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During the past few days I’ve reported here on Congressman Gary Miller’s misrepresentations about his military service. As I had noted in the original story, Miller has also been involved in a number of ethics matters.
In 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that four former Miller staffers complained that he “brought his congressional muscle to bear on personal business matters.” One of the staffers (all whom were granted anonymity) said, “There was never a clear line in the office between what was congressional business and what was just business. The expectation was that you would do both.”
There was also this:
Miller has, on several occasions, interrupted his staff’s congressional work to send them hunting for concert tickets. A die-hard Rolling Stones fan, Miller learned in May 2002 that the band was coming to Edison Field in Anaheim that October. “Per his instructions, we are checking with city officials, Edison contacts, etc., to see what we can come up with,” an e-mail written by an aide to Miller’s chief of staff states.
A few days later, the staff was told by Miller’s chief of staff to look for tickets to a Staples Center concert as well, according to e-mails. By May 29, a Miller staffer had prepared a memo outlining four options for getting tickets. The most promising was for the Edison Field show. “I spoke to Greg Smith, who handles tickets,” the aide wrote to Miller. “He said for you not to worry, they would try and take care of you.”
Miller even did a little legwork himself. Using congressional letterhead, he sent a fax to the head of Ticketmaster’s public affairs office. The message was short: “I am requesting four (4) very good seats for the Rolling Stones concert on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2002 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Please contact me as soon as possible.”
It has also been reported that through 2007 Miller had paid his own development company more than $100,000 for rent on his California congressional office. I found some other interesting spending by Miller’s campaign, including almost $22,000 in 2009 for rent payable to Miller’s company. In January of that year his campaign spent $3,700 for limousine services and over the course of 2009 it spent about $5,000 on “gifts” from the Tiny Jewel Box, Macy’s and Crate and Barrel. And in 2008, the campaign paid Miller’s son, Brian, about $6,500 for distributing and taking down signs.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”