Respectful Insolence

The ethics mansion

A bit of a reconfiguration and “clarification” of the ethics rules and rules regarding accepting honoraria for faculty at my institution makes me particularly appreciate this piece in–where else?–The Onion:


Senate Ethics Committee To Meet In New Ethics Committee Mansion

WASHINGTON, DC–In the wake of several major lobbying scandals, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics announced Tuesday that it will hold a special series of intensive sessions inside its recently completed 200-room Ethics Mansion.

“In this time of rampant corruption, it is essential that we have a sufficiently lavish setting in which to enforce laws that ensure the integrity of public officials,” said committee member Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), wearing a gold-lined cashmere robe donated by pharmaceutical lobbyists.

The mansion, a sprawling neo-Gothic manor located on 4,500 acres just off Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, was completed last month. Adorned with gold plumbing fixtures and 16th-century Flemish tapestries, the estate boasts three tennis courts, two Olympic-size swimming pools, nearly a dozen hot tubs, both dry and wet saunas, a massage center and day spa, an 18-hole golf course, a helipad, and the only erotica-themed topiary garden on the East Coast.

Committee members say the isolated environment allows them to tackle weighty ethical issues without the distractions, temptations, and conflicts of interest that pervade Washington culture.

Yep, that about sums it up.