Magazine article Insight on the News

Shedding Light on a Double Standard

Magazine article Insight on the News

Shedding Light on a Double Standard

Article excerpt

One of the latest twists in ongoing coverage of Rep. Dan Burton is a story recently "published" on the Internet by Webzine Salon. The story raises questions about the Indiana Republican's dual use of congressional and campaign funds to pay some employees. Under scrutiny is Burton's use of funds to pay substantial sums to his scheduler, who works both in Washington and Indiana. Aside from suggestions that there may have been more than a boss/employee relationship between the two, the core allegations are that Burton may have broken House ethics rules or federal election laws -- or both -- for paying his staffer, Claudia Keller, to perform such congressional and campaign work at the same time.

Several news organizations, including the Washington Post, seized on this latest allegation of wrongdoing plus others involving people who claim Burton has groped or otherwise made advances to several women over the years. Although rumors of such actions have been prevalent for many years involving other members of Congress and high-ranking government officials, Burton's position as chairman of the House Government Affairs and Reform Committee, which has been investigating various allegations involving President Clinton, makes him a high-profile target, especially lately in Washington, where such issues seemingly have became fair game.

Stepping aside from sexually related issues such as adultery or personal relationships between government employees and their political bosses, such as Colorado Gov. Roy Romer and Clinton, the issue of mixing personal and public behavior when it involves taxpayer funds raises legal issues and questions the press generally doesn't shirk from. But when it involves Democrats, the press appears to turn the other way or drops the story if there is no interest at home.

An example of such unpursued questions involving a Democrat is found in Richard Gephardt of Missouri, the House minority leader. …

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