Rep. Dan Burton: Why do your job when you can golf with Ray Romano?
Being a U.S. Congressmen isn’t easy. You put your reputation on the line, day after day. You sometimes have to spend as many as three days a week doing your job. You have to live off a paltry salary of just $165,000 a year (not counting bribes).
Nonetheless, people still work to get elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, because they care. They care about the public, and about being a legislator of the strongest nation on Earth. All they really care about is serving the people, and they would never betray their trust.
Unless they get a chance to play in a really cool golf tournament. Then to hell with everyone.
Such is the case of Dan Burton, a U.S. Representative from Indiana. Seems Burton, while loving the perks of the job, isn’t much for the job itself, especially with amazing golf opportunities continuously popping up.
According to IndyStar.com, Burton skipped 19 House votes, including measures to reduce college costs and cut oil industry tax breaks, so he could play in a golf tournament last month in Palm Springs, Calif. Burton also missed hearings on Iraq and North Korea so he could play in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic with big-time celebrities like Ray Romano.
Who in their right mind wouldn’t screw over his or her constituents and American taxpayers for the chance to play golf with Ray Romano? Certainly not Burton, who ranked last in voting among Indiana lawmakers in 2006.
Still, in the United State’s complicated system of checks and balances, there are rules on the books for people like Burton. Because while Burton is no Bob Ney, drunkenly accepting golf trips to Scotland in exchange for his vote (though Burton approves of that type of behavior), one would hope there was a way to punish him for not doing his job.
And there is: Federal law requires docking lawmakers’ $165,200 salary if they’re absent without sufficient reason. Of course, that law has never been enforced, and it’s extraordinarily doubtful they’ll enforce it on Burton. After all, there are plenty of guys in Congress sporting minuscule handicaps. Do you think their game got that good by serving those that pay their salaries?
So in a nation where political figures are treated with oligarchical reverence, Burton will continue to make his living off the American taxpayer, while looking for any opportunity to get on the golf course, key congressional votes be damned.
In the end, Burton’s love of golf and his general feeling of malaise toward his job could hurt him in his re-election efforts. At very least, however, there’s this: Burton hasn’t blamed his love of golf on alcohol abuse. At least not yet.
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What is your opinion of Robert Byrd of West Virginia? Or Patty Murray of Washington?
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