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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Latest Congressional Indictment Emphasizes Need for Reform

“This week’s indictment of Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, illustrates how legislators have lost interest in upholding the Constitution or acting on behalf of the public. Although we don’t know the truth of the specific charges against him, Senator Stevens—the promoter of the infamous $223 million ‘bridge to nowhere’—epitomizes what is wrong with Washington today. Federal legislators view their role not as defenders of the citizens’ liberty, but rather as a huge piggy bank full of money at their disposal to buy favors and influence. Winning reelection is far more important to them than respecting the Constitution’s limits on government.”

“The problem of soft corruption in Washington, whereby politicians routinely abuse their power, is bipartisan,” observes Barr. “Often the abuses are legal. For instance, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, solicited donations from corporations with business before his Committee for an academic center at the City College of New York to house his papers. Chairman Rangel also authored a $1.9 million earmark for what some critics term the ‘Monument to Me’ center. Moreover, he won two
Department of Housing and Urban Development grants worth nearly $700,000 to refurbish the building to house the center. Whatever the congressman’s intentions, he has misused his position and the federal treasury for personal benefit.”

The problem extends also to major pieces of legislation. Notes Barr, “Congress has just approved a multi-billion dollar housing bail-out largely drafted by Senator Christopher Dodd, who received a cheap loan from Countrywide Financial, which benefited from the bail-out. Congress, including Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, also has agreed to bail out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which are overloaded with bad mortgages backed by inadequate reserves, even though Lobbyists for both organizations have close ties to both presidential campaigns.” One of Barack Obama’s housing advisers is Franklin Raines, who was forced out as CEO of Fannie Mae for apparently cooking the company’s books and after receiving a multi-million dollar golden parachute; and Arthur Culvahouse, who heads John McCain’s vice presidential vetting process, was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae.

“Will the insider games and politics-as-usual never end?,” Barr asked, “they obviously won’t if the American people continue to accept the status quo. The political system is broken and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will fix it,” insists Barr. “That’s why I am running for president. Only Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party offer a real opportunity for reform and change. It’s time to return the federal government to the purposes for which it was created, and make Washington a town in which we can be proud—or at least not perpetually embarrassed.”

Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, where he served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional career, Barr was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and also served as an official with the CIA.

Since leaving Congress, Barr has been practicing law and has teamed up with groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Conservative Union to actively advocate every American citizen’s right to privacy and other civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Along with this, Bob is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom.

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