Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rand Paul defends Bunning from attacks

Sen. Jim Bunning's political opponents have continued efforts to smear Kentucky's junior senator over a $20k a year salary he earns for baseball autographs. Yesterday, potential Republican rival Dr. Rand Paul came to Bunning's defense:
"It is okay for Ted Kennedy to accept $2 million or Hillary Clinton $6 million up front for a book, likely ghostwritten, but Jim Bunning is taken to the shed for accepting $20,000 for signing autographs."

"The Congressional ethics rules are a farce, and I believe the attacks on Jim Bunning are partisan in nature. Many years ago, Millicent Fenwick, a liberal Republican from the Northeast, was a great champion of so-called ethical rules on earnings for Congressmen. Of course, she rarely mentioned that she had never worked a day in her life and lived off of a family trust fund."

"Current ethical rules allow multimillionaire businessmen to continue earning large checks from ownership of business but limit the earnings of anyone who must expend labor. Thus teachers, lawyers, barbers, and doctors are limited in outside income."

"The unintended consequence is to deter citizen legislators who live in their state and continue to work. Once elected officials are completely dependent on their Congressional salary, they are even more likely to vote to please special interests in order to continue to get elected."

"I agree that politicians should not be allowed to make $50,000 speeches to groups that receive or seek federal funds, but we should rethink rules that prevent elected officials from continuing their original careers."

Dr. Paul has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run at Bunning's Senate seat, as has Kentucky's Secretary of State Trey Grayson.