Ted Stevens just got indicted on corruption charges. Harry Reid has had his legislative fingerprints all over his land deals in Nevada. Larry Craig pled guilty to disorderly conduct in relation to efforts to importune an undercover cop for sexual activity in a Minneapolis airport restroom.
So who has become the focus of the Senate Ethics Committee? Tom Coburn, for birthing babies at no charge:
The Senate Ethics Committee has told Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that he’ll be engaged in a “serious violation of Senate rules” if he continues delivering babies back home in Oklahoma.
Coburn’s response: So what?
“On my own time, I’m taking care of women who have a need, and I’m going to continue to deliver babies,” Coburn, an obstetrician, told Politico. “I’m not going to stop.”
Coburn would not say specifically whether he has actually delivered a baby since the June 22 deadline set by the Ethics Committee, but he made it clear that he could deliver one any day now — and thereby force the Ethics Committee to put up or shut up.
The Ethics Committee claims that Coburn’s work constitutes a conflict of interest. However, Coburn receives no compensation for his services. Their biggest beef is that Coburn performs these services at a for-profit facility, which apparently offends the sensibilities of the civic-minded panel.
For some reason, they don’t seem offended by a Senator who earmarks millions of dollars to benefit bundlers raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for a presidential campaign. It gives a clear indication of the backwardness of Senate ethics. A member can sell himself out to campaign contributors and not even garner a raised eyebrow from the ethics watchdogs, but deliver a baby? Stone the crows!
Maybe the Ethics Committee could suggest a compromise. If Coburn promises to dump the infants in soiled-linen hampers, would that help?