Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Expect Better From Elected Officials

From today's Washington Post,
For years, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) has supported a Pentagon program called Starbase that teaches science, math and engineering skills to children in dozens of locations around the country.
Johnson is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Pentagon’s budget. In 2008, Johnson, along with seven other senators, added $4 million to the Starbase budget.
At the time, Johnson’s wife, Barbara, was paid an annual salary of $80,000 as a contract employee to evaluate the program. From 2005 to September, she worked for the Spectrum Group, a lobbying and consulting firm in Alexandria, that has a $1 million Pentagon contract to monitor Starbase. A social worker and educator, Barbara Johnson was also assigned to manage its Web site.
Getting $4 million to a program that pays one's spouse $80,000 a year looks wrong and sends the message that everyone is in it only for the money.  I didn't like Mike Rounds putting his family members on the state payroll and I don't like what Johnson did here.

Maybe Senator Johnson did nothing wrong, but he's been around enough to know that elected officials need to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing as well as actual wrongdoing.

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