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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 9, 2006 / 9 Teves, 5766

Eight simple steps to Swiffer Congress

By Jonathan Turley

Turley
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As Robert W. Ney gazed across St. Andrews' fabled golf course, he must have paused to take the measure of his rags-to-riches life. After all, he was a regular Joe who once scraped by on the salary of a low-level bureaucrat in Bellaire, Ohio (population 4,892; annual median income $19,480). Now he was in Scotland for a quick getaway   —   at the finest hotels, the finest restaurants and at the world's most famous golf course.


And it didn't cost him a thing.


Ney is a member of the House of Representatives, and his trip was arranged by the now-infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the central figure in a broadening scandal of influence peddling and bribery in Washington. Abramoff confessed to federal crimes this week and promised to cooperate against politicians who sold their offices for free vacations and sports tickets.


The fact is, such improprieties are all too common in Washington. The recent revelations about Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego) add fuel to the fire. Cunningham left a paper trail of gifts such as a Rolls-Royce (and $17,890 in repairs), use of a corporate jet, silver candelabra, Persian carpets, a sofa, a sleigh bed and much more, all courtesy of the defense industry.


Although there are calls for reform, the smart money in Washington has to be on the long-armed lobbyists, not the short-memoried voters. Just in case anyone is serious, however, here are eight simple changes that would clean up Congress.

  • Close the "outside income" loophole. Now, members of Congress routinely legislate in areas where they have direct and sizable financial interests. That's because the ethics code prohibition on outside income doesn't include money earned from investments, such as stocks.

    Researchers at the University of Memphis found that 75% of randomly selected members had "stock transactions that directly coincided with [their] legislative activity." Another study showed that senators' investments outperformed those of "corporate insiders" by eight percentage points, a difference best explained by "insider information."

    The way to deal with this problem is simple: Require members to put their investments into a blind investment portfolio or trust.

  • Bar quid pro quo arrangements. Members accept sweetheart financial deals from individuals who then get generous government contracts and legislative perks. Some members have gotten no-interest loans; others have made 500% profit on deals in a few short years.

    The simple solution is to force members to recuse themselves from any legislation or official action that benefits their business associates or immediate family members.

  • Deter nepotism. Members have become increasingly bold in seeking offices and appointments for their children, siblings, spouses, etc. Again, the simple solution is total recusal. No member of Congress or his or her staff should be allowed to participate in any appointment or hiring of a family member.

  • End family lobbying. Lobbyists aren't allowed to give money directly to members, so they routinely give it to members' spouses or children. How? They hire them. Dozens of children and spouses of members of Congress are working in Washington lobbying firms   —   often with no pertinent experience or skills. Members should be barred from any involvement with legislation or from committee assignments that bear on issues a family member represents.

  • End "educational" trips. A rule bars congressional junkets paid for by lobbyists, but as long as the lobbyist uses a shell "research" group and calls the vacations "educational," members can go, and take their families. All trips paid for by any outside group should be banned.

  • Bar private-jet travel. Congress allows members to accept flights on private or corporate jets, often with lobbyists tagging along, if members reimburse those companies for the equivalent of a first-class ticket. The problem is that the value of such travel is far greater than a first-class ticket. Members should be required to reimburse for the total cost of a jet charter.

  • Change the valuation of gifts. Members are supposed to accept no gifts worth more than $50, but it happens all the time. For example, the owner of a major basketball team reportedly valued tickets to his skybox at $49.50, at least when they were given to a member. The valuation of gifts should be independently calculated.

  • Create a truly independent ethics office for both houses. With members in control of their own ethics rules, as is now the case, ethical behavior is just one more commodity to be traded in the political market. For example, when ethics charges were flying a few years ago, members simply agreed on a moratorium on such charges   —   creating in effect an ethics-free zone for the corrupt.


These loopholes were maintained by members of both parties despite years of objections by outside groups. It's not that they didn't know how to govern ethically, they simply preferred not to, if given the choice.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.

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