by Peary Perry
promised several weeks ago to lay off of the government and that I
would try to be a somewhat 'kinder and more gentle' person this coming
I'm sorry to say that even though I have tried, I simply cannot do
this. It is against my nature.
In my pile of things I wanted to comment upon is an article detailing
some facts concerning our recent elections. One of the big items which
certainly needed to be cleared up is political campaign ethics. I
suggest to you that the words …'political campaign' and ethics are
somewhat of an oxymoron and do not just roll off of the tongue very
easily, do they? In fact when you say those words you get a somewhat
bitter taste in your mouth as well as that feeling you get when you
are in a cemetery and step on someone's grave. It just isn't natural.
here in the lovely Lone Star State of Texas, the so called 'Texas
Ethics Commission' recently ruled that state officials must report
the fact that they received checks from the donors but not the amounts
given. For example, if you wanted to give a check to some state official,
your name would have to be reported if the gift was more than $250,
but not the amount that was given to that person. So, in effect you
could give some state official, elected or otherwise, a check for
$100,000 for some reason or another and all the receiver would have
to do is report your name and the fact that they had received a check.
Does this make any sense? Not to me, it doesn't.
Another critic of this system stated that it would be possible for
some one to give a large sum of cash to some official in a wheelbarrow
and all the person would have to do to fall under the guidelines of
being 'ethical' is to say they had received a wheelbarrow.
nice little feature allows the state legislators to 'rent' facilities
from themselves using campaign contributions to pay for these. The
commission 'urged' the legislators to stop this practice, but it is
unclear if any penalties or sanctions would be imposed upon those
who violated the rule. It was discovered that several legislators
had either rented offices or apartments from some family member. It
makes one wonder if they were getting a discounted rate or paying
more than the market prices. I think we all know the answer to this
current law prohibits corporations from donating directly to political
campaigns. This does not mean that a corporation is prohibited from
donating funds to a political campaign as long as those funds are
used only for 'administrative' expenses.
Hello? What is this?
This obviously means I cannot give Joe Blow a check from my company
for his 'campaign', but I can give him a check if I designate that
it must be used to pay for telephones, printing and mailing of campaign
materials. Isn't this what contributions are to be used for in the
first place? How is this any different? The commission on ethics did
say they were looking into this matter and hoped to obtain a clearer
idea of what should be reported. Don't hold your breath.
week, we saw the Speaker of the House take the form of Nancy Pelosi.
Mrs. Pelosi has stated that she is in favor of enacting strong ethics
rules and limits on campaign contributions. We'll have to wait and
see what happens in this situation, won't we?
Speaker Pelosi got off to a fine start, the night before she was sworn
in, she was attending a $1,000 a plate dinner (for 400 'friends')
in her honor at the Italian Embassy. The evening of her swearing in
she held a fundraiser for 1200 'friends and supporters' at another
$1,000 a plate soiree.
I don't know how you could eat enough to justify paying $1,000 for
a dinner. I suppose it's because I'm not in the know or that I don't
understand the cost of living in Washington. Brussel Sprouts must
be really expensive. I can't imagine what strawberries cost.
Anyway, to top off Mrs. Pelosi's coronation, she wrapped it up on
January 5th with a so called "People's Party" at the House Office
Building. I consider myself a 'people', but couldn't get in even if
I wanted to do so, since it was strictly by 'invitation' only. So
much for the people.
Does the saying…'same song, second verse' come into your mind when
you read these things?
Letters From North America
January 11, 2007 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com
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