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Greed and Excess at the New York Times

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Mar 26, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 27 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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In a hearing to examine President Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health that she knew of the lobbying efforts but that they were acceptable​—​because the lobbying was taking place at the local level, and because the language governing the grants restricted grantees only from lobbying the federal government. She went on to add, however, that under the proposed budget local lobbying would be prohibited.

Translation: Using tax dollars to lobby for nanny-state regulations is probably illegal, but our esteemed HHS chief is going to tell Congress that she thinks it’s legal, hope no one makes an issue of it, and promise to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future just to cover her bases. 

Quick, someone get Sebelius a copy of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 1913. It wasn’t hard for Daily Caller reporter Caroline May to find: “No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation.”

Unsafe at Any Speed

On March 10, former Florida congressman Alan Grayson, chiefly remembered for his noxious rhetoric against Republicans and for having his political career ablated by Rep. Daniel Webster, ran a red light and crashed his Mercedes into an Orlando city bus. The accident sent three of the bus passengers to the hospital. Grayson was on his way to a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser (he’s hoping to return to Congress). Headlining the event were anti-vaccination crusader and Hugo Chávez booster Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Curb Your Enthusiasm actress Cheryl Hines. We’re tempted to add something pithy about Alan Grayson, but sometimes the metaphors are obvious enough.

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