Like Blaming the Bank


The Examiner editorializes about the congressional travel study released by the Center for Public Integrity yesterday, which found special interests lavishing tens of millions of dollars to fly members and their staff on junkets all over the world…and argues that the problem lies in too much government:

The solution is not more regulations and rules that require teams of lawyers to understand and which crafty lobbyists, congressional aides and other Washington insiders eventually find new ways to evade. The solution is to reduce the size and scope of government. Only then will there be significantly fewer special interests buying plane and hotel tickets for members of Congress and their staffs.

But what is so burdensome and complicated as a ban on members and staff accepting travel from third parties? The Examiner might not like it much, but a far better alternative is to require members and staff to travel on the taxpayer dime. Members would be far less likely to take annual trips to Hawaii to mingle with interest groups, and would instead limit their trips to those they could (and almost certainly would have to) justify to taxpayers (and voters).

Blaming the size of the federal budget for these lavish trips sponsored by favor-seeking special interests is a bit like blaming the bank for having all that money to be robbed…