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On The Dole: Your Reaction
We've gotten quite of blitz of e-mail about Newt Gingrich's decision to pay his $300,000 ethics violation penalty with a loan from former Sen. Bob Dole. Here's a sample of readers' letters. If you'd like to weigh in on an issue of the day, drop us an e-mail at editor@AllPolitics.com And remember to include your name and hometown.
'Current Climate Of Distrust'
Given the current climate of distrust of all things related to politics and politicians, it would seem to me that the speaker would have been well-advised to consider obtaining a loan from a commercial banking institution. The phrase 'avoiding even the appearance of an impropriety' springs to mind, and in my opinion, obtaining this loan in this fashion fails to do so. While Bob Dole may be the Newtster's best friend, which I doubt, although he must be pretty close to loan the Speaker $300K, the ex-Senator is now a highly paid lawyer/lobbyist inside the Beltway.
I think the transaction smells. Thank you.
-- George Rutherford, April 17
'One Class Act'
The action on the part of Bob Dole helping Newt Gingrich is one class act. Bob Dole just set a good example to other politicians that you do not have to be creative to help someone in need. I wonder what Bill Clinton would have done if he find himself in the same situation as Newt?
-- J. Rawlings, April 17
'Takes Care Of Each Other'
This is a good example on how the Republican party takes care of each other without relinquishing personal accountability.
-- Matt Chesner, Trumbull, Conn., April 17
'How Is Gingrich Being Punished?'
I thought the fine was a form of punishment for Gingrich. If Bob Dole pays it, how is Gingrich being punished?
-- Rhonda Welsch, April 17
'A Noble Gesture'
First of all, I believe that the decision of Gingrich to pay back the loan out of his personal funds was a decision that was above and beyond the ethics of liberal witch hunters whose partisan tactics put their own selfish vendetta above the good of the taxpayers of this country. The loan by Bob Dole was a noble gesture on his part and it validates the central role that Gingrich has played in moving this country away from the socialist, big government direction that the liberal Democrats have taken. The loan was a personal one, so that it should be removed from the prying eyes of the press. It also cannot be construed as being tied to any business or organization that wishes to buy favor with the House leadership. I applaud the move.
-- Jim Eddlemon, April 17
'Such Political Generosity'
While I appreciate the gesture by former Sen. Dole, it's interesting to note how the "ethical" peccadillos of non-Republican Party members is worthy of such political generosity. When compared to all the Republican partisan chest-thumping, and self-righteous bellowing over the ethical shortcoming, both real and imagined, of anyone else non-Republican, it simply validates the cynicism of these Republican "leaders" in particular and politicians in general.
Sen. Dole has surrendered the moral high ground, in this gesture of unambiguous cynicism, and partisanship.
-- Rob Ellin, April 17
I am very proud that Mr. Dole has given the loan to Mr. Gingrich. I am getting sick and tired of hearing the Democrats cry and carry on. They act like two-year-olds that can't get their way. They will never be happy until they are back in charge, so they can do more tax and spend to us like they have done for the last 40 years. They say Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush made the deficit go up, but I blame them. They are the ones who held the purse strings.
-- Windy Bowersox, April 17
'Who Would Question Honest Bob?'
What do I think? Yeah, right! Does anyone think that Gingrich's "good friend" Dole is lending Gingrich the money as a simple act of support? I think that the Republicans came up with this as part of the effort to rehabilitate Gingrich. After all, who would question honest Bob?
Dole, who has lived most of his life on the government teat, and became an "honest multimillionaire" on his various government salaries is one of the most devious schemers on the Washington scene. This deal is just another example ...
-- Frank Minutillo, Manchester, Conn., April 17
'Got To Be Kidding Me'
You have got to be kidding me. This kind of politician makes me surprised that there are not more angry militias out there. Granted, the militias are often a little cuckoo, but look at the example that has been set for them by our supposed moralistic leadership.
-- Melissa Venable, Tulsa, Okla., April 17
'At Best A Stretch'
Mr. Miller's [Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)] comments regarding the loan made to Speaker Gingrich by Mr. Dole are ridiculous and I question why you felt it necessary to include them in your story. To try and tie the funds to the tobacco industry are at best a stretch and add nothing to your reporting. It is uncalled-for editorializing like this that causes me to search elsewhere for straight, unbiased news.
I realize that you can stand behind the fact that you are only reporting Mr. Miller's comments, but why do it when they add nothing to the story and may not even represent the official opposing viewpoint? You could have gotten a comment from a member of the Democratic leadership or you could have commented on how other similar situations have been handled in the past and compare those to this situation ...
-- Bill Butler, April 17
'Totally Missed The Point'
I find your story so far from the real issue that it stinks. You've totally missed the point that Newt is PAYING the fine personally with a REAL loan with REAL interest. You have made no comparison to the standard fare from the other side of the fence. The Republicans didn't set up a "legal defense fund" or accept laundered money from a religious monastery or accept "Lippo bucks" to pay this fine. I find Mr. Gingrich's payment to be an honest and ethical handling of the judgment against him. Interesting that you never caught that.
-- Tyler Woods, April 17
'Neither Is It Hush Money'
Bob Dole is not a Chinese business, gun runner, drug dealer, or spy. You won't find Mr. Gingrich explaining why he had to return the money in six months. Neither is it hush money from his personal friends. Let's try to keep things in perspective.
-- Brun Hilbert, April 17
'Pressure On The DNC?'
Will there now be pressure on the DNC [Democratic National Committee] take out a loan to pay back all the illegal contributions they accepted?
-- Dan L. Kennedy, Spokane, Wash., April 17
'Another Slap On The Hand'
I think it is another slap on the hand! The fine itself was no punishment; this reduces it even further. Another example of politicians being immune to wrongdoing.
-- Brian W. Wheeler, Allen Park, Mich., April 17
'Great Credit Upon Himself'
I approve of the loan and believe the speaker has brought great credit upon himself and the House of Representatives with his handling of this matter. Also, I would like to criticize the continued use of words like penalty or fine, when all House transcripts clearly state this is reimbursement for the ethics committee's efforts mutually agreed to by all parties. And don't forget, only one of 81 ethics charges was given any credibility at all. I believe there should be a "reimbursement" paid by the individual who brought forward all the false charges.
-- John, Texas, April 17
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