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Yesterday, a Republican congressman from upstate New York resigned a year after apologizing for making unwanted sexual advances toward a female lobbyist in a bar four years earlier.

He is not the only Congress critter guilty of ethical lapses, lately.

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Democrat House Majority Whip James Clyburn has been giving campaign cash to members of his family.  Two daughters, their husbands, and a grandson have received more than $200,000 among them.   The expenses are called ‘campaign management fees’, ‘voter outreach’, or ‘office rent’.  Nice work if you can get it, but if you’re not related, you can’t.

A watchdog group sent a complaint to the House Ethics Committee alleging a member of Congress from Oregon improperly used official resources in his reelection campaign.  Two of his campaign ads use official press releases issued by his office.  The group said the rules against using taxpayer-funded resources in campaigns are intended to ensure government funds are not diverted for personal use and official actions are taken for the good of the country, not political purposes.

A Democrat congressman from New York drew an ethics complaint from the same watchdog group after failing to report almost $900,000 in stock trades in a timely fashion as required by law.  The trades involved several companies regulated or affected by congressional action.  It’s not the first time he’s skirted the rules.  There was a previous complaint about him failing to disclose 300 trades worth about $11 million.

A Hawaii Democrat hasn’t voted in person in Congress since January.  He’s too busy at his other job as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, so he votes by proxy.  He missed the State of the Union address, important meetings with Honolulu city officials, and committee hearings.  He says he is earning less than the amount allowed for outside employment under House rules, which is about $30,000 a year.  However, his airline says its pilots are required to fly a minimum 1,500 hours annually, suggesting his outside income is at least four times the amount allowed.  Reportedly, he has not documented that his outside employment has been approved by the House Ethics Committee.  But here’s the best part: his airline lobbies the House Transportation Committee.  He sits on that committee.  A little conflict of interest, maybe?

A former Congressional staffer pled guilty last month to stealing $80,000 in public funds.  He misused his position as payroll manager for his office to submit false bonus pay forms for himself, thus inflating his own salary.

The common thread in all these stories is the misuse of a position of trust for self-dealing.  Too many Congress critters are only in it for themselves, not the public interest.  But we get the government we deserve.  Often, people know their Congress critters are up to no good, but reelect them anyway.  If this is the case with your member of Congress, work with others to throw the bums out.  They work for us.

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