December 12, 2005

YOU COULD WRITE A BOOK ABOUT DUMB ETHICS LAWS — and I have! — but this seems particularly stupid even by the relaxed standards applicable to Congress:

But the Senate had a different idea, Even before he was sworn in, Dr. Coburn was handed a letter from the Senate Ethics Committee chairman informing him that he cold not “receive compensation for practicing a profession which involves a fiduciary relationship.” The fact that Dr. Coburn wouldn’t have made any financial gain from delivering babies was immaterial. Ethics member Craig Thomas, a Wyoming Republican, summed up the committee’s stance: “When you go into Congress, that’s your job. When you come here, this is your commitment.” . . .

As for the notion that Mr. Coburn will be corrupted by having his expenses delivering babies compensated, it’s common practice for senators to be whisked away, all expenses paid, to exotic locales where they give speeches to special-interest groups. Sen. Coburn is clearly no slouch when it comes to keeping his nose to the grindstone. Even though he has maintained a part-time medical practice so far this year, he has written 10 bills and 72 amendments and presided over a dozen committee hearings.

Read the whole thing.

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