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Saturday, July 21, 2007 

Marion Berry Cashing In on Federal Service

Recent coverage about farm subsidies for minority farmers got us thinking. Where is the outrage over Marion Berry cashing in on his position in Congress?

Consider if you will, between 1996 and 2000, farm and land-holding companies that Berry owns with relatives in eastern Arkansas have received $750,449 in federal crop subsidies, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture records.

I wonder if it is a coincidence that Berry was elected in 1996 and has served on the Agriculture Commitee ever since. I just don't see why no one has investigated this clear conflict of interest?

Of the three branches of the federal government, Congress has the fewest prohibitions on conflicts of interest and acts of self-dealing. Officials in the execu­tive branch and judiciary are required to divest them­selves of any investment in or ownership of for-profit entities that may be within the purview of their agency or court. They are also under strict limits on the extent to which members of their immediate fami­lies may benefit directly from their position.

In contrast, Members of Congress are not required to divest themselves of any financial inter­est, even if that interest is subject to their official oversight and influence. Nor are they required to recuse themselves from voting on issues that may harm or benefit the personal investment interests of themselves or their relatives.
Funny how the Democrats in Congress are always pointing the finger at the Bush Administration when in fact it is Congress that has such loopholes in profiting of their service.
I just don't see how it is legal or ethical for a Congressman to make a fortune off his own votes?
Why are Congressmen free to push legislation that makes them rich?


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