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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lexington Herald Leader Editorial: Want Access? Got Money?

Want access? Got money?

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We know Congress is a pageant, but must members parade their lucrative committee assignments with as much abandon as beauty queens once vamped their measurements?

Rep. Geoff Davis flashes his Washington committee assignments with the same flirtatious promise as bathing beauties strutted their 36-24-36 on Atlantic City's boardwalk in the days of yore.

Financial services and armed services! Intimate gathering! Wowzers! Don't miss the chance to sidle up. Write your check and join the fun.

In a story that pulled the covers back from the grimy world of political influence in Washington D.C., reporter John Cheves provided a close-up of how Davis, a Republican from Hebron who represents Kentucky's 4th district, sells his wares to fill up his campaign war chest.

Fund raiser Mike Gula, who works with Davis, sent an e-mail to interested parties early this summer outlining the opportunities. "We want to keep these events small so you can get some good time with Geoff." It should be a good time, the "suggested contribution" for three of the four events on the list was $1,000 per PAC (political action committee) or $500 per individual.

For the fourth event, a dinner at the Capital Grille ("limit 5 attendees") the fare doubled. If none of those work, "I can get you some 1-1 times," Gula wrote.

It doesn't take much imagination to see that this is a simple money-for-access equation. And unless that access is likely to lead to a favorable vote someday soon, no one would pay the money.

Davis, who has only token opposition for re-election this year, has refused to comment on the Herald-Leader report. In a campaign-finance report, he reported raising almost a quarter of a million dollars in May and June. About 40 percent of that was from out-of-state donors in the financial industry.

So, what is Davis thinking as he contemplates the current financial crisis and the debate over the bailout plan?

Is he worrying about homeowners and small business people back in his district or do his thoughts turn to the people who have given him big checks so they could share intimate evenings?

On second thought, maybe it's not beauty queens these money-hungry members of Congress resemble but strippers who dance for the dollars satisfied patrons toss their way.

Editor's comment: Let's have some "fair and balanced" coverage, please.
If you can pick on Republicans, pick on Democrats, too.

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