A Practice That Should Stop

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Aug 09, 2010 5:38 PM
The New York Times has reported on a practice that the GOP should pledge to stop: Endowments that offer "naming opportunities" for a variety of sitting office-holders.

This has come to light, of course, through the sordid Charlie Rangel debacle, where it appears that Rangel was hustling donations to his institute while offering donors special consideration in official matters.  No doubt some of the other politicians play by the rules and would never use their office (or the promise, express or implied, of favors) to solicit donations.

Nevertheless, the appearance is terrible.  The GOP should pledge to pass a rule if and when they retake power: No "naming opportunities" for sitting politicians.  After all, if you're that great, people will want to honor you when you retire, or afterwards.

One reason this issue hits home with me?  The hospital where my dad practiced medicine named its new surgical wing in his honor, when he retired, as a tribute to almost 50 years of his selfless service.  It's wrong for politicians to be able to use their official positions -- subsidized by us, the taxpayers -- to raise money in order to get their names plastered on buildings, or university endowments, or anything else.