Tuesday, November 6, 2007

John Doolittle - Poster Child For What's Wrong With Congress

John Doolittle (R-CA) is currently an elected member of the US House of Representatives. He is also under investigation by the FBI for corruption. Doolittle Inc. is the title of an article about the clouded dealings and arrangements of the Doolittles by Debra Saunders.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington placed Doolittle on its "22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress" roster. The Placer County, Calif., Republican also is in the small club of elected officials under federal investigation for corruption. His name has come up in connection with convicted uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and with convicted (as of Monday, on bribery charges) defense contractor Brent Wilkes. In April, the FBI searched Doolittle's Virginia home.
Congressman Doolittle was forced to resign from the House Appropriations Committee as a result of the federal investigations, but as Ms. Saunders points out, Mr. Doolittle is running for re-election to his Congressional Seat. In all fairness, he has not been convicted of a crime, and as such, is presumed to be innocent.

John Doolittle is a Poster Child for "Whats Wrong With Congress" because of the loopholes which allow certain questionable practices to continue.
Doolittle, you may recall, made news for letting a campaign fund pick up the tab for babysitting his daughter -- $4,581 since 2001, The Washington Post reported in 2006. He brought new meaning to the phrase "family values."
This practice is legal, but why should it be? And there's more in the same vein.
Doolittle's annual salary has been more than $150,000 since 2002. Not enough. So he and his wife gave themselves a raise. Wife Julie set up a political fund-raising firm that allowed her to earn 15 percent off of every dime raised for Doolittle's Superior California Fund. She also received a cut for donations she raised for his re-election campaign -- to the tune of $140,000 over three years.
Again Legal, but Ethical or Responsible?
Savvy donors knew that if they wrote a check to a Doolittle campaign through Julie Doolittle, the congressman's household income would be richer by 15 percent of the check. This arrangement was a recipe for conflict of interest.
These and other questionable arrangements, are a big part of the reason the Republicans rightfully lost control of both Houses of Congress. But in the Spirit of Convicted Republican California Congressman Duke Cunningham, Democrat Nancy Pelosi and the Current Democrat House leaders continue to allow these practices to continue. The Majority changed from Republican to Democrats, but for practical purposes, IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL, and Abuse of Power.

The only way to stop the abuse of power, is for us the Voters, to demand a higher standard from our elected officials. This is one area of Political Issues where no party affiliation has a monopoly. Political Ethics has become an Oxymoron.

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