Don’t judge a party by its labeling

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Politics has the quality of being boring and divisive, all at once. But as Monday showed us twice, adding sex and alcohol, and suddenly it’s hilarious and depressing, all at once.

n Last year, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard Act, an expansion of hate crime law to allow the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute “certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.” The law previously applied only to race, color, religion or national origin.

Oklahoma lawmakers called it an unfair federal reach on religious leaders who preached against those victims’ lifestyles. So the state Senate passed a bill to keep litigation files and investigatory reports confidential upon federal request pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 245.

Slight problem. The section about sexual orientation, etc. is Section 249. The Legislature instead stripped federal hate crime investigation based on race and religion.

As most girls who have dated me could tell you firsthand, love is blind. But it took the Oklahoma Legislature to show us that hatred is dyslexic.

n I’ve always been a victim of bad timing. Our monthly expense reports were due last week, so naturally it’s this week I found out that it’s an acceptable business practice to fill out expense accounts for alcohol and strip clubs.

The Republican Party’s February Federal Election Commission filing includes a charge of nearly $2,000 to a topless dancing club in West Hollywood. But it was filed under “meals,” so maybe Voyeur West Hollywood makes a mean steak.

Granted, it’s small compared to the Republican National Committee’s February filings of $17,000 for private jets and $30,600 between three hotels, but sex sells.

To the party’s credit, it tracked down the staffer responsible and he’s not there anymore. But that doesn’t explain how it got all the way to the FEC, or how a staffer ever thought that was a credible business expense.

Another pair of filings are to an office supply chain known as “Congressional Liquors,” totaling $400 and billed as “Office Supplies.” If I was a Republican donor, I probably wouldn’t get too upset — a good home bar can easily run $500. But I would try to see if I could somehow label Sam Adams as my office supply salesman.

Labeling may have gotten the RNC in trouble, but I think labeling could get them out. When you’re filing March’s reports, go with, “College outreach program.”