Tuesday, March 28, 2006

TU Blog

The Times Union Blog picked up the tax payer funded lobbyist ski trip. I'm confused about the source of funding, it is money from a New York Power Authority account that's supposed to fund charities. Sending elected officials on vacations with lobbyists meets the definition of charity in what way exactly? I bet parents of kids without food and medical care would disagree that there are any parallels between a charity and a promotional "business trip." Sweeney attended the event with congressional approval because he told them it was a fact finding business trip. The story says Sweeney "told House and Senate ethics committees the annual Congressional Winter Challenge is an official fact-finding business trip (Trips that are mainly recreational can't be considered official.) On the basis of Sweeney’s description, the committees ok’d the trip." More of the same ole "because I said so, it's legal, just trust me" rational typical of the Republican majority these days. And as a tax payer, I don't think that my money earmarked for charity should be diverted toward promoting business interests insteaed, especially not "business trips" that throw elected official deeper in with lobbyists. Here's Gillibrand's Ethics IOU on the subject of trips: "I will not accept any privately funded trips paid for by lobbyists or lobbyist's charities. If I take a campaign-related trip, the campaign will pay for it. If I take an official trip, my Congressional office will pay for it. If I take a vacation, I will pay for it." UPDATE: The WFP Blog has a good post on the topic up today.

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