In Praise of Doing the Right Thing

http://savannahnow.com/stories/010906/3548588.shtml

Savannah Republican Congressman Jack Kingston has demonstrated why so many people have such a high regard for him in his decision to donate to charity the funds that were donated to him by tribes that may or may not have been associated with lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  I commend him for his decision and the example that he has set. 

Jack has shown that we can think twice about our decisions and change our mind about things.  Even though Jack and the lobbyist have no relation, either professional or personal, and the donations have nothing to do with anything related to the lobbyist, Jack Kingston decided after thinking about it over the weekend to avoid any connotation of discrepency and return the monies.  In doing so he set an example that should be followed by his other colleagues in that, regardless of the situation, it’s better to err on the side of caution in regards to these monies.  Thank you Jack Kingston for restoring a bit of hope that all is not loss in Congres and within our Republican House leadership. 

With a reputation for honesty, integrity, and common sense, Jack has always been one to call them like he sees them and in the situation with these monies, has demonstrated why he is so beloved by his constituents.  Jack would be a refreshing face on the national leadership front for House Republicans.  His convictions are solid and his integrity is unflappable.  I disagree with him from time to time on policy, but in terms of integrity, you will not find a better Member of Congress serving in office than Jack Kingston. 

Jack is now poised to move up the ladder of House leadership and may run for House Republican Conference Chairman or may be drafted by his colleagues for higher office.  In doing so he would become the highest ranking Georgian in the House of Representatives.  That is surely a good thing for Georgia, but an even better thing for the coast! 

In the same tongue that I have been critical, I can also see the difference and recognize real leadership when it is apparent and when it comes to leadership in our nation’s capitol, Kingston has been and is an example that others should follow. 

14 comments

  1. Bull Moose says:

    You know I was wrong on this issue in regards to Jack Kingston and I’ll go a step further and say that it would sure as hell take a lot more than $17,000 to compromise his integrity.

    The one thing that I can say about Jack, and this typically rings true, that whether you agree or disagree with him, he usually will listen to your side, whereas most other Members of Congress and elected officials, simply read off of the playbook.

    There is a lot to be said for that.

  2. HeartofGa says:

    I am not clear about why this was apparently a difficult decision for him. It appears, at least, that he took a position and then changed it as a result of public pressure.

  3. Bull Moose says:

    I think that he thought about it a little more and changed his mind. Afterall, he is human. I’ve changed my mind and I’m sure you have too. In the end he displayed the type of judgement that Coastal Georgia has come to depend upon and relish.

  4. Bull Moose says:

    Not sure, but I know that Harry Reid hasn’t returned his money and Patrick Kennedy hasn’t returned his. Everyone should just donate it to charity and be done with it. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small amount of money in terms of their campaign bank accounts…

  5. RonaldJFehr says:

    I’m not sure if I’m on the side of the fence that says “give it to charity.” I think by donating these representatives leave themselves vulnerable to the press, and waves of national sentiment in the future.

    If the money wasn’t “tainted” until a few weeks ago, then the Congressmen and Senators who received funds shouldn’t be forced to hand it over. If these officials knew all along that the money was tainted they should be forced to pay this November when the voters deliver the consequences.

    Donating personal funds to charity would be the sign of a truly repentant Representative. As it stands, those in question have done nothing but bask in their own supposed integrity.

    When the next “catastrophe” in Iraq gets magnified by the liberal media these Representatives who have shown susceptibility to attacks by the press may not stand up to the convictions that sent them to DC in the first place.

    -Ron

  6. Bull Moose says:

    I disagree Ron and here is why.

    The recipient of the funds may not have been aware of the nature in which or purpose of the donation of the funds. In fact, the recipient may not even have directly received the funds, but rather through a “cattle call” fundraiser, which, by the way, are notorious in Washington, DC.

    Regardless, the right decision regarding these funds is to donate them to charity. Some Members of Congress have been caught off guard by this mess and thus weren’t fully aware of the depth of this mess. As things become more clear and as more information comes to light, other Members will come to the same conclusion that Jack Kingston has come to and that is regardless, the right thing to do is to just give away the money to charity and have there be no lingering questions as to the nature of the monies.

