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September 22, 2006
Lounging At The LSC, Plus Other Heritage Posts

It's been such a busy week here at CQ, I forgot to highlight some of the Heritage Foundation blogging I've been doing. Today's post talks about the never-ending requests for cash coming from the Legal Services Corporation, the federal agency that provides legal assistance to low-income Americans who cannot otherwise afford it. Now that is an honorable mandate for any organization, although one can certainly debate whether the federal government should provide it instead of private foundations. (This is separate from public defenders, which the government must and should provide for those accused of criminal activity.)

However, LSC has been less than honorable in its efforts to carry out that mandate. Instead of using their budget for representation, they've spent it on tony Georgetown digs, and managed to get screwed on the lease arrangement -- to the tune of at least $1.5 million. Their large and comfortable space has plenty of room to host large conferences, but instead they go elsewhere for their meetings ... like San Juan, Puerto Rico. They take chauffered limousines instead of cabs in Washington DC and buy extravagant desserts on the company tab. They have a history of massively overreporting their caseloads -- in 1999, they did so by 86% -- in order to justify more money from Congress.

There's more, and trust me, you want to read it.

Earlier this week, I also sounded a note of caution on reform of Senate rules. Trent Lott has launched an initiative to eliminate holds, and while that sounds like a good idea, you may be surprised at his motivation. We've railed against abusing the holds and still believe that holds should enter the public record, but eliminating them might make it a lot easier to get pork passed before anyone can stop it.

That goes hand in hand with my first post this week, which celebrates a new era of open government. I linked articles by Mark Tapscott and John Fund discussing this, and with the federal database bill due to be signed next week, it's a long-overdue victory for honesty and probity.

I hope you enjoy the posts, and as always, the link to the Heritage Foundation Policy Blog appears in my right column.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 22, 2006 6:04 PM

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