Yesterday was a crappy day for conservatives, but also illustrates a point that those who claim particular values should also live by them as well.

The Politico’s Mike Allen broke a story about The American Conservative Union, which is the nation’s oldest conservative lobbying organization, they also are the group that puts on CPAC.  They had asked FedEx to pay them between $2-3 Million in return for their support in a legislative dispute.  When FedEx didn’t pay they went with UPS instead.

For the $2 million plus, ACU offered a range of services that included: “Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU’s Chairman David Keene and/or other members of the ACU’s board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)”

The conservative group’s remarkable demand — black-and-white proof of the longtime Washington practice known as “pay for play” — was contained in a private letter to FedEx , which was provided to POLITICO.

The letter exposes the practice by some political interest groups of taking stands not for reasons of pure principle, as their members and supporters might assume, but also in part because a sponsor is paying big money. (read the rest)

This is shameful behavior from a group that many members and supporters trust to take stands and endorse on principles, not stand with whomever pays them the most money.  It is inexcusable, and David Keene and anyone else within this organization who had knowledge of this should resign (Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform is implicated as well).  If Keene won’t resign, then the ACU needs to fire him.

They should know better to than to mess with Fred Smith, and this is giving conservatism a black eye.  As Erick Erickson noted, “we need to embrace a conservatism that can be expressed without the weight of dollar bills first pressing into pockets.”

This is just one of several stories out today.  South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford who should have already resigned now has news coming out that he wasn’t much of a fiscal conservative either, at least when it came to travel.  At least his communications director has the good sense to jump this sinking ship (he says it has nothing to do with the scandal… right).

Senator John Ensign’s (R-NV) situation is getting fouler by the minute as the Las Vegas Sun reports:

The parents of Republican Sen. John Ensign have been drawn in today to an ethics complaint before the Federal Election Commission for their role in providing $96,000 to the family of the woman with whom the senator was having an affair.

Then the townhouse that has served as a meeting place and dorm for several conservative Christian lawmakers in Washington has a third extramarital affair tied to it, reported by Jonathan Allen:

In an "alienation of affection" lawsuit, former Rep. Charles W. Pickering Jr.’s estranged wife, Leisha, alleges that he carried on an extramarital affair with a onetime college sweetheart while he lived at a house at 133 C Street in Southeast Washington. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., both of whom admitted to cheating on their wives in recent weeks, are members of the Christian fellowship of lawmakers known as "C Street" for the address of the house where several of the members live at any given time.

Certainly groups on the left have issues like this as well, but that is no excuse.  Republicans in general and conservatives in particular need to clean up their act.  As Michelle Malkin noted we can’t afford this:

We’ve got major battles on the Hill and fundamental principles to defend.  Show the corrupted, Beltway-infected, power-drunk Republicans the door.  And get back to work.

Let’s clean house – no more support for “conservatives” who can’t live by the principles they seem to claim.

HT: Memeorandum for ACU, C Street and Sanford stories

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