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Thursday, May 04, 2006

PA-07: Surprise! "Army of Curt" a Proud Member of the Culture of Corruption

Posted by DavidNYC

Unhinged lunatic Crazy Curt Weldon already has a long list of demerits to his name. Now - not that it's any surprise - you can add corruption:

Over the past eight years, Weldon has spent about $80,000 of campaign treasury funds—donated money that congressional ethics rules say should be used for “bona fide campaign or political purposes”—on restaurant meals. His dining choices range from high-end establishments like The Monocle, a Capitol Hill restaurant popular with lawmakers and lobbyists, to the humble Cracker Barrel. During the same period Weldon also dropped about $30,000 on hotels.

Take January 3, 1999: less than two months after winning reelection with 72 percent of the vote and 22 months away from his next election, Weldon spent $435.39 in campaign funds at the Capitol Grille in Washington. (The Grille’s website bears the slogan: “Remind yourself why you work so hard.”) Then, during the summer and early fall of 1999, still more than a year from election day, Weldon put down $400 of campaign funds on five meals in Wildwood, New Jersey, where he then owned a beach house. Three of those meals were on the weekend.

Weldon has drawn from his campaign funds for a number of other seemingly unusual expenditures. He spent $1,698 for a personal computer, delivered to his home, and several hundred dollars in Budapest, Moscow, and at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Oslo—all highly unusual campaign stops for a man representing a district in eastern Pennsylvania. In Atlantic City he spent $502 at The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and $405.61 at the Taj Mahal. Add to that $4,618 paid for landscaping to a company owned by a campaign contributor and some $13,000 in unitemized personal reimbursements.

Landscaping? As a campaign expense? Are you kidding me? At the very least, I hope Curt did a good job winning over all those voters in Hungary, Russia and Norway, because he'll need them big-time if he wants to win this fall.

Man, stuff like this may be legal, but it shouldn't be. Or as they say, the scandal isn't the illegal behavior - the scandal is what's legal.

Posted at 04:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Technorati

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Ah, but, as a wise DavidNYC once told me, the legal arms race doesn't let up. If they pass a law making this illegal, they'll just find a new way around it.

Which isn't to say it shouldn't be done for expressive purposes. But it would take a lot more to change the behavior, and that, I get the impression, is of equal concern.

Posted by: shimamoto [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 6, 2006 08:28 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

This is a little narrower. To my mind, there's just something objectionable about a candidate using campaign donations for personal expenses like these. If you make doing so illegal, then they can't at least engage in this one narrow activity any longer.

Yes, they might find a way around it - but it would require whole new ways of laundering money. And at least it wouldn't involve essentially stealing money from campaign contributors, who believed they were giving money to help elect someone, not landscape their garden.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 6, 2006 08:24 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment