Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's Not the Money, It's the Message It Sends

What is the correct ethical response of elected representatives when juggling the act of constituent requests with the responsibilities of serving the nation? Chet Edwards (D) boasts of his efforts to protect those serving in our military. The jackalope has made it clear she is skeptical of his efforts, and his dealings with constituent insurance company American Amicable is a case in point.

According to Congressional Committee Meeting hearings, one of the products American Amicable offered was mutual funds with a 50% first-year commission — a product that has virtually disappeared from the civilian market. The reasons behind the success of marketing such a punitive product to the recruits are: their young age, their financial inexperience, and the use of retired military officers to make on-base compulsory briefings that turn out to be a sales pitch boiler room.

American Amicable approached their representative Chet Edwards for help. They were seeking a stay against a ban prohibiting them from selling insurance and financial products on military bases, stateside and overseas because of fraudulent practices and specious products. Edwards chose not to examine the dubious practices of his constituent even though they were a recognized predator of the same military he swears he champions. Edwards facillitated a meeting between his predator constituent and a Lt. General, who just happened to be the new bride of his long-time friend in partisan congressional politics, Martin Frost (D). The predator constituent company promised their days of "miscreatin'" were behind them. The Lt. General said "Okay, then." A certain amount of money was added to the Congressman's campaign war chest. And voila, the ban was stopped and on the hustle went.

The jackalope is always stunned by the paltry sum people accept in exchange for doing something sleazy to another person. But that's another issue. In the tempest of ethics, constituents, war chests, and standing firm for our military, it seems the military always gets a pounding when Chet's on the case. It was never about the money, it's just the message it sent.

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