Friday, June 24, 2005

Golf & Corporate Scandals: The Republican Baseball & Apple Pie

The lure of the green might be too much for most Republicans to handle, according to a recent article by Michael Crowley for With all of the talk of money in politics and lobbyist-funded luxury getaways these days, you might think I'm talking about money. But no, in this case it is the lure of the golf course.

On a Wednesday afternoon earlier this month, top Republicans quietly disappeared from Capitol Hill. House votes were suspended for several hours. What was afoot? An urgent briefing on Iraq, the troubled economy, the coming avian flu pandemic?," Crowley writes. "Not exactly. The event that lured away the Republican throng, which included House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was the Booz Allen Hamilton pro-am golf tournament held in suburban Maryland. Alas, politics waits for no tournament, and back on the Hill there was trouble."

Turns out an important vote on U.N. reform was nearly lost for the Republicans when they fled to the links.

"Golf is an expression of the party's elite upper-class id. And that id is
what's corrupting the party," Crowley writes.

He goes on to detail the bait that Abramoff used to lure members of Congress to the Northern Mariana Islands. Officially, they were there to witness the deplorable sweatshop conditions. Yet somehow, they had time to fit in several rounds of golf at Saipan's luxurious LaoLao Bay Golf Resort. Consider the Abramoff scandals.

"It seemed to be so much about golf," one disillusioned conservative said.

One of the best examples of the "corrupting function" of the sport is the golf retreat/fundraiser that organized two years ago by DeLay's PACs. Just one day before Senate and House negotiations over a big energy bill, energy-company execs paid up to $25,000 to tool around in a golf cart with DeLay and his top aides. The timing of the fundraiser led to an admonishment of DeLay by the currently dormant House Ethics Committee.


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