Richard Pombo's chances for re-election are a tiny bit worse today, thanks to the revelation that he charged taxpayers thousands of dollars to take his family on a two-week vacation in an RV.
I'd like to think that this latest scandal might actually outrage the "values voters" who keep returning this indescribably venal and stupid man to office. Admittedly, they didn't care when he lied to Congress about his ranch being declared "critical habitat" for the San Joaquin kit fox, nor did they care when he obstructed justice in the FDIC's case against the archfiend Thomas Hurwitz. But that's not really surprising. In the Tartarus of modern Republicanism, such lies are merely Platonic shadows of a higher truth.
But this story's a bit different. It's so simple that a child - even a stupid or crazy child - can potentially understand it; the GOP mantra "it's your money" might even be of some rhetorical use. Pombo's spokesman says that this was a business trip, and that Congressmen can legally bring family members on such trips. Pombo, apparently, feels differently:
“This August, my family and I rented an RV and set out to explore the West,” Pombo, R-Tracy, wrote in a 2003 article posted on the Resources Committee’s Web site. “We spent two weeks on vacation, stopping along the way to enjoy the splendor of many of our national parks.”One can imagine Pombo showing his wide-eyed tots points of interest in these parks: "Here's where we're going to do some strip-mining, and Daddy's friends are going to drill for oil right over there..."
Pombo's got other woes this week, I'm happy to say; his relationship with Jack Abramoff and Duane Gibson is under increased scrutiny. Since Gibson was involved in the Hurwitz case - in which Pombo and others rather flamboyantly alleged a criminal conspiracy between EarthFirst! and the FDIC - a gratifying number of Pombo's threads are coming loose at once.