What About That “Culture Of Corruption”?

While the DNC tries to push the Republicans as being mired in a “culture of corruption”, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid took free boxing tickets from the Nevada Boxing Commission while Reid was involved in legislation that would have put more federal controls on the sport.

What Reid did was not a violation of Senate Rules, but it certainly looks shady. Sen McCain paid for his tickets, and Sen. John Ensign recused himself from the issue when they accompanied Reid to the fights. Senate ethics rules recommend against taking gifts from organizations that may be effected by pending legislation. Reid was also heavily involved with Jack Abramoff’s various lobbying efforts.

Reid’s ethical lapses demonstrate why Congressional corruption is a bipartisan problem. Neither party can get much traction on the issue when both are complicit in a legislative culture of lobbyists, wasteful junkets, and earmarking. The entire system has dramatically expanded in power and scope, and as the Founders warned, the more government there is, the more the incentives to use the levers of government for one’s own personal ends. The fact is that the “culture of corruption” is really just another facet of Big Government run amok, and sadly, few in either party seem to have the political will to do much to fight it.

7 thoughts on “What About That “Culture Of Corruption”?

  1. This is a ridiculous argument, and you know it, Jay. For one thing, these are his constituents. For another, Reid voted against the legislation in question.

    This AP reporter has it in for Reid, as he did a similar hit piece with not basis in fact a couple of months ago.

    Grasping at straws, that’s what I’ll call it.

  2. This is a ridiculous argument, and you know it, Jay. For one thing, these are his constituents. For another, Reid voted against the legislation in question.

    No it isn’t. It may be legal for Reid to take such gifts, but it certainly isn’t ethical, which is why both McCain and Ensign did what they did. In the grand scheme of things, Reid’s tickets don’t amount to a great scandal, to be sure, but it does cast some doubt on his ethics – and politically, that’s enough.

    Reid should have known better than to allow himself to have even the appearance of impropriety – either by paying for the tickets as McCain did or recusing himself from influencing the legislation as Ensign did.

  3. This is Jay’s ridiculous attempt at parity in corruption. Let’s see – on one hand, we’ve got over 15 Republicans under scrutiny for accepting money to influence legislation, plus hundreds of allied bagmen. But to balance that, Jay overlooks the legitimate corruption of Jefferson’s freezerfull of dollars and harps on Reid, who took some tickets which clearly had nothing to do with his vote.

    Like Josh Marshall called it this is a quid with no quo. There isn’t even the appearance of impropriety here; just a Senator doing research on an issue. But it’s all the same to Jay’s twisted political ideology.

  4. Nice try, guys. But I’m a government employee, and I’d be fired on the spot if I accepted a gift like that – I signed a form when accepting the job which specifically detailed, in writing, that I am not allowed to accept any gifts from anyone in the public of any value over $10, and the only real conflict I have is a purchase card and a budget. The idea is that I am not to be induced into buying supplies for my office from suppliers who have offered me gifts – a much lower threshold for corruption than in Reid’s case. I think it is absolutely ridiculuous than anyone from either party can, with a straight face, bring up issues of ethics and corruption when they can’t even play by the same rules as other government employees. If anything, these guys should have even stricter restrictions than me, given the amount of funding at stake upon which they vote.

    Oh, and just because he didn’t vote the way the briber wanted doesn’t make it any less odious. I shouldn’t be able to go out and be wined and dined by Staples just before I put in an order with Office Depot any more than these guys should be on the receiving end of bribes. It’s an abuse of the system, pure and simple, and they should eliminate this crap for everyone concerned immediately. You want to get wined and dined, go work in the private sector, but this is tax money they are exploiting, which is a joke.

  5. Jerry, you may be fired on the spot, but funny enough, it’s perfectly legal for Harry Reid to have taken the tickets. Since the Nevada Athletic Commission is a taxpayer-financed group, Reid received the tickets, in effect, from Nevada taxpayers.

    You can’t compare Reid, or any other congressperson for that matter, to Joe Schmoe the Government Employee. Can you get pulled over on your way to work? Well, they can’t. Can you direct kajillions of your office-supply fund to your secret bridge linking HR with the office cafeteria? Funny enough, they can and do. Not to mention the whole ‘re-writing the constitution to suit their own interests’ thing… There’s a lot that they can do that you can’t. Tough cookies.

    And let’s think this over: Was Reid deflowering Indian casinos? Was he Hammer-ing thousands of constituents by using their campaign contributions to pay for his legal defense? Was he lying about leaking, well, anything? Perspective, kids, perspective. They’re BOXING TICKETS.

    Grasping for straws, indeed.

  6. Exactly – perspective. If it’s no big deal, then why shouldn’t any employee be able to do it? And as I said, it’s a bipartisan issue, so please don’t attempt to make this a simple partisan issue i.e. “grasping at straws.” It’s wrong, nobody in congress ought to be able to do it, and to simply say “tough cookies” is a complete sidestep of the issue. I say that cogressmen and women ought to have, at the very least, the same standard as the average federal employee. Are you on record saying that these public “servants” should be able to take bribes? If so, then I hopw you are against any of the other efforts to regulate speech ie.e campaign finance that have all been less egregious than this, in order to be, you know, consistent and all…

  7. Au contraire, my friend. I never said it was no big deal.

    I think what I meant was that I’m frustrated that Republicans are getting their undies in a bunch without looking in the mirror first at their own egregious faults. Let he who has not sinned and all that, right?

    I, too, wish that congress was held to the same standards as regular citizens… I also wish all citizens were held to the same standards at each other… I also realize now I sound like a communist, and that’s a whole different post altogether…

    One step at a time, one step at a time.

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