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

9 comments
  1. Ditto this for me..

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

    ..wish we would have cleaned house when the GOP had the govt.. maybe we could have saved the country from the Dems?
    .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..Why US Healthcare Will Stay Broken =-.

  2. Aside from the marital problems where no groups have a patent, I worry that far too many worship at the altar of Adam Smith.

    Of course the perpetual problem with any mode of governing is that those who can make more money by affecting policy have the strongest incentive for participating.

    As Kansas Bob refers to in his blog link, there is a huge amount of money pouring into government lobbying — To the tune of over a million $$ per day. Most of the commercial interests expect a multi-fold return on that investment. I share Kansas Bob’s concern (despair? cynicism? scepticism?) about whether all these parties can produce a reasonably good plan. The current plan is not going to fly financially and definitely will take more time to correct the most egregious problems. In that regard, I hope the President’s actual intentions with riding Congress hard is to force a first draft and force the players to ‘reveal their cards’ before pushing back for final corrections.

    I’m not surprised by the story about the ACU — It is a lobbying group with significant business interests.

    1. I hope you are right about President Obama’s intentions, but based on his rhetoric I don’t think that’s the case.

      I’m not surprised either, but I am disappointed. People who support them expect them to base their endorsements on principle, not on who pays the most.

  3. I’m not really surprised. Power corrupts, as Lord Acton said. The desire for power, strangely enough, is corrupting, as well.

    The problem is, that we keep putting people up for one reason or another and don’t demand better from them. Heck, look at the people who will go to bat for why we shouldn’t think about the character failings of Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, etc. even as we beat up liberals for the same things.

    I left the GOP in 1995 because I had worked on a campaign under banners that read “Character Counts.” And while I still believe that I was working for a good and decent man (David Funderburk, NC), I was disgusted to see us put Gingrich in as Speaker, Helms chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Bob Packwood chairing Senate Banking. Since then, I’ve seen it going downhill fast.

    Only when Republicans demand better, and actually oust the Larry Craigs, David Vitters, etc. themselves will the party recover. Until then, the GOP will keep on looking like just another bunch of self-righteous hypocrites.
    .-= Wickle´s last blog ..From Pro-Life/Anti-War =-.

    1. Very true Wickle. The problem with the Craigs & Vitters is that unless they resign there isn’t much that can be done… I suppose they could have kicked them out of the Republican Caucus.

      But we certainly shouldn’t defend it, shouldn’t place those people in positions of leadership, and must expect better.

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