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Editorial: Burns should have said no to Abramoff

"A three-term U.S. senator can't avoid responsibility by saying 'I didn't know.' Congressional staff shouldn't be taking vacations paid for by lobbyists or other interest groups. Let the staff pay for their own vacations - like Montanans do. The 'demonstration project' for the Saginaw Chippewa doesn't pass the smell test. The tribe's political contributions preceding this special appropriation controlled by [Sen. Conrad] Burns gives the appearance of possible conflict of interest.

In a letter printed on this page, Burns makes it clear that he's running for a fourth Senate term. He blames Democrats for starting a negative campaign with the Abramoff scandal 18 months before the general election. Democrats are exploiting this issue. But Burns gave it to them.

We offer a Montana ethics test that would help keep Burns and other elected officials out of trouble: Ask yourself, 'How will this look in a Billings Gazette headline?' If you can't live with that public scrutiny, don't do it."

Get the Story:
Gazette opinion: Burns must uphold higher ethical standards (The Billings Gazette 4/17)

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