Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Friday, January 27, 2006

Scandal derails junket for congressional aides

The debate in Congress concerning lobbying reform in the wake of the Abramoff scandal is having a “chilling effect” on the National Association of Manufacturers’ lobbying activities, according to the organization’s president, John Engler. Congressional aides are canceling their junkets – privately funded “fact-finding” trips. One knows there is more going on than merely making congressional staffers more informed about businesses and industries. When people in other occupations seek to become updated on new developments in their field, they attend boring seminars that gather no attention. When politicians “learn” about immigrant worker visas, pension plans, energy strategies, and other issues, they cannot view a PowerPoint presentation or read a white paper. Instead, they go golfing in Scotland, stay in nice hotels, and dine at fine restaurants, at public expense or at the expense of contributors who seek to shape policies that affect the American people. Obviously, something more is involved than just providing “input” on issues before Congress if these activities are receiving such scrutiny.


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