The first are bone-crushingly naive, of course: but the second have had a really rotten return on their investment, these last few years.
But let's check in with the New York Post, first:
High-ranking members of Congress were flown to a lush Caribbean resort this month for a three-day conference planned and paid for by several of the country's most powerful corporations - a violation of federal ethics rules, critics say.
Six members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended the 13th annual Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference in sun-drenched St. Maarten, including embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel and New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne.
Let's give you the list, shall we?
Charles Rangel (D, NY-15)Donald Payne (D, NJ-10)Sheila Jackson-Lee (D, TX-18)Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D, MI-13)Bennie Thompson (D, MS-2)Donna Christensen (D, VI) (nonvoting member)
But according to House ethics rules, members of Congress and their staffs cannot accept multiday trips from a corporation that "employs or retains a registered lobbyist. Included in this limitation are companies, firms, non-profit organizations (including charities), and other private entities that retain or employ a lobbyist."
Though the conference's organizer is listed as New York City-based Carib News Foundation, that group pays for the event through donations from private, for-profit companies.
Furthermore, according to House rules, members of Congress must seek prior written permission from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to take free multiday trips. They must also file reports with the Clerk of the House of Representatives listing all financial sponsors within two weeks of each trip.
Read the whole thing: the NYP indulged in this interesting activity called "journalism," which apparently involves asking people questions about events, then checking their answers to see if they were true. Judging from some of the reactions, this was a genuinely new thing to have happen by the people being asked the questions, because the Post caught them out on several different points, mostly involving either the lack of paperwork, or the falsification of same (Hi, Rep. Payne!). What's striking here is that the participants mostly didn't particularly try to cover any of this up; admittedly, they're all Democrats, so perhaps they didn't think that there was any real need to.
I will readily enough admit that they'll probably get away with this, although Rangel may at least be in over his head right now. But that's the way of the world, or at least the Democratic Party. Their own supporters are adamantly against showing any sort of public condemnation against the corruption found within their own ranks. This is simply the way they operate, and it will be the way that they operate for the foreseeable future. But never let it be said that the Democrats were never told that what they were doing was wrong. Because it is wrong, and I'm here to tell them that it's wrong.
And I think that they know that I'm right, too.