Friday, August 06, 2010

'It is without similiarity whatsoever'

The New York Times has done a great service in sussing out nearly a dozen more lawmakers (some now happily retired) who have set up memorials to themselves along the lines of Charles Rangel. Among them:

* The Daniel Inouye chair at the University of Hawaii, subsidized by a shipping line

* The James Clyburn program at South Carolina State University, subsidized by builders of nuclear power plants

* The Mitch McConnell fund at the University of Louisville, subsidized by a military contractor

The way this works: instead of soliciting a bribe, or even a campaign donation, I set up the Daniel Ford Institute of Warbird Studies at the University of New Hampshire, and watch the money roll in, as the NYT explains:

Education officials involved in creating these centers said they had been amazed at how quickly they had been able to raise money for programs named for a sitting member of Congress. At the University of Hawaii, $1.6 million was donated in the first month of fund-raising for the endowed chair honoring Mr. Inouye and his wife, a record for the university. More than 25 of the donors — government contractors, banks, insurance and telecommunications companies — gave at least $25,000, far more than would be permitted in a single year of campaign contributions. An aide to Mr. Inouye said the donations had no influence on his legislative positions.
Of course I will never let $100,000 from Boeing influence my vote on the acquisition of tankers for the U.S. Air Force, nosirree bob! As a spokesman for Mitch McConnell told the NYT: "It is without similarity whatsoever" to the Charlie Rangel situation.... Well, here's a clue for the next senator or congressman who wants to build an endowed monument to himself and is pondering the similarities: you aren't worth it. None of you are worth it. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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