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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

October 22, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Hey, Congress, shutdown Leadership PACs

If voter anger and frustration with Congress are waning after the mindless closure of the federal government, and flirtation with a massive credit debacle, a “60 Minutes” report will renew the head-shaking disgust.

Correspondent Steve Kroft laid out the pure self-serving greed and aggrandizement behind a lucrative device known as Leadership PACs. The rules around campaign financing are mushy enough, and a case before the U.S. Supreme Court seeks to blow the lid off, but Leadership PACs are different, and pure gold.

William Brown/Op Art

William Brown/Op Art

As the CBS report “Washington’s open secret: Profitable PACs,” explains, members of Congress can use “money solicited from friends and supporters to advance agendas, careers and lifestyles.” The money can be used to wine and dine contributors, put family members on the campaign payroll, and even make loans to political causes at rates that might embarrass a corner cash-advance lender. And, besides, no one is auditing where the money goes.

Kroft confronted Democrats and Republicans who are members in good standing of this Order of the Out-Stretched Palm. They respond with nary a blush.

They were living the good life and endowing loyalty, support and more donations.  Sure they could be noble and forego pay during the federal shutdown; access to cash was not a problem.

 

Comments | Topics: 60 Minutes, congress, Leadership PACs

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