Tags: tom price | resignation | trump | taxpayers

Conservatives Right to Point Out Price Was Wrong

Image: Conservatives Right to Point Out Price Was Wrong
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Monday, 02 Oct 2017 02:03 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Friday Tom Price endured a 2-hour grilling from Donald Trump due to $300,000 taxpayer-funded personal charter flights, then resigned as Health Secretary months after I told USA Today that voters should be concerned about Price’s gains from stock purchases that seemed related to votes as a Member of Congress. My quote in USA Today on the date of Price’s confirmation vote was:

“This is something the voters should be concerned about. Money that is personally benefiting you is more of a concern and can be a more powerful force pulling you into a decision on related issues than campaign funding.”

As conservatives we need to call out those who seek personal gain by using tax dollars for personal gain, and using their taxpayer-funded positions to enrich themselves, whether they are conservative or liberal.

I admit I hated to call out a pro-life Health Secretary in February, but other options such as Bobby Jindal and Seema Verma (see John Gizzi’s column here on Price’s likely successor) are pro-life and do not have a history that suggests linking policy to personal gain. If Price seems to make a lot of money based on votes as a member of Congress, it should not be a surprise he did something like take expensive flights on the taxpayer’s dime.

Each U.S. taxpayer’s portion of the U.S. debt now exceeds $167,000, according to the US Debt Clock. It may seem like $300,000 of taxpayer money spent on personal charter flights is a drop in the bucket, but it will take a combination of fiscal restraint, pro-growth policies, and ethical elected and appointed officials who are willing to be good stewards of every taxpayer dollar to bring down that daunting figure.

There will likely never be another Davy Crockett, who reportedly once offered to join every other Member of Congress in giving a week’s pay for a charitable cause rather than vote to spend taxpayers’ money, but we need a return to that level of respect for the taxpayer.

Calling out a fellow conservative like Price in February in hopes that his appointment would not set up an embarrassing resignation like we had Friday is just one example of how we need to call a spade to correct the continued abuse of taxpayer money and a pay-for-play system that allows policies to move massive amounts of taxpayer money in return for personal gain of elected officials and family members:

  1. In my final year of running campaigns, a key point in Dave Brat’s defeat of Eric Cantor was that Cantor’s personal wealth skyrocketed by millions of dollars while he was privy to information gained on Capitol Hill and his wife was investing, and how hard Congress makes it to determine who on Capitol Hill is in fact making big bucks of insider trading (see NPR story here). Cantor’s $3.4 million salary after his defeat is not as concerning as the money made while in office.
  2. Peter Schweizer’s work at the Government Accountability Institute is best known for calling out the pay-for-play Clinton Foundation, but his work to show how family members of Members of Congress are receiving huge salaries from foreign entities for work they are completely unqualified to do or via foundations is alarming.

It is tempting to decide all politics is simply corrupt and stop paying attention, but the fact is the wreckless disregard with which your tax money is spent is startling and does hit your bottom line. On study showed this practice at the state level costs each citizen about $1,300 per year, and the disregard at the federal level is why you your portion of the federal debt is $167,000.

We must insist Executives (governors and the president) and elected officials take a page from Davy Crockett’s book and stop using your tax money for personal gain.

John Pudner is Executive Director of Takeback.org, a non-profit home for Americans seeking true political reform. Our conservative solutions include: stopping illicit foreign money from impacting elections; ending pay-to-play in government contracting; and restoring the Reagan-era federal tax credit for small-dollar political contributions, which will encourage more citizens to become donors and help re-balance the campaign finance system. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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We must insist Executives (governors and the president) and elected officials take a page from Davy Crockett’s book and stop using your tax money for personal gain.
tom price, resignation, trump, taxpayers
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2017-03-02
Monday, 02 Oct 2017 02:03 PM
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