Amann Among The Lilliputians
“I acknowledge that you can't keep an organization together without patronage. Men ain't in politics for nothin'. They want to get somethin' out of it” – George Washington Plunkitt
Jim Amann, the powerful Speaker of the state House of Representatives, has come under fire for behavior that turn of the century Tammany Hall boss William Jefferson Plunkitt would have considered praiseworthy.
In his day job, Amann raises funds for the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which pays him a yearly salary of $67,5oo. By tapping the shoulders of lobbyists for contributions to the charity, newspapers have said, Amann has created for himself, if not a conflict of interest, then the “appearance” of a conflict of interest. Are the lobbyists turning out their pockets for the charity because they are charitable or because they wish to curry favor with the speaker? Would they have given as avidly to, say, Mother Teresa, who is not running for office this year?
What Would Senator Dodd Do?
Dodd, on the presidential stump in Providence Rhode Island recently, was asked about his “mistaken” vote authorizing President Bush to intervene militarily in Iraq, overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussain, not a Catholic, and do things that Dodd, on further refection, has found objectionable.
“An opponent of President Bush’s Iraq war policies, Dodd has called mistaken his 2002 Senate vote authorizing the president to send troops to Iraq. Dodd now says he would move immediately to bring troops home from urban areas of Iraq and gradually redeploy and bring home the rest of them.
“’I would be moving our troops out of urban areas tonight,’ he said.
“Dodd said he had no problem acknowledging that his 2002 Senate Iraq vote was a mistake. ‘I’m Catholic, I’ve been to confession,’ he quipped.”
Dodd’s record of votes on abortion in the U.S. Senate – a perfect 100% from the usual pro-choice groups; the senator, and other notable Catholic Democrat congresspersons in Connecticut, favors partial birth abortion -- probably has caused a few embarrassing moments in the confessional.