he assisted at least two foreign clients of Abramoff. One was a brutal, former dictator of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, who came to power as a result of a military coup. Burton thought Seko should be given a visa to enter the United States to give a speech. Fortunately, the State Department prevailed and the visa was denied, but Abramoff made a lot of bucks in the process of representing the dictator with Burton’s assistance.

Abramoff also represented a South African independent group in the 1980s which purportedly was fighting for democracy but was in fact funded by the apartheid government. A Burton aide later claimed that the congressman did not know about the apartheid government’s funding of the group. One thing for sure is that Dan Burton enjoys his golf, and he likes golfing at the best courses money can buy. How many rounds of golf, expensive dinners and other forms of entertainment did Burton get courtesy of the generous Abramoff? It sounds like Abramoff is ready to speak. The Wall Street Journal today reported that Abramoff is prepared to name at least 60 members of Congress as part of the Justice department probe of political corruption on Capitol Hill. If the net is that big, Dan might not be able to escape it.

The Star further informs us that brother Woody is going to have a serious primary opponent for the first time since he was elected to the House. Johnson County Council President Ron West has made it official that he intends to challenge Burton for the Republican nomination in the May primary. West is a successful businessman who owns or leases 7 golf courses.

Burton has much to be concerned about. Not only will West likely be well-funded, but this is the same area that turned out of office Senate Finance Committee Chairman Larry Borst after more than 30 years of service in the last election. Burton has been a real stand-up guy for the Christian right and can probably count on them for much-needed support. He sponsored Indiana’s Defense of Marriage Act back in 1994, warning the public at the time that legalization of homosexual relationships would lead to the legalization of bestiality.

And what about those pesky rumors about Woody? Is he the true Christian family man he proclaims himself to be? Or is he more like his brother Dan who touted his family values publicly for many years until he was exposed as a hypocrite for having fathered a child out-of-wedlock, a 15-year old son he admitted he had never met at the time of the disclosure. It may get interesting down there on the south side in the coming months. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

The MAJOR difference among many others between Burton and Borst is that Burton is a conservative which is what you need to be to win republican primaries.

stAllio! said...

the star is now reporting that dan will donate all his abramoff money to charity. not that it will help him if abramoff testifies against him.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Burton is definitely more visibly recognized as a conservative because of his highly publicized views on hot-button social issues. But Borst pretty much voted down the line with Burton on those same hot-button issues, even if he wasn't vocal about it. Borst took a wrap because he occasionally supported tax increases as a leader on the budget when both parties reached agreement, although he was by no means a tax and spend liberal. If you look at the tax burden of Hoosiers relative to the other states, it falls on the low side. Borst has to get part of the credit for that given the nearly 3 decades he called the shots on the state budget.