Monday, August 06, 2012

Star's Hypocritical Attack On Dan Burton

The Star's editorial board is all worked up because retiring U.S. Rep. Dan Burton accepted a trip paid for by the Bahrain American Council. New ethics rules adopted by Congress after the Jack Abramoff scandal prohibit members from accepting free travel paid for by anyone who employs a lobbyist to lobby Congress. The Star's editorial board thinks Burton did an end run around the rules by accepting the free travel from an organization that shares offices with a lobbying organization but does not itself employ a lobbyist.

Rep. Dan Burton hit a low point in a congressional career riddled with embarrassing errors in judgment when he cast the only negative vote on sweeping ethics legislation passed by the U.S. House in 2007.
The retiring veteran's high-flying ways as a junketeer don't seem to have been much affected by the law he so brazenly opposed.
Abetted by a House Ethics Committee that seems unable to wield the club it's been given, Burton in April took a $20,966 trip to Bahrain with his wife on the tab of an organization created by a lobbying group.
Burton, in turn, took to the House floor to plug Bahrain's government, which has been on a public-relations offensive amid widespread criticism of its harsh treatment of pro-democracy demonstrators.
I don't believe congressmen should be allowed to accept free travel from anyone, lobbyist or not. The Star has never been bothered by Sen. Richard Lugar accepting dozens of trips overseas that cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars which are paid for by the Aspen Institute. The Aspen Institute's board of directors is populated with high-powered lobbyists and businesses which lobby Congress. The Star's editorial board has lavished praise on Lugar's service to the state. Other members of Indiana's congressional delegation also regularly accept free travel paid for by the Aspen Institute. It seems to me that the Star is being a bit hypocritical in reserving all of its vitriol for Burton for whom the editorial board has never shied away from showing its disdain.


Had Enough Indy? said...

"I don't believe congressmen should be allowed to accept free travel from anyone, lobbyist or not."

I could'nt agree with you more.

patriot paul said...

I agree with the thrust of your post. However, the Star seems correct in suggesting Burton took a 'detour around ethics' by 'hair-splitting' definitions. Whatever the case, Burton's example is unseemly, but mild in comparison with his counterparts in Congress who can't even come up with a budget. Instead of the Star talking about Burton 'went for consistency', they might look at themselves and wonder why they don't do any serious investigative reporting including the conflicts of interests in our own city council.