Well, it’s a high holy day in St. Louis tomorrow as the Cardinals hold their home opener. And just in time for the festivities is a story out of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch detailing the flow of free Cardinal tickets from lobbyists to Missouri lawmakers. Though some see the obvious ethical lapse, some, like Rep. Chris Carter (photo above, left) have no problem with it. Stunning.
Stunning that Chris Carter isn’t alone – by a long shot. Stunning that not enough of us care. Stunning that one’s definition of bribery can inexplicably depend on what is being offered. (Cash=bad. Cardinal tickets=okay).
But in a strange way, this is a lot more refreshing than the usual debate about cash spent on campaign donations. Like Chancellor Harris at St. Louis Community College showed this week, $1000 checks for campaigns are just examples of speech. And since speech is protected by the First Amendment……..[feel free to shoot yourself in the temple right here].
It’s disgusting that someone like Harris and Nelson see no connection between donations for a campaign and the buying of favors. But that line of twisted "free-speech" reasoning is relatively common come election time.
But thousands of dollars worth of tickets to sporting events? Not even the most skillful snake-oil-selling Jefferson City lobbyist can argue that that’s speech! It’s something of value to someone you need a favor from. No First Amendment issue here!
Yet they defend it. With a straight face. And the bribees defend it. With a straight face. It doesn’t buy votes they claim. It "only" gets them access.
Talk about having a set of baseballs.