Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Burton Skips Work To Play Golf

Playing golf is a higher priority to Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) than representing his constituents in Congress. The Star's Maureen Groppe has a front-page story today explaining why Burton missed 19 votes last month to participate in a Bob Hope celebrity golf tournament in Palm Springs, California. Groppe writes:

U.S. Rep. Dan Burton skipped 19 House votes, including measures to reduce college costs and cut oil industry tax breaks, so he could play in a golf tournament last month in Palm Springs, Calif.

Burton also missed hearings on Iraq and North Korea to play in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, which pairs top golfers with politicians and celebrities such as actor and director Clint Eastwood.

A review of House votes for the past decade shows the Indianapolis Republican has been absent every year votes coincided with the tournament: 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2001. This year in January, he missed a total of 20 out of 73 votes.

Only U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., has missed more votes than Burton among Indiana lawmakers since Congress returned to Washington last month. Buyer requested a medical leave of absence for much of the session so far to have surgery and physical therapy after a skiing injury.

Burton ranked last in voting among Indiana lawmakers in 2006, casting ballots in 89 percent of the 541 recorded votes.

The congressman declined several requests for comment.

Although House rules allow for docking the pay of members of Congress for unexcused absences, it is not enforced according to Groppe. There are pretty hefty fees for participating in the Bob Hope fundraising event. Groppe says special arrangements have been worked out to allow Burton to continue participating in the event after they cut back the number of free slots a few years ago, but the arrangement allows him to pay the fee over the course of the year. Based on campaign disclosure statements, Burton apparently uses campaign funds to pay for at least part of the fee.

You would thinks Republicans in Burton's district would wise up and organize an effort to oust Burton, who has become somewhat of an embarrassment in Indiana politics. A gerrymandered district keeps him safe from a general election challenge. If he is to be defeated, it must happen in the primary.


Anonymous said...

Not so fast on the gerrymandered thing...

His district has gotten a little more Libertarian, if not Democratic.

But you're probably right. The strongest challenge must come in the primary. And evidently the Republicans are content to have him there. Hell they've even put his staff director in the Indiana Senate.

His voting record and his House floor speeches are an embarrassment ot the state anyway--maybe we should find some golf tournaments for the remainder of his term.

This IS the same guy who shot a pumpkin (or watermelon...?) in his backyard, and then entered that event into the House record, to "prove" that Vince Foster didn't shoot himself. Conspiracy theorists love this guy--so do goofballs.

His Indiana House brother is only slightly less silly. Same guy that our Indiana Equality lobbyists contributed money to, right?

Just checkin.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...according to this morning's paper, Burton's 2006 attendance record, at 89%, was worst among Indiana's delegation. Second worst?

Julia Carson, at 91%. Which means she missed over 50 recorded votes.

All the rest of the delegation were in the high 90s. Our senators were at 100% (Lugar) and 97% (Bayh).

SO far this year, among Indiana House members, BUyer's the worst, altho the absences ar emostly medically exused. Burton's next, and Julia's right behind.

I see a pattern here...

John M said...

Are you really disputing that Indiana's congressional districts are gerrymandered, 8:52? Have you taken a look at the map lately?


To say a district is "gerrymandered" doesn't mean that the district was drawn for the purpose of a particular incumbent's advantage. In Burton's case, it benefitted Democrats to put as many Republicans as possible in his district so as to allow competitive races in other districts. Burton's district begins in the south in Shelby County, dodges all of Marion County except for the Republican northeastern and far southern parts of the county, dodges Dem-leaning Madison County, and picks up all of Howard County except for the city of Kokomo, which is carved out for Donelly's district.

The whole map is a mess, and it would seem that it must be difficult for voters, particularly those who live in the Indy media market, to get coverage of ther representatives. Mike Pence’s district runs from Allen County to Johnson and Bartholemew counties. Burton’s district runs from Shelby County to Wabash County. Ellsworth’s district runs from Evansville up to Fountain County, just west of Lafayette. Buyer’s district runs from Monticello to Bedford.

Anonymous said...

The map is a MESS! Of course this state has been carved up for political purposes and any HONEST person will tell you that.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, not at all...I'm merely saying that Burton's district is not nearly as Republican as it was when first carved out.

It was initially carved for a former Republicna state chairman, who opted to run his campaign against Burton from a golf cart. Fat lot of good it did him. Republicans have invoked the 11th Commandment since.

The district has a strong Libertarian bent to it...much moreso than when first established. Since his first election, Burton's district has changed some, but a strong centrist Repulbican could win it.

Burton, by contrast, is to the right of Atilla the Hun. With half the brains. But, obviously, a hell of a golf swing.

John M said...

The district has changed dramatically since Burton was first elected to the House. My recollection (although I cannot find a map of the pre 2000 districts) is that it originally was donut-shaped, with the Andy Jacobs/Julia Carson district in the middle. The district now snakes up from Bartholemew County along the east side of Indy all the way to Wabash and Huntington counties.

Anonymous said...

This is some kind of record...

Eight hours later, and Wilson hasn't defended Rep. Carson's missing 50 some votes last year. Third-worst attendance in the delegation, behind Burton (Golf) and Buyer (medical).

Anonymous said...

I'm Not Wilson but I'm better looking said,

"This is some kind of record...

Eight hours later, and Wilson hasn't defended Rep. Carson's missing 50 some votes last year. Third-worst attendance in the delegation, behind Burton (Golf) and Buyer (medical)."

Congress lady Carson is misunderstood *the way she mumbles Its no wonder*

White folk just don't understand, Black folk just don't understand,

The voters chose with their votes *the cash helped*... she wins every time *by hook or crook*... She a sweet person *when she's sober* ...She's Grandmotherly *she's older than dirt and dumber too* ...She will quit when she wants... Blaw blaw blaw.

Do I sound like Wilson? God I hope not.

Anonymous said...

Damn, that took an ugly turn.

Stick to the record...she missed more vote sthan she should've. Period. Her age, etc., was not being discussed.