Thanks to the actions of a reckless lawmaker, the American public's low opinion of Congress is not likely to improve any. Apparently after a night of drinking, Republican congressman from Kansas, Kevin Yoder jumped into the Sea of Galilee without any clothes on. Not only that, but the American Israel Educational Foundation (AIEF) funded this obscene trip, spending $10,000 for each of the 20 to 30 people who attended, and this included other lawmakers, their families, and staffers.
Yoder was joined by other GOP lawmakers in the swim, and the rumors surrounding this event were enough to draw the attention of the FBI, which questioned some of those involved. The best answers the FBI received were apologies and poorly-rehearsed explanations. Despite having taken place last summer, Politico broke the story on Sunday night and it has earned its place in the spotlight this week. Occurrences like this can easily damage the reputation of the GOP, and hurt it in this an election year.
The AIEF essentially paid for bad behavior and governmental shame. Given the hundreds of thousands of dollars the group paid for the trip, they are surely wondering what exactly their money went to. On the other hand, groups such as the AIEF do not pay for lawmakers’ lavish overseas trips out of the goodness of their hearts. Obviously an organization such as this power-peddles these political animals expecting favors in return. A luxurious trip like this is an incentive for these men and women to push heavily for legislation and policy that benefit the AIEF and those closely affiliated with it.
Nevertheless, the trip was meant to be politically constructive and spiritually significant. These lawmakers and staff met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and experienced the beauty and history of the holy land held so dear by people of faith. Yet, instead of respecting the body of water Jesus is said to have walked across, Yoder decided he would rather skinny dip among his clothed (or partially clothed) colleagues. Actions like this only bring shame to America and the leaders selected to represent it.
Bipartisan scandals and mishaps have increased in occurrence over recent years. The legislative branch does not need more shame bestowed upon it. The approval ratings for Congress are always plummeting, and fiascos such as this certainly don't help the cause.