Comments on: How to buy political access, charitable-donation edition A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: brad_o Tue, 13 Dec 2011 00:16:13 +0000 Do you think Senator Harkin really wanted to have a lunch like this? He may have hoped it would be an interested citizen or fervent supporter. He probably has things he would prefer more on his lunch break than getting surprised by someone who is battling against a major reform effort of his…

By: jbernar Mon, 12 Dec 2011 18:25:21 +0000 I’m not a defender of Congressional ethics, but your reading of this encounter is really pretty tendentious. Auctioning off a meal with (or made by) a celebrity is a common fundraising technique. The service auctioned is generally a single feature of a large menu of opportunities (services, objects) that are meant to attract as a large crowd of bidders as possible. So the advertising value of offering many unique opportunities counts for more than the sum actually bid for any one of them.

I see why buying time with a public official seems unethical. But even if the auction is silent (written, usually on a list) the name of the winner is public. And the person providing the service certainly doesn’t expect to be threatened by his host!

Doesn’t the fact that Harkin made the whole thing public attest to the innocence of his intentions? Your outrage should have been reserved for the winning bidder. He was the one who thought there ought to be a quid pro quo.

By: KenG_CA Sun, 11 Dec 2011 04:32:05 +0000 Felix: if you’re surprised by hearing that lobbyists buy political access – look to the east when you wake up tomorrow. You will see the sun rise.

If you want to talk about ethics, you need to leave congress out of the discussion, unless you use the prefix “lack of”. They’re not going to do anything that will potentially cost them money or their jobs, as they love both. When they retire, voluntarily or forced, they will talk about how they will miss public service, but they think public service is the public serving them.

As for lobbyists, they’re just parasites. Don’t expect them to give up, either.