The bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics has voted unanimously to pursue ethics charges against U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, Republican from Georgia. Broun, a self-styled champion of small government who claims to be guided by “Judeo-Christian Biblical principles”, is alleged to have misused $43,000 in taxpayer money to hire a consultant to coach him in public speaking, media interviews and debate tactics in preparation for his 2014 run for the U.S. Senate.
According to OCE, such an arrangement would be “in violation of House rules and federal law.”
The case is pretty clear: House rules strictly prohibit the use of taxpayer money to hire consultants, a provision specifically designed to avoid this kind of abuse. Yet here’s how the contract signed by Broun described the arrangement:
“The Client hereby engages Consultant to render, as an independent contractor, the consulting services associated with media interview/public speaking/message/debate preparation for Representative Paul Broun …”
Despite the assistance, Broun went on to lose that Senate race, which means that he will be leaving office in January with ethics investigators hard on his heels. (And yes, that has a familiar ring to it). But there is at least some good news. The Americus camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has announced that Broun will be putting his taxpayer-subsidized communications skills to work as their guest speaker on Nov. 9 at their annual memorial service for Capt. Henry Wirz, whom they describe as a Southern hero and martyr.
Wirz was commandant of the infamous Andersonville Prison Camp, where 13,000 Union soldiers died from malnutrition and disease. He was later convicted of murder and other charges and hung as a war criminal.