I must not be a congressman

Posted: Oct 15, 2006 12:00 AM
I must not be a congressman

There’s no money in my freezer. I just checked. Not $90,000. Not a penny. Just some ground beef, frozen pizza, and ice cream.

I must not be a congressman.

Congressman William Jefferson (D-La.) had $90,000 in his freezer. The FBI thinks that’s odd. Now that I think of it, it does seem a bit odd. A lot of cool cash, though.

No one’s taken me on a great vacation to play golf in Scotland. But former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) got a lavish trip. For free, in fact.

Of course, I’m not a congressman. And I don’t play golf.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and some other Senators are big boxing fans. But please realize that when these solons accept free tickets to see the fights, they go not just for fun, but also for work. They’re always on the clock, learning about this great country they manage to miraculously keep afloat.

I’m no Senator, so for me to score a free ticket to something, I have to actually have a friend. However, it’s nice that I can cheer for my team without ever once pretending I’m really there on a fact-finding mission.

But I’m no boxing fan. Sure, boxers are great athletes, but somehow hitting people about the head and face in an attempt to knock them unconscious hardly seems like sport.

Tennis anyone?

Sen. Reid also happens to be a brilliant real estate investor. He knocked down a cool $1.1 million in a deal that just came to light. (Though, I betcha Reid never keeps his dough in the freezer.)

But what Reid isn’t as good at is filing his financial disclosure reports with the U.S. Senate. He failed to note this deal. That’s a violation of Senate rules. The deal was also with a fellow whose name has popped up in bribery and organized crime investigations . . . but hey: innocent until proven guilty.

Thank goodness I don’t have to disclose all my financial transactions. Even though I’m not a congressman, I do indeed know the feeling of getting raked over the coals on finances. Like when the charge card bill comes in and my wife sees how many mochas I’ve charged at Starbucks.

Amazing indeed is the long track record of phenomenal investing success by congresspersons — from New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s acumen with cattle futures to former Speaker of the House Tom Foley’s $100,000 IPO. I guess I’ve done okay in my investments, but I’m not a congressman — certainly no Hillary. I just invest as my wife suggests (when I’m wise). Of course, my wife can’t get us any of those IPOs. And she’s adamant that we steer clear of cattle futures.

Former Congressman Randy Cunningham (R-Calif.) got all kinds of money and free stuff for being a congressman. The bribes totaled some $2.4 million. That won’t even fit in your run-of-the-mill freezer. He also got limo rides, prostitutes, a Rolls Royce and even a $2,200 French toilet.

Since Congress mandated these stupid low-flow toilets that don’t work, I can hardly blame Cunningham for looking for something better. Many of us are looking for a solution, even if that means going with expensive foreign toilets. At my house, not having any generous lobbyist friends, we just flush twice.

Funny, there is absolutely no ban on gifts to me at all and yet no one has ever offered me a Rolls or a fancy French toilet. (Still, you can just email me if you want to know my shirt size or my favorite books or CDs.)

By the way, I asked for a raise in pay the other day. Yeah, now I really must not be a congressman. They don’t have to ask.

And then there’s Congressman Mark Foley and the salacious emails he sent to underage House pages. Nothing humorous about that. But for the record, let me just state again, unequivocally, that I am not now and have never been a congressman.

When I heard about Foley’s behavior I immediately thought of my own kids and how important it is to keep them safe. It was moments later that I first considered how this scandal could affect the party control of Congress.

Well, I must not be a congressman.

Polls show Americans hold Congress in historically (and almost hysterically) low esteem. Congress is supposed to be the world’s greatest representative assembly. But just whom do they represent?

You? Me? I sure hope not.

If you think there is any risk that this Congress might represent you by resembling you, resist doing whatever sleazy thing might be tempting you. Just repeat to yourself: “I must not be a congressman . . . I must not be a congressman . . .”