Skip to comments.White House's lunch bills for CEOs make sense
Posted on 08/10/2009 4:27:47 PM PDT by SJackson
Perhaps it's the Russ Feingold influence.
Feingold, when he served in the Wisconsin Legislature before traipsing off to Washington, was the bulldog behind legislation that outlawed gifts and other perks to legislators, things like free dinners and drinks, pen sets and the like, or even a cup of coffee. The idea was that legislators ought not be beholden to anyone except the people who elected them. Conversely, lawmakers are not to lavish favors on lobbyists and other influence peddlers.
So by law they are to pay for their own meals and reimburse their hosts when they get something of value for free. (Too bad that Feingold couldn't get those campaign contributions under control, too, although he tried and is continuing to do so in Washington.)
Now comes news that President Obama's folks are billing corporate CEOs for lunches they get when they're at the White House. The idea is to help avoid conflicts of interest -- whether real or perceived.
The online political website Politico reported that Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz were all sent bills for a recent lunch they had with the president. Others were billed for previous luncheons in a dining room next to the Oval Office.
It may sound trivial, but it's a good idea because no matter how innocent and well-meaning gifts to or by public officials may be, the public perception is that they're merely ways to gain influence and clout. For years in even the newspaper world, reporters and editors have not been allowed to accept meals, drinks or gifts from news sources for the very same reasons.
There was a time when news people were lavished with free tickets to movies and plays, free bottles of booze during the holidays from public relations people, and a host of other amenities. It was little wonder that some people believed that media folks gave these givers special consideration. Now most news media outlets have strict ethics codes that forbid such activity.
The Obama people have made an exception, however. According to Politico, not billed were Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley when they were invited to the White House to come to a meeting of the minds on Crowley's arrest of Gates in his own house.
The beers, it turned out, were on the house.
Bet the Wednesday night date night folks don't pay.
So if union leader dine at the White House, they will pay too? We’ll see.
He may be physically tall, but this is the smallest (de facto) president in history.
Is that ever true, a runt.
Oh yeah, THAT solves the “ethics problem”.
Whadday think? 200 bucks for lunch?
Is he implying that’s a high price for a couple of private hours with a president-for-sale?
Talk about spin!!! The White House is charging for the lunches, not because of ‘gift giving’ and ‘influence peddling’ but because its current occupant, having flown in his pizza chef from St. Louis, and ordered $100/lb beef, has already blown the White House’s entire year’s hospitality budget.
Never mind the millions and millions of dollars wasted by congress for junkets, and of course, brand new airplanes.
Only in your dreams!
Name ANY LIEBRAL or LIBERAL group that had to buy their own lunch there? Look at the new jets Congress is building for themselves> You figure it out ... .
Did the cop and the prof pay for their brews? Did interloper Biden?
This rag misses the entire point!
These CEO’s were not there to influence Zer0. They came to our White House at the request of Zer0! Where’s the Feingold influence pedaling! Zer0’s trying to influence them!
Maybe its time for Zer0 to pay his own way on date night in the city. Pay for the advance team to weld sewer covers shut; for the team to check out all the venues; pay for the flight; pay for all the local police detail; pay for dinner, and the food for the SS detail; pick up the bar bill; pay for the play tickets and all of the SS detail tickets; pay for the limo to be flown in from DC; pay for his and mama’s clothes.
Maybe then the $5 million date night wouldn’t be worth it.
Like Chris Dodd's preferred loan?
How much does President Obama personally pay each of the A-List entertainers who performs at the White House to entertain him and his guests?
Beef? How much could collards have cost? Hog knuckle? Not expensive.
You should have stopped me at the dinner roll....