Senator Tom Coburn is the bane of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s existence for relentlessly and fiercely opposing wasteful spending. For example, as FRC reported yesterday:
Repeatedly… Reid… has decided to ramrod legislation through the chamber…. He attempted this – unsuccessfully – with a massive $11 billion spending bill last week. Mockingly called the “Coburn Omnibus” because it contained several programs and expenditures that the OK Senator opposed, Reid’s bundle of fiscally irresponsible projects failed.
And now see this most pathetic display of revenge. Reported The Hill July 28:
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) office hit back Monday at new attempts to prevent him from delivering babies for free, arguing the Ethics panel might as well investigate Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) cameo in The Dark Knight.
Speaking of, a commercial break with the aforementioned…
Back to The Hill piece…
Coburn has come under new pressure from the Ethics panel for delivering babies at the Muskogee Regional Medical Center, which changed from a public to a private institution in April last year….
In May, Coburn received a strongly worded “final determination” memo threatening him with a Senate censure if he did not stop delivering babies for free….
Coburn spokesman John Hart… called the Ethics panel’s logic “absurd” and its argument “inane.”
“Just as parents don’t choose him hoping to sway his vote, parents don’t choose to receive his services at a particular hospital because Dr. Coburn has somehow endorsed that hospital because he is a senator,” Hart said in a statement…. “The committee has shown us zero empirical evidence to back up its flimsy claim.
“Has Sen. Leahy provided an improper endorsement to Warner Brothers for appearing in Batman?” Hart asked. “Will millions of Americans now see Batman not because it features stars like Christian Bale or the late Heath Ledger, but because Patrick Leahy, a distinguished U.S. senator, has offered his illustrious endorsement to this motion picture?
“If Sen. Coburn can only deliver babies for free at a public hospital, shouldn’t Sen. Leahy only be allowed to donate his notable thespian skills to a public entity like PBS?”
Leahy spokesman David Carle pointed out that his boss gives any proceeds he receives from movie appearances to the Kellogg-Hubbard children’s wing of the Montpelier Public Library….
The new fight comes as Coburn is engaged in a battle with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) over the Senate’s legislative agenda. Reid was forced to dedicate the majority of the Senate’s time this week to overpowering the holds Coburn has on 35 bills….
Hart also said the Ethics panel should investigate Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs the Ethics panel, for book signings they’ve had at privately owned bookstores if they are going to investigate Coburn’s baby deliveries.
“If the committee wants to walk down this path, we would expect they will investigate Sens. Reid and Boxer, who have both held books signing [sic] events at privately owned book stores,” Hart wrote. “After all, their events endorsed one book store over another. If Dr. Coburn can only deliver babies for free at public hospitals, Senators should only be permitted to sign books at public libraries.”
Reid’s and Boxer’s offices declined to comment….
Hart estimates that Coburn has delivered dozens of babies since last receiving an ultimatum from the Ethics panel in 2005. Coburn has received no compensation for his work and paid “tens of thousands of dollars” out of his own pocket for medical malpractice insurance and other costs related to his medical practice, Hart said….
Coburn… wants to remain a true citizen-legislator and has long argued that the Senate should allow him to keep serving his patients because he plans to return to the practice when he leaves the Senate in 2016, consistent with his pledge to serve only two terms. He would like to keep up his medical skills if he is going to continue being able to earn a living in his chosen profession….
Asked about the recent Ethics Committee action, Coburn said he doesn’t believe he is in violation and will continue to fight any action taken against him.
“All I’m going to say is that’s a fight I would relish,” he said.
Hart said Coburn has no intention of abandoning his medical oath to his patients under threat of censure….
Were Tom Coburn aborting babies free instead of delivering them free, there would be no investigation; there would be an awards ceremony. This is ridiculous on so many levels, not the least of which is the Democrats’ disregard for the poor, unless they control the dole so as to get the credit.
[HT: Family Research Council; photo of Boxer courtesy of Book Soup book store in W. Hollywood]