  7. GAWire says:

    The fact is that this type of fundraising happens all the time throughout DC. Perhaps the reason why they don’t donate Abramoff funds to charity, is b/c if they did, then they would have to donate a lot of their other fundraising as well. I know that a significant amount of fundraising, especially to PACs is done this way, and if they donate money that Abramoff raised or donated, then they might find themselves having to donate monies from other folks, as well.

    Ultimately, though, I agree – it is smarter to just get rid of that money, if for no other reason, than to just show that you are willing to give up any ties that you may have to guys like Abramoff.

    Either way, I think most of the funds that Members had from JA have been donated, except for those key Dems you mentioned above. I think it is funny that Howard Dean was quoted as saying: “Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal.”

    I think ole’ Howie speaking a little too soon, there, but why aren’t we surprised that he made a stupid comment. Do Dems even acknowledge him as the Party Chairman anymore? He makes me laugh, so I hope he stays (not to mention the fact that he is a moron, and even when Republicans look bad in a scandal, he still somehow makes us look better).

  8. landman says:

    Bull,Im in total agreement with your lead post,Kingston is a quality person as well as a very effective US Rep.,and Im glad he is representing Georgia.

    l

  9. Bill Simon says:

    Good of Jack to finally make-up his mind…

    Bull, exactly why didn’t you heap similar amounts of praise on Saxby Chambliss or Johnny Isakson for actually being the FIRST ones several weeks ago to make this decision to donate Abramoff funds to charity?

    Isakson made the decision by himself, Chambliss followed shorthly thereafter, and then, apparently, Kingston needed a prayer vigil to figure out what he should do. Oooh–wow…what an impressive “leader” to climb-up the leadership ladder Kingston is! Puh-leeze.

  10. Bull Moose says:

    Indeed, I also applaud Senator Johnny Isakson’s decision last year to donate the contributions to the Salvation Army. Isakson probably came out of the womb ready to lead, as he has been a leader in Georgia since he was first elected to the state legislature back in the 70’s.

    Johnny Isakson is a man that has no equal in terms of character, integrity, and commitment when it comes to public service in our state and country.

    He could be making millions upon millions as a REALTOR in Atlanta, taking advantage of the growth of the region, but instead, he is serving on our behalf in the United States Senate.

    His leadership has been recognized by both Republicans and Democrats and our state and nation is a better place for his service.

    One thing is for sure, most Georgians are pleased to “trust Johnny” and I am proud to count myself amongst one of them.

  11. phenobarbarella says:

    I’ll agree that good government – if “good government” can be negatively defined as simply “lack of corrpution” – isn’t a partisan issue. As a Democrat, if there are Democrats who are guilty of knowingly taking tainted money from Abramoff, they should be flogged as hard as the Republicans. But a quick look at Abramoff’s personal contribution records shows that he gave exclusively to Republicans. That doesn’t mean that his CLIENTS did….but they aren’t necessarily agents of Abramoff’s, either. Abramoff is a former head of the college Republicans; he’s clearly a partisan operative in the most basic sense of the word. He just chose the fund-raising end of the business to work in, rather than the actual electoral end. That said, it’s quite clear that the overall message of Howard Dean’s comments is obviously true on its face: this is primarily – possibly exclusively – a Republican scandal.

    For support (and to get back to what this thread was originally about), have a read at this post over at redstate.org. It’s the first one posted there by Jack Kingston – and the conservatives at redstate didn’t receive it very well. Kingston uses the tired old “tax and spend” meme to describe Democrats in congress, and the regulars at redstate quite rightly let him have it, with “actions speak louder than words” as the general tone of the responses.

    And so it should be with the return of Kingston’s $17K. Giving back this money after the scandal has been splashed across the front pages of every news program and newspaper in America for weeks now is akin to posting guards at the bank vault doors AFTER the robbery — a nice gesture, but would have meant a lot more had it been done proactively, rather than after-the-fact. As it is, that gesture, judged on the scale of “actions speak louder than words” falls much more on the side of “words” than it does actual action. I agree it’s a good first step. But if it’s merely the cynical equivalent of a financial photo-op, then it’s indicative of nothing more than yet another finger-in-the-wind, cynically triangulating politician.

    “Wait and see” is the correct response to this.

  12. RonaldJFehr says:

    BullMoose- I’m less than well versed on the DC fundraising scene. Good points all. Thanks for the insight.

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