Members of Congress were quick to shame corporate executives for over-the-top extravagance during the economic crisis, flying private jets and taking luxury junkets. But some lawmakers are strolling fancy resorts spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars and mingling with lobbyists.They better be mindful of more than perceptions.
"We're very mindful" of perceptions, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson told reporters Thursday camped outside of the sprawling Kingsmill Resort & Spa in Williamsburg, Va., where House Democrats spent about $100,000 on their three-day annual retreat. "It's serious and it's from morning till night. We've been dwelling, rightfully, on the economy," said Larson, D-Conn.
Republicans and Democrats in the House have passed new rules governing such trips even as lawmaker say the events are useful for negotiating public policy. But with a nation tightening its belt and already fatigued by stories of corporate excess, perceptions matter these days in Washington. Congress risks shattering its glass house throwing stones.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Congress' big spenders