The NY Times published an article yesterday about how congressmen are still taking fancy trips paid for by corporations, despite ethics rules passed in 2007 to prevent such trips. These congressmen aren’t breaking the rules, but rather exploiting loopholes to get around the rules. James Sensenbrenner, for example, the jowly representative from Wisconsin’s 5th District, took a $15,000 trip to the Alps this year, with his wife, paid for by a “non-profit” funded by Deutsche Bank, Lufthansa and other European corporations.
I would like to think that Congress might tighten up the rules to close the loopholes, but expecting Congress to police itself is like expecting Thierry Henry to report his own soccer violations. So we, the voters, have to do the police work. Regular readers of Thoughtbasket know that I regularly exhort citizens to stay informed and vote accordingly. So members of Wisconsin’s 5th District, living in the lovely Northwestern suburbs of Milwaukee, likely Brewers fans and bratwurst lovers, if you would prefer your congressman to pay attention to your needs, instead of to the needs of large German companies, then vote out James Sensenbrenner. Find a Republican who cares more about grain elevators than about Teutonic castles, who would rather tour a dairy farm than a prince’s castle. If your congressman does not truly represent you, find one who will.