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Special-Interest Money Follows Family Lines

June 24, 2003

Re "The Senators' Sons," June 22 and 23: I was not totally surprised to read that many lawmakers indulge in the practice of allowing -- if not encouraging -- relatives and family members to lobby Congress, but I was especially chagrined to see that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was a member of this less-than-august group until The Times launched its inquiry.

Any judge would recuse himself from a case in which his child was one of the lawyers; no less should be demanded of Congress. Even that won't address the implicit understanding that a congressperson's office will somehow show special consideration to a lobbyist who just happens to be related to another congressperson.

Brian Sheppard

Encino

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When McDonald's holds one of its contests where you can win a mountain bike or (far more likely) a free milkshake, the game boards have a little line on them saying that McDonald's employees and members of their families are not eligible for prizes. How funny is it that the kid who asks you if you want a hot apple pie with your order is held to a higher standard of ethics than members of the Senate?

Hamp Simmons

Venice

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Congratulations to the team investigating the cozy relationship between those in Washington and their families and those working to pass laws often not in the best interests of the people.

I think the bumper sticker I saw the other day got it right. It said, "This is not a democracy, it is an auction!"

Sue Walls

Huntington Beach

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Who is the lobbyist for the common person, who represents the interest of the general populace? When our founding fathers created this country, I don't think they imagined that the U.S. of the 21st century would be a government of the lobbyists' interests, by the lobbyists' interests, for the lobbyists' interests.

Eli J. Grossman

Los Angeles

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