A Washington Post investigation found that 73 members of Congress have “sponsored or co-sponsored legislation in recent years that could benefit businesses or industries in which either they or their family members are involved or invested.”
Here’s the part that caught my eye:
When the House and Senate wrote their first set of modern ethics rules in the 1970s, in response to the Watergate scandal, they expressly prohibited members from engaging in legislative activities that would financially benefit them. But both chambers immediately carved out exemptions to the rule.
The greatest latitude was provided to lawmakers whose business interests aligned with major industries within their home states. “If a dairy farmer represented a dairy farming state in the Senate, and introduced, worked for, and voted for legislation to raise or maintain price supports for dairy producers, he would not fall under the strictures of this rule,” the Senate ethics manual says.
In other words, it’s a-okay for members of Congress to help themselves to the Treasury’s vault so long as they intend to share the loot with the special interests back home.
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