The sad truth about members of Congress is that they aren’t like other federal employees. Congressmen exempt themselves from the rules, and they often use staff members to wait on their every whim… or, occasionally, to appease their carnal desires.
For example, The Ouachita Citizen, a newspaper in West Monroe, Louisiana, published a story on Monday that included a surveillance video of Congressman Vance McAllister passionately kissing a female staff member.
What makes this particular story appalling is that McAllister, a married man and father of five, won his seat by sharing his Christian faith and preaching conservative values.
Since Monday, McAllister has hid from the media, though he did find time to release a statement about how important it is for the public to forgive him.
McAllister wrote, “There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking for forgiveness. I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff and my constituents who elected me to serve.”
Yet, at the same time, McAllister plans to run for re-election “unless there is an outcry for me not to serve, and so far there has been an outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people.”
Dishonesty requires consequences. Employers aren’t allowed to passionately kiss employees, and married men shouldn’t be making out with other women. If McAllister really wants to get his life in order, he should resign. Then he will deserve forgiveness.
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That being said, I’m not interested in micromanaging the lives of anybody. But in the case of Congressmen, they work for us.
Every time a story breaks about how a member abused his or her power over a staff member and took liberties not allowed in the private sector, it makes my blood boil.
Unfortunately, it seems to happen far too often.
Having spent time with members of Congress, I admit to being really embarrassed at the rude, demanding way many of them treat their staff. Some of the worst members treat their staff almost like slaves, or, dare I say, concubines.
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You might be wondering: Why do Congressmen think they can treat people this way?
Well, to understand the way Congressmen think, you have to understand the featherbed deal they enjoy.
Members of Congress work, on average, 113 days a year. They make $174,000 a year, and that doesn’t include the huge non-cash compensations, perks and other benefits. Yet they still aren’t satisfied. Congressman Jim Moran, of Virginia, thinks they deserve more.
He told Roll Call last week that he wants the American people to understand that their leaders are “underpaid.”
But Jim… if members of Congress were truly underpaid, they wouldn’t stay on for years and years. Who in their right mind would spend hundreds of thousands or maybe even a million dollars to maintain a job in which they were underpaid?
Congressmen have top-of-the-line healthcare, and they don’t pay the same amount as you or me. Their pension benefits are out of this world.
They take flights on government planes, crisscrossing the globe on our dime. They have multiple accounts from which they spend a combination of tax dollars, campaign dollars and even litigation and compliance fund dollars, just so they can live like the fabulously wealthy.
On top of that, they’re feted at the most lavish parties, and most don’t engage in the full disclosure of activities required by law.
The idea that Congressmen don’t make enough money is an outrage, particularly when Americans are struggling to make ends meet.
I believe members of Congress should be paid the median wage of the average worker. They should have to live like their constituents, not like the wealthy lobbyists and corporate moguls they surround themselves with.
If Americans were smart, they’d cut Congressional salaries rather than increase them.
Your eyes on the Hill,