Thursday, March 31, 2005

Join the Club

I was reading at MyDD, where Christine Cegelis posted a diary today. In the comments, one blogger asked about who her challenger for IL-06 might be if/when Henry Hyde retires as is widely rumored. Christine responded that it looked to be Illinois State Senator Peter Roskam. I've heard he was a upcoming member of the state GOP associated with the Right wing (he was a Legislative Assistant for Tom DeLay in 1985 and a Legislative Assistant for Henry Hyde in 1986). But when I got to his election site, this one really surprised me:
I would like to invite you to be a part of Senator Roskam's future leadership by joining the Capitol Club.
Call me silly, but I didn't know public officials could sell private access to their office, much less through exclusive clubs of their own making advertised quite publicly on their websites. I was wrong.

For only $500 a year, you too can have a private lunch with Senator Roskam. From State Senator Roskam's Website: (emphasis mine)
...I would like to invite you to be a part of Senator Roskam's future leadership by joining the Capitol Club. The purpose of the Capitol Club is:

- To educate the members on public policy issues;

- To promote communication between the members and serve as an issues sounding board for Senator Roskam;

- To meet other leaders in commerce, politics, health care, law and education;

- To strengthen Senator Roskam's position for future political victories.

A $250 annual  contribution enrolls you into the 2004-05 Capitol Club. Members will meet  periodically with Senator Roskam to have a timely discussion on issues facing  Illinois  and the nation. Past speakers have included Congressman Hastert, Congressman  Hyde, Attorney General Ryan, Treasurer Topinka and others. You are entitled  to bring one guest.

A $500 annual contribution enrolls you with Lincoln Membership status. As a Lincoln Member you will receive the Capitol Club member benefits plus be invited to attend a private Springfield briefing and luncheon with Senator Roskam, other Lincoln Members and special invited guests from the Capitol.

Most important your membership will enhance your background and relationships while playing  a vital role in Senator Roskam's future political leadership in Illinois...
Boy, poor Mr. Lincoln's name sure does get abused often. For $500 you get "invited" to a "private" briefing and luncheon with the State Senator and others seeking influence and "special guests." This will then "enhance your background and relationships" with these people while playing a "vital role" in the State Senator's leadership. Why not just call this "Captol Club" what it is: Buy Influence and Access Club and leave Lincoln's name of it.

Is this what Christine Cegelis is going to be up against? Please help end this type of politics as usual.