Gift Ban Shows New Ethics on Hill Senator Feingold Doesn't Want Free Cuff Links and Crumb Cake

By Sam Walker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, September 19, 1995 | Go to article overview

Gift Ban Shows New Ethics on Hill Senator Feingold Doesn't Want Free Cuff Links and Crumb Cake


Sam Walker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


THE problem with Washington, according to Sen. Russell Feingold, is too much free crumb cake. Every day, explains the Wisconsin Democrat, he receives a handful of gifts from special interest groups - especially those with business pending in Congress. In addition to crumb cake, Senator Feingold has been wooed with books, CDs, peanut brittle, spark plugs, cuff links, bratwurst, denture cream, and a ceramic milk jug. Last year, the National Rifle Association sent the senator a cookbook. To Feingold, free gifts, meals, and trips perpetuate a "circle of influence" in Washington that skews policy debates and frustrates voters. Increasingly, his colleagues appear to agree: The Senate recently voted to limit the booty its members can accept, beginning next year. The House may soon follow suit, as GOP leaders now plan to bring sweeping anti-lobbyist legislation to the floor before the end of the year. Welcome to the post-Packwood Congress. Stung by the lame-duck Oregon senator's diary depictions of cozy dealings with lobbyists, lawmakers are eager to put their ethical house in order. Thanks to the Senate's actions, says Rep. Chris Shays (R) of Connecticut, the House should consider gift and lobby reform within six weeks "without the usual divisive confrontations" that have accompanied past debates. In the end, says Feingold, these efforts really could make Washington a more upright place. "By themselves, gifts and meals are not sufficient to corrupt the whole system," he says. "But they create a psychological feeling that you are obliged. Somebody might not even be aware of it, but I think it does have that effect." During his 1992 campaign, Feingold vowed not to take any gift whatsoever from a lobbyist. When he goes to dinner, he pays his own way. And at receptions, he accepts nothing more than a glass of ice water. Each of the 1,200 presents his office has received has been logged, tossed into a cardboard box, and donated to charity. Since arriving in Washington in 1993, Feingold says he has come to understand the peculiar Washington lifestyle based on favors. The lure of gifts and swanky receptions, he says, induces some members of Congress to spend substantial amounts of time hobnobbing with "folks who have an agenda." Loose lobbyist laws The Senate passed a gift-limiting resolution last July, at the same time it passed a bill which would tighten the currently loose laws governing who most register as a lobbyist. Under the Senate's new rules members will be barred from accepting anything worth more than $50, and no more than $100 per year in gifts from any one source. The measure also prevents members from accepting travel and accommodations for charity events with strong recreational components, like celebrity golf tournaments. When the rules take effect next year, many of the lavish gifts will disappear. This year, Feingold has received a "pile" of steaks, a solid-gold letter opener, several designer silk ties, and a six-inch Waterford crystal statuette of the Washington Monument. But small gifts under $10 will not be limited at all, and Feingold says the resolution leaves some wiggle room for any member who is determined to game the system. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gift Ban Shows New Ethics on Hill Senator Feingold Doesn't Want Free Cuff Links and Crumb Cake
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.