MORE ON THE DIANNE FEINSTEIN CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST CHARGES, from Bill Allison. There’s a response from Peter Byrne in the comments, and here’s an earlier piece by Byrne, too.

And I should note that while I endorse the distinction between actual conflicts of interest and the mere appearance of a conflict of interest, I should also note — in fact, come to think of it, I have noted, together with Peter Morgan — that Congress doesn’t feel the same way:

The Office of Government Ethics has issued numerous advisory letters and formal opinions on appearance problems since its creation. And when one OGE director sensibly said that the “appearance” rule is merely aspirational, and that consequently “appearance” transgressions, standing alone, do not themselves constitute ethical violations, a Senate oversight committee quickly convened public hearings to interrogate the director, his predecessors who adopted a contrary view, and various “ethics experts.” The OGE subsequently reversed itself.

So I agree with Allison’s point, but, you know, geese, ganders, and all that.