The Bergen Record, and thanks to Herb Jackson, ran an expose on Scott Garrett's abuse of power and corrupt practices. In the article, Jackson notes that Garrett has grovelled for lobbyists from the time he was elected to the present:
Rep. Scott Garrett was in office less than six months when he and his wife left on a $13,000 "educational trip" in June 2003 to Sri Lanka funded by that nation's chamber of commerce.And Scott Garrett continues his streak of standing alone in the NJ congressional delegation. And again, it is not a noble thing to do.
Before another six months had passed, he'd taken another $34,000 worth of privately funded travel, and along the way racked up the highest average per-trip travel expenses in the New Jersey delegation.
I'd love to know exactly what Scott Garrett "learned" in Sri Lanka. Let's see where else student Garrett has gone:
In November and December, they were off to South Korea for a trip that cost $19,466. And less than a month later, Garrett traveled alone to Taiwan for a five-day, $5,080 "educational trip" sponsored by the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association.Hmmm. Maybe Scott Garrett "learned" that our nation is losing jobs to Taiwan and South Korea in droves and that would cause him to vote against free trade agreements. Whoops! That's too much:
The same Taiwanese group had treated one of Garrett's aides to a $4,150 trip to Taipei three weeks earlier, while Garrett was in Korea. But it seems to have paid off: Earlier this year, Garrett was one of 50 co-sponsors on a bill calling for a free trade agreement with Taiwan.Looks like foreign lobbyists have just as much pull in paying off Scott Garrett as American lobbyists do.
OK. So maybe I overreact, after all, it's good that Scott Garrett is "learning" something, since his extremist votes seem to demonstrate massive stupidity. But after all, what's so bad about privately-funded trips if they're legal and ethical?
Oh, wait, they're not:
Garrett's Korea trip appears to have broken House rules because it was funded by the Korea-United States Exchange Council, a registered foreign agent, and House rules bar members from accepting travel from foreign agents.OK, so Garrett broke House Ethics rules, what's the biggie? After all, Tom DeLay broke those same rules and look what happened to him. That's right, he retired from Congress. Looks like you should follow his lead, Ernie!
Roll Call reported last year that the Korea council was created by Hanwha Group chief executive Kim Seung-youn with the help of a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and funded trips for DeLay, Garrett, and 10 other members of Congress.Tom DeLay and Scott Garrett sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Well, at least Garrett was willing to explain to us how there was nothing wrong about his trips and how this was all a big misunderstanding:
Garrett would not answer questions about the Korea trip or any others. He responded to a two-page list of questions e-mailed to his office with a three-paragraph response from his press secretary, Audrey Jones.Well, I'll be damned. Scott Garrett is withholding information from his own constituents. I can't believe it. Well, that makes sense, after all, we're so dumb anyway that I can't imagine Scott Garrett trying to explain himself to us anyway. At least, he was timely in reporting his unethical behavior. Gotta give him points for that! Oh, wait:
"Our policy is to only take those trips reviewed by the ethics committee," the statement said. Asked if the Korea trip had been approved, and when the policy of committee pre-approval was instituted, Jones simply re-read the sentence. Twice.
Garrett's own form for the Israel trip reported it had taken place in 2001, more than a year before Garrett took office.Wow, this just keeps getting worse and worse for Ernie. At least, he filed the reports at all. I know Ernie has to believe in transparency. After all, he said so through his spokesperson:
Jones ultimately corrected the dates to 2003. Garrett also filed the disclosure form for the Korea trip March 18, 2005, or more than 15 months after he returned. The form says disclosure is due within 30 days of a trip's completion.
Garrett's statement also said he "believes that transparency in all aspects of the legislative process is part of the practice of a healthy democracy."That makes me feel so much better. I hope he means what he says. Alas, I am a dreamer:
But Jones could not answer why Garrett had signed three disclosure forms by his aides for trips ranging in cost from $634 to $1,388 that did not include destinations.So, let's recap. Garrett takes more privately funded travel than any other New Jersey congressman, even though he is the most junior of the group. He takes trips that are more expensive than any other New Jersey congressman. Garrett takes a trip paid for by a foreign lobbyist and then becomes a co-sponsor for a bill that the lobbyist is pushing, even though the bill is antithetical to the interests of Americans. Garrett takes a trip to Korea that is a clear violation of House Ethics rules and takes the trip even though corrupt former congressman Tom DeLay took the same unethical trip. He is not forthcoming about any of this, and skirts the issues when questioned by reporters. Garrett files his disclosure forms 14 months too late and does not fully fill out the form.
If this were a report card for the end of the semester of college, I'd probably be expelled simply for my behavior, forget about my extremist votes which completely fail me out of school. Does anyone hear the retirement bells for Scott Garrett?
It's time to take him out. Immerse yourself in Paul Aronsohn's website.