Fox in the Henhouse
Dan Burton is the Poster Child for Congressional Abuse and Hypocrisy
by Mac MacArthur
Tuesday, May 20th, 1997 -- It's difficult to imagine a hypocrite with more chutzpah than Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN).
Burton chairs the House Government Reform & Oversight Committee that is investigating campaign finance abuses -- yet each day reveals more about Burton's own sleazy finance dealings.
- Burton accepted an invitation from AT&T, who had business before another of his committees, to play golf in its Pro-Am tourney -- AT&T also brazenly threw a fundraiser for Burton during the tournament.
- Burton shook down a lobbyist for Pakistan, Mark Siegel, for a $5,000 contribution -- threatening to blackball the man if he didn't come through. Siegel testified before a Federal Grand Jury on the matter.
- Burton was forced to return contributions from Sikh religious groups which were illegally made -- but only after the Sikh contributions were exposed.
- Burton and his staff lobbied the Department of Education to get favors for a contributor who runs a medical school in the Caribbean.
- Burton had to return $500 to ex-Zairian President Mobutu's lobbyist because this last $500 exceeded the legal limit Burton could take from the lobbyist -- this after Burton took the maximum contribution and banked honoraria from the Mobutu agent!
These facts have not escaped the attention of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has sent Reps. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Christopher Cox (R-CA) to sit on Burton's Committee to keep Burton in line. James Carney of Time reports this week that the Speaker is concerned Burton could destroy the credibility of the committee and distract from its purpose.
One hypocrite watching another! How could Newt Gingrich worry about any congressman destroying the credibility of anything?
If I were Burton, I'd laugh in Newt's face.
By the way, Burton used to be best known for re-enacting White House counsel Vince Foster's death by shooting bullets into a "headlike object" in his back yard.
What is this -- the Twilight Zone?
Copyright © 1997, 1996, American Politics Journal Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.