This is right up there with Robert Ripley’s discovery of “the Lighthouse Man,” a Szechuan eccentric who drilled a hole into his skull so he could carry a lit candle on his head to light the way through dark passages. After all, Ted Lieu (D-Cal) has already proven himself to be unbelievably awful, with a series of unbelievable statements (and I’m sure I’ve missed a lot). In 2018, for example, he told CNN host Brianna Keilar, among other things, “I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech.” Ethics Alarms named him the Incompetent Elected Official of the Month back in 2011, when he was just a humble State Senator. Naturally, by the consistent logic of California voters, this distinction meant he was ready for the big time, and should be sent to Washington. He was, and racked up two more Incompetent Elected Official awards and an Ethics Dunce. Lieu would be a legitimate feature in several Ripley strips: for example, he is not the dumbest member of Congress. Believe it or not!
He’s probably not the most unethical either, despite this news: Lieu contributed $51,046 to his alma mater, Stanford University, shortly before his son was admitted. Not only did he do this while the “Varsity Blues” celebrity college admissions scandal was being roundly condemned, but according to reports, the bribe was came out of Lieu’s campaign funds.
Lieu is the assistant Whip for the House Democrats—you know, that’s supposed to make him a leader. A role model. True, technically his conduct may be legal. It cannot be defended as ethical, however. Federal Election Commission filings show that Lieu gave the $51,046 to Stanford between February 2016 and June 2018. So even as the other admissions scandal was raging, Lieu was transferring political donations to Stanford as a personal gift just in time for his son to benefit. Maybe Lieu the Younger is smarter than his father and was well qualified—DNA is unpredictable—but even if Lieu greased a path that needed no greasing, this is the epitome of an “appearance of impropriety.”
And do donors who give money to help a candidate get elected think the money will be used for “pay to play” college admissions benefiting a candidate’s family? (Do donors who give to politicians as unqualified as Leiu think?)
Fortunately, we have been assured lately that Democrats are scrupulously “self-policing,” so Lieu’s conduct will certainly be condemned by his party as he faces sanctions and even demotion.
Oh, I nearly forgot: Here’s the Lighthouse Man: