Dan Burton hasn't exactly been the best public servant for his constituents in the 5th Congressional District, or for Indiana.
From spending $9,500 of taxpayer money on an electronic guestbook to skipping 27 percent of U.S. House roll-call votes this past January (so he could play golf), he has shown little regard for his public responsibilities.
Now there's more. A watchdog group -- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) -- shows the 12-term Republican apparently thinks that the purpose of politics is to provide jobs and income for his relatives.
Burton isn't the only member of Congress with a penchant for putting family on the payroll. Fellow Indiana Congressman Steve Buyer's campaign committee helped his daughter Colleen with her bills in 2004 by paying her $1,900 in fundraising
Forty-four other members -- including long-shot presidential candidate Ron Paul and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. -- also employ or pay fees to their relatives.
But given Burton's record for flouting decorum and common sense, it isn't surprising that he's landed on this list.
Burton's daughter, Danielle Sarkine, makes a living as one of her father's campaign staffers. She earned $58,400 in salary (along with $3,200 in reimbursed expenses) from her father's campaign committee last year.
In fact, Sarkine has earned $144,000 from the campaign over the past six years, ranking her among CREW's list of the 10 most well-compensated relatives on a congressional campaign.
Burton's younger brother Woody already holds a powerful political seat in the Indiana House of Representatives. But he was paid $5,600 from his brother's campaign committee between 2002 and 2006 for vehicle repairs, insurance and other services.
As a rule, members of Congress aren't allowed to place relatives on their congressional staffs, largely because of the taint of nepotism and the potential for corruption. By hiring relatives as campaign staffers, they leave themselves open to the same kinds of problems, including the type of "ghost employment" that sows the seeds for graft and worse.
Ultimately, it is up to representatives to behave themselves. Some, like Burton, who is serving his 25th year in Congress, have come up short. He should know better. But as we've seen before, his disregard for the voters and even campaign donors knows no bounds.
Gerrymandering has placed him in a district so overwhelmingly Republican that victory in the general election is almost assured.
The challenge offered by former Marion County coroner John McGoff in next year's Republican primary offers voters a good alternative -- and a chance to vote Burton out of office.
Wow. McGoff's campaign manager couldn't have written a better script.