Bread and Circuses on Capitol Hill

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Congress is all set to begin its show trial of Jeffrey Neely, the GSA nitwit who decided to spend nearly a million dollars for a Western Region conference in Las Vegas a couple of years ago:

Neely’s conduct as the organizer of a four-day team-building event that cost $823,000 will be under scrutiny on Capitol Hill starting Monday, when the first of four back-to-back congressional hearings is scheduled.

…. Transcripts provide evidence of a freewheeling spending culture in the offices of the four Pacific Rim states where Neely oversaw federal real estate and government purchasing. “What this guy did was try to use private business practices to justify spending that is out of line with the private sector,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of numerous lawmakers asking how things spun out of control with no oversight from Washington.

I suppose Neely deserves his chance to be publicly tarred and feathered on front pages around the country, but I wonder if I’m the only one who wishes Congress could summon up this same level of energy for things that actually matter. You know, global warming, drug policy, immigration rules, stuff like that. I enjoy a feeding frenzy as much as the next guy, but I feel a little sated lately. If Congress spent half the time on actual serious issues that it’s spent on nonsense like Solyndra and Fast & Furious and the GSA and — starting soon I’m sure — Secret Service agents and their Colombian hookers, we might actually solve a problem or two. You never know.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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