In the continuing fallout from lower-Valley Congressman Richard Neal's big money bash on the Cape last weekend, the Boston Globe has published an editorial scolding him for his ethical blindness. While conceding that such tawdry fundraising is commonplace, the Globe argues that Neal should none the less raise his ethical standards:
But in seeking to become one of Washington’s top dealmakers, Neal shouldn’t also accede to the capital’s money culture. He shouldn’t sell access to himself. The trading of influence for campaign contributions rightly outrages the public; and while no congressman can operate in a vacuum, Neal must avoid the fund-raising excesses that are open to top D.C. powerbrokers.
His $5,000-a-head “summer weekend on Cape Cod’’ with representatives of special interests at the Chatham Bars Inn was one such excess. It’s one thing to accept contributions from those hoping for favors; it’s another to hunker down with them for a weekend, with a fat entry fee.
Neal is hardly alone in this type of fund-raising. Building a campaign war chest and then doling out contributions to fellow members helps grease the path to plum chairmanships. But there are plenty of ways for Neal to raise funds without explicitly offering closed-door access to himself, and the fact that other members use similar methods doesn’t make it right.
Tom Wesley, one of Neal's opponents for re-election this year, released the following statement:
Last Friday, the Boston Globe reported about Richard Neal’s $5,000-a-head summer weekend with him for donors and lobbyists, but they went a step further on Wednesday editorializing against it. The Globe said that Neal “shouldn’t sell access to himself” and “must avoid the fund-raising excesses that are open to top D.C. powerbrokers,” calling his Cape Cod event “one such excess.”
I have lived in Washington, D.C. before. I know the temptations that lie around every corner, from money to power to physical pleasures. “Potomac Fever” is nothing new, but with the 24-hour news cycle, politicians are being exposed more and more for their moral shortcomings.
I pledge to be different. I am not seeking to be a career politician. I want to go to Congress to be a part of the clean-up crew that will be the 112th Congress, and do some great things for the people of the Massachusetts Second District.
To read the Boston Globe editorial in its entirety click here. Don't forget to also read the very interesting comments at the end left by readers.
I'm surprised and pleased to see that something appears to finally be happening at 48 Main Street in downtown Northampton.
Collecting signatures for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Horn player in front of the Haymarket.
With the chilly nights recently the homeless frog needed a blanket!
Big comix sale at Broadside Books.
Sun is setting. Good night, sweet Hamp.
Revolution in the Air
Dann Vazquez captured this image of the revolutionary from the film V for Vendetta in a Hamp window.
Tea Party demonstration on Boston Road in Springfield this morning.
Henning and friends at the Montague Bookmill recently. Photo by Brian Akey.