It Says Right Here It's PermissibleSometimes the line between what you can do and what you cannot do is rather blurry. Then the correlative subject, that being what you should do gets lost in all the trying to get away with stuff.
What I’m trying to say is that stating, “Well, it says right here that it is permissible” is sort of like saying, “I didn’t think I would get caught, but I knew that if I did, that I would not get in any legal trouble.”
Oh, and to answer your question, No, I do not have much of an active conscience and yes, I do hang on rather tenuously to my morals, and I have shockingly low ethical standards as well.
Except for the fact that when people who use the above phrase are cornered they never admit to the low ethical standards—it is really just implied in their actions and words.
Campaign funds are amassed from a variety of sources, individuals (some quite wealthy, some not so much,) unions, corporations, advocacy groups. I don’t know the rest but I’m sure there are more and they probably prefer that we don’t know about them. And then once a candidate is elected they are allowed to draw from their campaign accounts as they see fit, apparently. Well, that is unless they get caught. Then they have to explain.
Poor Joe DiVincenzo is a recent victim in New Jersey. I say “poor” because I don’t understand why The Newark Star Ledger cannot just cut this guy a break.
He needs a gym membership because he has to stay in shape for all of that verbal volleying he has to engage in as a county executive (whatever that is—but he was elected to be it—that’s the point) and it is exhausting and it requires that he lift and run and shower at the gym regularly so that he can adequately represent his constituents. Please.
He also needs to eat out a lot so that he can discuss policy over a hot meal after the gym. His job requires that he cut deals while he is cutting his steak with a baked potato and a nice glass of something. Someone has to do it, and he’s the man for the job. 110 meals like this. Yes, I know, that is a lot of deal cutting. This guy is very good at what he does and he has a regular table in the back near the bar. So there.
Oh. The golf. 28 games. Also deal cutting, and slicing the ball. Joe—turn your club in more! Okay. Well, you’ll get better. See you next week. Game’s on me, or rather, your campaign, haha.
Oh. The annual trip to Puerto Rico every Super Bowl weekend with my colleagues? What? Seriously? We are making deals and discussing policy and we think better in tropical climates and it’s Puerto Rico for god’s sake, not Antigua.
That‘s next year.
I don’t see the problem, what all the fuss is about.
It says right here it’s permissible. It’s all legal.
Yes. It is.
And that’s the point. It’s legal, but it’s not right.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been satirizing this type of thing on the national level making fun of SuperPacs and how there are no laws (or very vaguely written ones) governing how money raised for campaigns may be spent. It is hilarious until you realize that is all true.
Jon wore a diamond tiara the other night on the air explaining that he was not sure if he should spend the SuperPac money on negative ads against Colbert’s opponents in South Carolina or buy the tiara. He chose the tiara.
Jon—it doesn’t go with anything in your closet. Now that was waste of money.
When politicians say they have to cut spending to social programs that people depend on during hard times, what they’re saying is, I need to keep playing golf and working out and eating out and traveling at no personal expense so that I can better serve you.
You need to get a job…like mine.
Once it’s raised it’s their money. I get that. But if it really is all about who can raise the most, then when does it get to be about the people who they were elected to represent,-- before, during or after the workouts and the dinners and the games and the trips?
Since these days it really is ALL about money on the local, state and national level these are the types of questions that need to be asked.
In NJ they can put the expenses on their persona credit cards and then get reimbursed by their campaign account. Sweet.
As for the Puerto Rico trip:
His lawyer said, “This is an annual opportunity for political figures and other constituencies in Essex County to go away in a retreat like setting… It creates an environment for the exchange of ideas important to the county executive’s understanding of the politics of the county and his constituents. It is a legally permissible expense, in our view.”*
Brilliant! Now I get it.
*Matt Friedman, Newark Star Ledger Monday, January 23, 2012
DiVincenzo to revise campaign reports