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And now a word from the Deficit Dozen's sponsors ...

August 17, 2011 - Rob Weaver
No sooner had minority and majority leaders from the House and Senate named appointments to the 12-member “super committee” charged with cutting federal spending than ethical concerns were raised.

The committee includes Sens. Pat Toomey R-Pa.; Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; John Kerry, D-Mass.; and Max Baucus, D-Mont.; along with Reps. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Dave Camp, R-Mich.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; and Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.

Fox Business.com reported the bipartisan dozen -- who are charged with, by December, agreeing to cutting at least $1.5 trillion from federal spending over the next 10 years -- had received $64.6 million from special interests groups over the previous 10 years.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington urged committee members to cease fundraising, at least until the end of November.

Columnist Michelle Malkin specifically mentioned Murray, who as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is in charge of fundraising.

Of course, the need to raise campaign funds forever will result in concerns about conflicts of interest. As it is, lobbyists and campaign donors now can focus on the deficit dozen instead of all 535 members of Congress.

Then, while catching a glimpse of a professional road race over the weekend, I had an epiphany. There is a way to make the potential impact of campaign cash more transparent.

National politicians -- I’m thinking of candidates for Congress and the presidency -- should wear suits bearing the names and logos of their sponsors ... I mean, donors. Unlike race-car drivers, the outfits wouldn’t have to be made of Nomex (although, after witnessing some of the debates, perhaps suits constructed of flame-resistant material might be desirable).

An ethics panel could develop rules for various donor levels. Major sponsors -- for example, those donating more than $100,000 -- would get larger patches placed more prominently. Plus, office holders (and I’m thinking of the president, here) would have to partake in what is referred to is some racing circles as the “hat dance” while giving a press conference. You may have witnessed that at the end of the Daytona 500 or Indy 500; while the winner is interviewed in national TV in victory lane, the driver’s head is covered in a succession of caps bearing logos and colors of various major sponsors.

Imagine seeing that during the next State of the Union address.

 
 

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