Press-Republican

Opinion

March 26, 2014

Letters to the Editor: March 26, 2014

Owens trip

TO THE EDITOR: Did Bill Owens proudly represent us?

Decide by facts and logic; not fawning press editorials or flattery from compliant politicians. Analyze his whole tenure, not just favorable portions. 

Obamacare and ethics are problematic detriments for his resume. 

Disclosure forms stated his 2011 Taiwan trip would be paid by the Chinese Culture University, a legal source. Later acknowledging it was illegally organized by Park Strategies; lobbyists for Taiwan’s government.

House Ethics Committee reviews concluded Owens “knew, or should have known, the Taiwan government was conducting and organizing the trip.”

The Office of Congressional Ethics provided evidence that Owens and staff were aware the Taiwanese government was paying for the trip. Payment from a impermissible source is conduct violating House ethics rules and federal law. 

Investigators claim Owens and staff made extensive efforts to find private sponsors to pay travel expenses of his wife; ultimately secured via the Taiwanese government.

Owens and his wife’s round-trip airfare cost more than $19,000, the couple stayed at hotels costing an average of $520 per night, and meal expenses cost $1,440. The four-day trip cost a total of $22,132.

In documents sent to the House Ethics Committee, his attorneys urged the group to drop its investigation, noting Owens paid back the travel expenses. But Congress decided to extend the committee’s review of the matter with no deadline for determination. 

Monetary payback doesn’t dismiss ethic violations; proper judgment would have prevented them. 

Owens’s trip improprieties are compelling revelations that mirror his misguided Obamacare votes; “he knew or should have known better.” 

Knowledgeable judgments and honorable ethics are essential for good representation. With this in mind, were we well served?

TOM IRWIN

Peru

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Literacy supporters

TO THE EDITOR: Of course, our mission at Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County is not to raise money. And unpaid volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization.

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