Rostenkowski's Ethics Talk Skips His Own

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Comerford Daily Herald Business Writer

Ex-convict and ex-congressman Daniel Rostenkowski on Thursday addressed a Chicago breakfast gathering at Loyola University on the topic of business ethics.

Although a talk on ethics by such a prominent ethics violator held out the possibility of insight into changing standards, Rostenkowski vehemently turned away a question about his own ethics.

During his long and storied career, Rostenkowski was criticized for misuse of congressional perks and for sweetheart legislation benefiting friends. The once powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee eventually served 17 months in prison for padding his Congressional payroll and misusing federal stamps.

Rostenkowski's appearance was at the behest of Loyola's Center for Ethics, which is sponsoring a series of such speeches. The next speaker is to be Rep. Henry Hyde, a Wood Dale Republican.

Rostenkowski restricted his talk to comparisons of politics and business - both of which he said are headed in the wrong direction.

"I think that old values that are worth saving are unnecessarily and unfairly under attack," Rostenkowski said. "One of the lessons I've learned over the past few decades is that new technology is a useful tool in destroying the old order, but that there's little evidence that it is equally helpful in constructing a new order. …